5. Take time away together
Before we were married a wise couple challenged us, “Make a commitment now to go on a weekly date alone.” Do it for the rest of your life. We took their advice, and it has made a big difference in our marriage, especially when the children began to come along.
It hasn’t always been an evening. Sometimes it’s been breakfast, or when the kids were in school, a luncheon. And we haven’t made it every week. Yes, emergencies come up but throughout our marriage, we’ve made it 60% of the time.
If we hadn’t put it on the calendar every week, it would have been much less.
When our kids were young, we use to trade babysitting with another couple twice a year for a weekend getaway. We kept their kids; then they kept ours. Once we had five kids, it was harder to find anyone who wanted to trade!
But I learned the value of a few nights away alone to nurture our marriage.
On one occasion I was exhausted, and we had not had any time alone in a while so we got a babysitter to come to our house and went to a motel one mile away so we could have dinner and a night alone. I had to take a nursing baby along, but at least they don’t talk! Finally, the two of us were able to speak in complete sentences!
My friend Ellen has a husband who travels. It can be hard when he comes home from a long trip to re-connect as a couple when the children want and need to see their Dad. So often Ellen will arrange for child care, meet her husband upon arrival, and go to a hotel for 24 hours together before they go home.