Whether you’re new parents or a couple married for 25 years with children in their teens, keeping romance alive isn’t always easy. Schedules get complicated and busier. Stressors may change, but new ones always seem to replace the old ones. Life is just plain busy. So finding the time — making it — is key to ensuring love grows along with the kids. Remember: One day it will be just the two of you once more.
Here are six simple ways to keep that romance alive.
- Date Nights
Schedule a date night and stick to it. Write it in the calendar and honor it just like you would any appointment. The date doesn’t have to be fancy, complicated or expensive. Dinner and a movie — let yourselves be entertained. Or a hike on a mountain trail with a picnic by a stream. A bottle of wine, cheese and loaf of bread on a beach as the sun sets. A tennis match or golf outing. It’s about time for the two of you. Take turns choosing the date.
- Me Time Is Just As Important
Give each other time alone to do something that rejuvenates you. Sometimes, we need to fill ourselves up before we can give to others. Take the kids to a movie so you can have a few hours to read a favorite book in peace. Encourage your partner to join that softball league. Walk the dog on that favorite trail. Have a women’s — or men’s — night out where you can enjoy friendships without worrying about what the kids are doing. Respecting each other’s individuality is a gracious gift.
- Write It Down
Leave each other love notes in unexpected places — a lunchbox, by the coffeemaker, taped to the bathroom mirror, inside a suitcase. And do so frequently.
- Getaway Just The Two Of You
Take a night or weekend away. You’re lucky if you have family who volunteers to watch the kids so that you can have a romantic getaway. If you don’t, ask good friends who you trust to watch the children — and return the favor. Even if infrequent, a night or two in a place other than home rekindles the fire.
- Remember the Golden Rule
Be kind to each other. Raising children is difficult. There’s no one manual to follow. And sometimes the stresses of the day trigger negative reactions. Remember to forgive one another, to allow for imperfection and to realize not everything said in frustration is personal. Forgive and move one. As Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” said: “Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”
- Thoughtful Communication
Take time to talk each day, to connect, even for 5 minutes. Listen actively. Grab a quick kiss while doing the dishes. Say thank you for the little things. Hug as you pass each other in the doorway. Hold hands while watching that Disney movie for the 10th time. And always say “I love you” as you fall off to sleep.
Although making the time for each other and creating romance is easier said than done, it is essential for a happy family, and successful marriage. If you can carve out the time together, it will make parenting more fun and rewarding– you will not only be building a special bond with your children, but also a deeper bond with your significant other.