Many people assume that once they have kids, their dating days are over. Watching movies as a couple, having a quiet romantic dinner and going for a moonlit stroll in the park will all be replaced by watching Disney movies with at least 2 restless toddlers who need to visit the restroom every 30 minutes, dinners at noisy family friendly restaurants and frantic jogs after your children as they teeter along on their new rollerblades in the park.

Whilst all these activities are wonderful and bring immense joy and richness to the lives of us as parents, they do little to foster the romantic connections which you had before you got married and had kids. And yet, those connections and feelings of romance, love and companionship are important. Long after our kids have grown up and left the nest, it is these ties which will keep us together and make the later years of our marriage fulfilling, enjoyable and meaningful. 

So even as you enjoy the gifts your children bring to your marriage, don’t forget to nurture your relationship with each other. Here are some of the things which you can do to keep the romance in your marriage. 

Make Time and Plan for It

Time together cannot happen unless you make time for it. Make together time a priority and plan for it. Make a commitment to have at least 1 date a week and put it in your calendars. Make it “official” and as important as sending your kids to their taekwondo lesson or going to work. 

Simple is Best

It’s great if you can plan a once in a lifetime event and co-ordinate everyone’s schedules to make it happen. But sometimes, the simplest plans are the best. You want to make sure that no matter what other crises occur, that you will still be able to find some time on a regular basis that allows you to spend time together. Maybe it’s as simple as making sure your kids go to bed early so that you and your spouse can spend 1 hour together watching a favourite show on tv, doing a jigsaw puzzle together or even just sitting on the couch, talking and cuddling. 

Child Care

You are not a parental failure if you rely on child care once in a while so that you and your spouse can go out to attend a dinner party together, watch a show, have dinner or catch up on a game of tennis. Whether it is something which a supportive family member kindly offers to help you with, or you engage the services of a professional baby sitter, having a date out once in a while is important, being able to say yes to a friend’s cocktail party invite is important, and being able to go out and play a sport which you both enjoy but which your kids can’t is also important. 

Manage Your Frustrations

Don’t let your frustrations or your stress from managing so many roles affect the time you have set aside to be together. No matter how tired or irritable you feel, make an effort to put those feelings aside when you go on your dates. Give yourself enough emotional space and leave any emotional baggage you may have at the door in order to focus on each other. 

Chore Time Can Be Date Time Too

Don’t underestimate how romantic folding laundry, changing light bulbs and gardening can be. If you do them together and use the time to talk to each other and connect, they can be part of a wonderful daily routine which brings you closer to each other.