When you have been with someone for a long period of time, it is so easy to take things for granted. It’s easy to be complacent with where you are in your relationship. The day to day takes over and one day you realize that you haven’t communicated with your spouse other than through email, texting and notes on the table because you feel like you are going 100 miles an hour and can’t find the brake. You wouldn’t plant flowers in your garden in spring and water them sporadically expecting them to grow would you? Put the time and effort into your relationship and big things will happen. I have some ideas so you can continue to date your spouse/significant other. I’m not talking about just going out to dinner but doing things to stay connected, continue to fall in love, and respect each other.
I’ve heard studies talk about how unplugging before bed can help with sleep and productivity. Why not take the last hour or two before bed once the kids are sleeping to unplug and connect with one another? When’s the last time you talked to your spouse? I mean really talked to them. No phones. No distractions. No talking about kids. This can help put the focus on your relationship but also have a positive impact in other aspects of your life.
Leave love notes
When my husband and I started dating almost 17 years ago, I was in college and he was living in Two Rivers and worked second shift full time. We generally only saw each other on weekends for a bit before he went to work. We would talk on the phone but my favorite time was checking email at about 10:30pm. He was generally home from work at that time and I could usually count on an email from him. Some of that slipped off through the years but from time to time leave a note in their car telling you how much you love them, ask them out on a date, or tell them how much you appreciate them. I don’t always remember to do this as often as I should but it sure makes my husband feel appreciated when he finds one of my little notes.
Go on dates
Take time to do something with your spouse. You may think, “we don’t have money for that” or “we don’t have anyone to watch the kids”. These dates don’t have to be grand or elaborate. We have had a date at the beach and packed some fruit, wine, and cheese and just sat on blankets watching the sunset. It was time for just us. If you have younger kids and don’t have someone to watch the kids, have a picnic in the living room when the kids go to bed. Set up some candles, play some music, and talk to one another. Rent a movie the two of you are interested in. Sit outside on the patio or deck, look at the stars and hold hands. When my husband worked second shift and his weekends off came around every three months we had to get creative. Yes, we sometimes have more elaborate dates where we may spend a weekend away with each other but usually it's something simple like coffee.
Do the unexpected
It is always nice to do something your spouse or significant other isn’t expecting. I know my husband likes cookies. From time to time when I am at the store, I will pick up his favorite cookie for a little treat. I may even run through Starbucks while running errands to have an iced tea waiting for him when he comes home on his lunch break. I might even be as simple as making lunch for him on a Saturday afternoon so he can eat a warm meal instead of a sandwich.
None of these ideas have to take a ton of time or effort. It’s about making the other person feel special, wanted and appreciated. Little gestures can have a big impact. I challenge you to do something for your spouse this week and spend one hour getting to know one another all over again.