Between managing your kids’ schedules, your career, and keeping up with some kind of social life, it’s not uncommon for parents to let their relationship priority slide. That doesn’t mean you don’t think about your relationship or want it to be stronger. A 2015 survey from Care.com found that 85% of parents wish they could go out on more dates.
But, we live in a busy world. You might already struggle to find time for yourself, let alone time to boost your relationship. Some couples realized in lockdown just how much their relationships had been neglected and how refreshing it was to have time to rebuild them. Now that the world is getting back to normal, though, much of that free time is going away. So, what can you do to strengthen your relationship and feel closer to your partner than you have in a long time? Thankfully, there are plenty of ideas and suggestions you can fit into even the busiest of schedules. Let’s take a look at a few.
Schedule Date Nights
Chances are you have some sort of planner or calendar you use every day. Maybe your phone sends you reminders, or maybe you just look through your schedule each day, penciling things in as they come up.
It’s time to pencil in your partner.
That might not sound very romantic, at first. But, if you both have overloaded schedules, making time for date nights is actually one of the most romantic things you can do. It shows that you’re making a commitment to spending time together rather than just suggesting it and never following through. You can decide to have a date on a specific night each week or schedule several in advance. Not only does this give you both something to look forward to, but it’s a great way to rekindle your romance.
If you have young kids at home and they struggle with separation anxiety while you’re gone, consider setting up a date night at home. Cooking dinner together, watching a favorite movie, or even playing games together are all great options.
Alternatively, work with your children if they’re anxious by trying some of the following techniques:
- Giving them a transitional object (a t-shirt that smells like you, etc.)
- Having a quick goodbye ritual
- Letting them know when you’ll be back
- Being patient and giving things time
Once your children know the “routine” and realize that you always come back, their worries will usually start to disappear. Make sure you communicate with them regularly to assuage their fears and reassure them as much as possible.
Go Back to the Beginning
Remember when you first started dating your partner? Did you get butterflies? Were you more flirtatious? Chances are, you were even more open to PDA and saying/doing things that might have slipped away over the years.
If you want to revitalize your relationship and strengthen it for the future, try going back to that mindset. Flirt with your partner. Leave them little love notes in their lunch. Text them during the day. Praise them. Have fun with a little PDA now and then (even if it embarrasses the kids!).
Acting like you’re newly dating is fantastic for reigniting the spark in your relationship. As a bonus, because you know each other so much better now than you did “back then,” you can be even more deliberate with your flirting efforts and knowing what your partner likes.
Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous. Scheduling time together is important. But, if you both have free time, choose to do something fun together. That lets your partner know any free time you do have you want to spend with them, and that can boost their esteem and your relationship, all at once.
Why It’s Important
It’s easy to just accept a “weaker” relationship as a fact of life when you have kids. It’s even easier to assume you’ll have less time for each other since more of your time will be focused on your children. From the very beginning, kids can impact your relationship. Having a baby can make you tired from a lack of sleep, constantly busy, and emotionally drained. Having kids and teenagers – well, if you do, you know some of those issues never really go away.
But, you don’t have to fall into those assumptions.
By making your relationship a priority, you’re not just fulfilling an obligation. You’re renewing a commitment and remembering why you made it, in the first place. Focusing on strengthening your relationship can benefit you in many ways, including:
- Boosting your mood
- Improving your mental health
- Giving you more energy
- Helping you to feel listened to and appreciated
- Knowing you are loved
Life is busy. It can be overwhelming at times. But, making your relationship a priority and strengthening your bond with your partner will make it easier to get through the challenges. It will also make celebrating the special moments that much better.
Keep these ideas in mind to make your relationship stronger, no matter how busy you both become.