It was a hard time. We argued more than we ever have and I think we both felt really lonely in our trials. We weren't really there for each other the way spouses should be. We were just two people sharing the same house and bank account and that was about it.
Our 15th wedding anniversary and our 40th birthdays were coming up, so we decided to plan a trip to New York City together—both to celebrate and to remember why we were married in the first place.
We came home from that trip completely renewed as a married couple. We remembered how much we love spending time together, and we had so much fun spending ten whole days of time together. Time that was just about us, completely uninterrupted by work schedules, kids, board meetings, or exhaustion. (Except, of course, the wonderful kind of exhaustion you experience after running around NYC all day every day.)
We also came home determined to never let that kind of lapse in our own relationship happen again. We have put dating each other at the top of our priority list, and are committed to doing it.
Except, we still don't have time to date.
At least not conventionally, we don't. Weekday evenings are pretty much impossible around here because of the kids' schedules and weekends are often unavailable due to the nature of The Maestro's job.
But even if we don't have time to go out every weekend, we are still going on at least one weekly date and sometimes more.
You just have to think outside the box.
When you hear the word "date" the image that comes to mind is dinner and some sort of entertainment: a movie, a play, a concert. Am I right?
Related: The 2 Minute Marriage Project
We knew we couldn't do that on a weekly basis, so we came up with some new ways to date. Right now we go on a weekly lunch date. We know that every Thursday on my lunch break (my teaching schedule is a bit more strict than his) we will go to our favorite downtown restaurant and grab sandwiches or salads and some great conversation with each other.
This date is non-negotiable, and if for some reason something else conflicts, we move it to another day. Or we go to breakfast instead.
Our other dates include things like walking the dog together in the evening when we can grab a half-hour to do so. A few laps around the neighborhood is a great way to quickly connect with each other and touch base for the day.We try to save household tasks like grocery shopping, dishes, and laundry folding to do together and yes, we are brazen enough to also call that time together "dating."
We lost so many dating opportunities before.
I did my household chores by myself, and The Maestro did his. We rarely walked the dog together. I never thought about the fact that we could improve our marriage just by folding the laundry together while we watched our favorite TV show or a movie on our favorite new streaming service together each week. Just these simple snatches of time with each other have improved our marriage more than I could have ever imagined.
Bonus: Most of the things we consider dates these days don't cost us a penny. Closely related to not having any time to date is not having enough money to date. Both problems are solved in the same way.
Just be creative and make it a priority.
That's all. Find those little snatches of time and make sure you schedule in a weekly date, no matter if it's folding laundry together or watching a play together. If you can't afford a babysitter, trade babysitting with friends or just have your date at home.
Just do it.
Your marriage will thank you for it.
Mine certainly has.
This post is part of my 31 Days to a Happier Home series.
To see all the posts in this series, click here: 31 Days to a Happier Home
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