Finding time for your love after having kids can be difficult. I recall when it was just the two of us and every free moment was spent in each other’s gaze. We filled weekends and holidays with exciting road trips, saw every new movie and ate like a king and queen. I felt butterflies when his name would light up my phone and looked forward to holding hands during car rides. Fast forward to three years in with our son, and we are both guilty of leaving our relationship on the sidelines. Life happens and raising a child is exhausting. Some families have many children to juggle and finding time for your relationship can seem impossible. Here are a few suggestions I’ve tried to implement into my daily life to keep my relationship alive and remind my spouse how much he means to me:
Waking up early: This may be a hard one, but if your love wakes up earlier than the rest of the household, get up too. The mornings are often very peaceful and listening to only the sound of the coffee machine is a great time to discuss casual topics. Plus, we are usually refreshed from a good night’s sleep and have energy for discussions.
Recurring date night: Family can be an unreliable date night sitter, so create a relationship with a babysitter who can be available every month (first Saturday of the month, perhaps). We’ve found it helpful to trade date nights with a family friend. With the trade, we don’t pay out for a sitter and our kids can play with one another. Remember, you can spend a date night at home, peacefully watching a movie and eating Dairy Queen (sounds nice, right?).
Show Affection: Send love text messages regularly, even just a heart emoji or “I love you.” It never gets old, and it’s nice to hear. If you don’t get up with your love in the morning, leave a note on the door or steering wheel. It’s a great way to start a day. I’ve been working on meeting my spouse at the door when he gets home from work for a guaranteed hug and kiss.
Add to Your Routine: Just like you wash your kids’ faces and brush their teeth every evening, add time with your significant other as a necessity every evening. This could be the half hour your children watch TV, or 5 minutes after they go to bed. The time is worth it to “check-in,” talk, cuddle or play a quick game of Scrabble.
Share Your Routine: We all have chores, and oftentimes chores can be a harsh subject in a relationship. Use laundry, dishes and evening clean-up as an opportunity to help one another and work together.
Be Aware of Phone Usage: The amount of time I sit in silence with my other half as I tap away on the phone is embarrassing. Create “no phone zones” like the bed or dinner table. I waste so much time on my phone during car rides when we could be having enjoyable conversations with one another.
Relationships are constant work. They are changing and evolving as we grow. Taking the few extra steps can make all the difference. Work extra hard to correct those “peeves” that are a constant struggle in your relationship. Spend time admiring your spouse’s face and giving genuine compliments on a regular basis. Grab your significant other’s favorite candy bar at the grocery check-out line. Little gestures can go a long way.