Making the most of "Us" time

Often as parents we find ourselves amidst a myriad of activities for our kids, there are places to go, people to see, things to do, errands to run. As a result, date nights and couple time eludes us. We barely have time for ourselves, let alone to plan a date night! And sometimes, when we do find the time, spending time with our significant other ends up being going to bed early because we're so exhausted from the week or the day that there's no energy left for romance. So with Valentine's Day being around the corner, I thought I'd share some tips on how to make the most of couple time, so that even the most tired of parents can still enjoy a little quality "us" time.

  • It does take effort - Quality couple time takes effort. It doesn't have to be extravagant but it does require some commitment from both parties to make it happen. The truth is, you have to make time for it and that can be done in different ways. Whether it’s committing to 1 date night a month, hiring a sitter for the kids, or trying to come home early from work on Fridays for dinner, this all takes the conscious effort of deciding to make this a priority. Both of you are responsible for this, the intimacy of your marriage or partnership is your responsibility, so take the reins and make it happen.
  • Bigger isn't always better - Don't be fooled that quality "us" time needs to be a fancy dinner date or an exotic weekend getaway, it doesn't always have to involve flowers or gifts. Whatever your style, make sure its quality time. It could be a Netflix movie and ice cream (or wine) on the couch, or it could be a hot date at a hip restaurant in town - the most important thing is that you are spending time together, doing something you both love and enjoying yourselves together, without the kids. 
  • Undivided attention - Put away the devices (laptop, phone, iPad) and give your spouse your undivided attention (even if its only for 15 minutes). "Us" time doesn't have to be long either - like in a formal date. Sometimes all it takes to spend good quality "couple" time is sitting in bed, telling each other about your day. One person talks and the other just simply listens, and you take turns. This is sometimes all you need to feel connected to your partner and for your partner to feel heard, especially if they’re having a hard day. Never underestimate the simply gesture of asking "how was your day?" and just listening with an open heart.

Finding time together can be challenging when you're a parent, but don't let it be an excuse. You have to work at it. It doesn't always come easy but think of it as setting a great example for your children. When they see you model a happy, healthy marriage or partnership, you're teaching them important pillars for their future relationships and marriages. It doesn't just benefit you both as a couple but your kids get to see how much you love each other, which benefits them too.

~ Daphne Howe