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Being a parent often means having to work extra hard at keeping the romance alive between you and your partner. And while the occasional date night or weekend getaway can certainly give your relationship a boost, there are actually simpler things you can be doing on a regular basis to help keep your relationship strong and vibrant—and without having to call the sitter!
Institute Adult Conversation Time
Even if it’s just for an hour, allot some time each day to talking about topics that have nothing to do with your kids or your home life. Once you’ve put the kids to bed and loaded the dishwasher, crack open a bottle of wine or brew some chamomile tea and talk about current events, philosophical quandaries, even the latest Hollywood gossip—anything but homework, doctors appointments or Little League. Not only will this give you some time away from the daily rigors of life, but you just might learn something new about each other. To help ensure the conversation doesn’t slide into mundane territory, try coming up with discussion topics ahead of time—perhaps jotted down on index cards—and see where they take you.
Take Up a New Mutual Hobby
While plenty of parents know the value of personal hobbies apart from their children and jobs, many overlook the benefits of mutual hobbies they can share with their spouses. According to Psychology Today, trying new and challenging activities as a couple is one of the best ways to ensure a long and happy life together. So, whether it’s cartooning or beekeeping, antiquing or rock climbing, the important thing is that you’re both novices and eager to try it. And remember, looking for the right hobby is just as important as finding it, as the trial and error involved encourages communication, openness and humility—all good things in a relationship.
Be Your Own Book Club
Choose a book you think you both will enjoy and spend 15 or 30 minutes reading aloud to each other. Unlike zoning out in front of the boob tube together, reading aloud allows for greater levels of interaction and conversation, not to mention more opportunities for you to entertain each other, all while getting lost in a good book. Plus, reading and being read to are both great ways to unwind at the end of a long hard day.
Experiment In the Kitchen
Find some cookbooks or recipes online and prepare something new and challenging together. Even the act of going to the grocery store to scour the shelves for exotic spices and produce will feel like an adventure. Tackling a new recipe together will make you feel like a team, working together to accomplish something. Plus, trying out new dishes as a family is a great way to get your kids to eat new foods too! And if you're looking for somewhere to start, I recommend using the Big Oven app—it's free to use and comes loaded with thousands upon thousands of recipes.
Make a Date for Intimacy
Pick a night of the week and designate it as your special night set aside for intimacy…no matter what else is going on in your lives! It’s not that this is the only night you can have sex—spontaneity is definitely a good thing too. However, by prioritizing a specific night of the week for sex, the sense of intimacy between you and your partner will actually extend well beyond this day, as merely looking forward to it will become a kind of foreplay in itself.
And when the day does roll around, be mindful not to let what you do in the bedroom become routine. Put some effort into making the night special. Light some candles. Put clean sheets on the bed. Play a little mood music. Maybe even surprise your partner with a sexy new teddy or silk boxers. If buying your partner lingerie intimidates you, then take the advice offered by Adam and Eve and snoop around your partner’s underwear drawer to make sure you buy the right size and style. The point is to show that you value each other as sexual partners, in addition to all the other ways in which you work and live together. It’s easy to take your sex life for granted when you have so much else going on, which is why it’s all the more important to prioritize this time together.