Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The divorce rate spikes among married couples after they have children. The pressures of raising kids, running a household and holding down a job leave precious little time for reconnecting with each other, leaving spouses vulnerable to affairs or feeling like they've just "fallen out of love" with one another. Take the time to listen objectively to your daily conversations with your spouse. Do you talk exclusively about the kids? About home repairs and chores? About what bills to pay and when? It may be time to refresh your relationship with a night out together, away from the kids, the house and the bills.
If you can manage it, have date night on a weekly basis. However, if finances or lack of childcare is an issue, be sure to at least have date night once a month. If you absolutely can't leave your children with someone else, set aside time once a week when the kids are in bed to reconnect with each other.
Date night need not be lavish or expensive and doesn't necessarily even need to be overtly romantic. The important thing is spending quality time with your spouse and remembering all the reasons why you're together in the first place. For this reason, most of the time you will want to choose activities that promote interaction. Taking a picnic to a local park or taking a walk together at a scenic location are some inexpensive ways to enjoy your time together and create a quiet atmosphere for talk. Many couples make the mistake of always choosing dinner and a movie for their date night. This quickly becomes predictable and boring and sitting side-by-side at a movie doesn't promote the kind of interaction you need.
However, from time to time simply getting out and having fun together can be as important as heart-to-heart conversation. Go dancing at a posh nightclub. Attend a sporting event together dressed in your team colors. Play billiards at an upscale pool hall. If your finances are limited, consider rollerblading together, playing Frisbee in the park or finding a local arcade and playing video games together.
For couples who can't get out of the house at all, there are several activities that can be enjoyed while the kids are asleep. One night, feed the kids early and after their in bed prepare a gourmet meal together and eat it by candlelight. Get out your wedding photographs and make a scrapbook together. Play a board game or cards. The key is finding an activity you can do together that doesn't involve child care, home repair or chores.