Keeping the spark alive in any long-term relationship can be challenging. With so many demands on your time, it’s not as easy as it used to be to spontaneously fall into bed together or head out for a romantic dinner.
When you add kids into the equation, things get even harder. Fitting in couple time between bath time, bedtime and homework can feel like an impossible feat. That’s why we’ve put together a list of four easy ways to keep your romance alive with kids in the picture.
1. Renew Your Vows
A common way to celebrate and cement the longevity of your relationship is to renew your vows. While some couples chose to make this a lavish affair, a small and intimate ceremony can be just as rewarding and a lot easier to organize.
Show your partner that you still love every little thing about them by writing your own vows and delivering them against a romantic backdrop, such as the location of your first date or a beach at sunset.
You may also wish to exchange new rings to commemorate the occasion. Is your husband an active, hands-on guy? Consider a sleek, durable ring that will last through years of yardwork and baseball practice.
You can choose to involve your children in the proceedings or request that a relative gives you the night off, it’s entirely up to you.
2. Embrace the Little Things
When you’ve got children, going out for dinner with your spouse on a whim isn’t an option. But that doesn’t mean romance has to fly out the window. It’s all about embracing the little things. Show your love by leaving cute notes for each other to find, offering to put the kids to bed while they have some “me time” or even just letting your partner chose what to watch for the night. All these gestures show that you are still each other’s number one.
3. Schedule Couple Time
Scheduling isn’t particularly romantic — no one likes the idea of trying to squeeze in a sensual massage between the kid’s bedtime and doing the dishes. However, by coming together at the beginning of the week and coordinating your schedules, you’ll be able to set aside some time to do something together, such as taking a cooking class or going dancing. By planning ahead, you’ll both have something to look forward to and have more chance to find a friend or relative who is willing to babysit for a few hours.
4. Learn to Listen
It doesn’t matter how many dates you go on or how much time you spend together if you forget the fundamentals. When life is stressful, our partners are often the first people we take it out on.
To keep your relationship in top condition, you both need to practice actively listening to one another. This means keeping your posture open and appearing attentive even after a long day. Use questions to confirm understanding and validate your other half’s experience with phrases such as “I can understand why you would feel overwhelmed.” It’s equally important to be supportive: remind your partner that you’re a team and that you’ll figure out any problems together.
It’s not easy to keep the thrill of a new relationship alive when you’re both juggling so many life commitments, but if you’re both willing to take the time to communicate, your relationship will continue to go from strength to strength.