With Valentine’s Day just passing, I am sure you and your partner have thought about how your relationship has been going this past year. While it is nice to celebrate Valentine’s Day with love and acknowledgments for your partner, imagine what your relationship could be like if this was done more often?
Sometimes we get comfortable with our partner and forget to continue to make them feel loved and special all the ordinary days of the year. Male and female are both guilty of doing it. In fact, I believe it is what just happens naturally, no matter how head over heels you once were.
It takes a conscious effort and intentionality to continue to make your partner feel special and desired in the busy times of life like starting a family or working on career goals.
My husband and I have been together since sophomore year in high school so we have experienced some trying times in our relationship. Especially when it comes to finding the time to make for each other between work and college. Now we are trying to balance work, raising a family, my husband continuing his education, and making time for our marriage.
It may sound like we are at a time where we should just wait to make time for our marriage. But you see that is where I feel most couples go wrong. If we put our relationship on hold until life is not busy, we will be waiting until we are in rocking chairs on our front porch. And I am just not okay with having a mediocre marriage.
It is that reason why I feel so strongly of continuing to connect with my husband and continue to move towards improving our relationship every day, week and year.
In order to handle what life throws us as a team, we must work at keeping that team bond strong. If we want to make sure our children know what a healthy relationship looks like, we must model it for them and hope they replicate that someday.
We must show them how we prioritize our love and cherish it, as it is the foundation of our family.
Two things I have noticed to improve our relationship and continue to grow us stronger together is communication and setting aside time for each other.
Communication meaning both you and your partner are open about your feelings instead of holding grudges or ignoring what bothers you.
I used to think that my husband should know why I was pissed off. Like he was a mind reader. So I would be distant and pissy until he asked repeatedly what was wrong. Boy, do I feel stupid for making him go through that.
Now I say what is bugging me right away so I do not let my feelings fester. I still have much more work on this part of our relationship. But this slight change has made a world of difference on how our conflicts are solved.
Communication also means speaking out your love and appreciation for your partner. Everyone needs affirmation that they are loved and valued, whether you have been married 6 months or 45 years.
Even if it is for something that is just part of their routine. Tell your partner,
Some examples of appreciation are “thanks for taking care of the trash”. “Dinner was delicious, thanks for making it tonight”. Or “I appreciate you listening to me vent about my day even though the basketball game is on and I know you would much rather watch that”
The more you incorporate this into your daily talk with your partner, the more connected you will feel with them and increase positive thoughts about them.
Sometimes as a mom it can be easy to have resentment for all of the tasks that are on our shoulders to handle. But when you start to observe how much your partner handles as well, it might start to change how you feel. It can transform daily tasks into acts of service that you are proud to be doing for the family.
Now the other transforming tool for couples is actually setting aside time for each other! Yes, I mean more time than just in the bedroom. Connecting on emotional and physical levels.
Since our daughter was born, date nights have become very difficult to come by. At least that is what we thought for about two years. But honestly, that is because we weren’t putting in the effort to make it happen.
In the past few months, we have recently decided that at least two Wednesday’s out of the month we would set aside at least two hours to have a date. Currently, Wednesday is a day that we both have off from work and it works out where my mother in law can watch our daughter without it interrupting her schedule.
So even though it is not a Friday or Saturday night, we are still going on a date! Whether it be in the afternoon or later at night, we make it work with our schedule and value the time we get to be alone with each other.
Here in Michigan, February is prime time for winter weather so scheduling unique dates is a bit tricky. We have decided that we can only go out to eat for our date if it is a new place we have never been to. Last week we tried this Mediterranean Street food that was delicious but I would have normally not been that interested to give it a try. Followed by a coffee date where we got to talk to each other like grown adults with no interruptions, plus we had these cute cappuccinos!!
A few weeks before that we did Painting With A Twist for the first time. We have been wanting to do this for a long time but again just never made time to actually do it.
Of course, we decide to do it when I can’t have any wine since I am pregnant…UGH!
But it was still a lot of fun to just do something new together. We both were a little vulnerable because we were afraid our paintings would suck but in the end, it didn’t even matter.
Being pregnant while trying to think of unique ideas for our dates have made it a bit of a challenge, but there is still a lot to do out there.
Here are some winter date night/day ideas on our list:
- Couples Massage
- Dance Lessons
- Cooking Lessons
- Kickboxing Lessons
- Painting With A Twist
- Try New Restaurant (Spice it up and choose each other’s meal!)
- Go To Local Museum
- Double Date
- Game Night (We do this on the Wednesdays where we cannot get out of the house!)
- Goal Planning (Open dialogue about dreams and wishes, make vision board together)
- Volunteer Somewhere Together
- Comedy Night
- Local Concert at Pub
- Workout Together
- Couples Yoga
- Go To Sporting Event (Maybe do surprise tickets for no reason at all!)
- Go Ice Skating
- Go To The Zoo
- Karaoke Night
- Start A Project
- Trivia Night
- Coffee Date (We have some of our best conversations over coffee!)
- Escape Room
- Go Paint Cermanics
- Pottery Class
- Schedule Romantic Photo Session
Hopefully, some of these ideas sound fun to you and your partner! Whatever it is that you do, make sure to start being more intentional about the time you spend with your partner.
A great relationship does not just happen. It requires patience and a lot of effort on both parts. Incorporating some open communication along with intentional date nights will set your relationship up for improvement.
Remember, it may seem like there is no time for your marriage and that the kids need to come first. But your relationship with your partner is the foundation of your entire family. You must nourish that relationship in order for the rest of the family relationships to flourish.
I promise you your kids will not hate you because you are having a date night. In fact, they will most likely look forward to that time with the babysitter or relative looking after them!
So get your next date on the calendar tonight!! No more excuses!!