May 18, 2020
How often do you and your partner invest quality time into your relationship? I imagine the answer to that, like many of my clients, is not enough.
The lives we lead today are very busy and fast-paced. I listen to my client's descriptions of their days, some leaving their homes in the early hours of the morning for the stressful commute to work and not returning until the late evening when the children are in bed. Exhausted, they probably share a warmed-up dinner and get a glimpse at a tv programme with their partner, the constant pinging of their phones reminding them that work is never far away.
As parents, we strive to provide our children with a good education so they get the best start in life, enjoying opportunities to spend time with their peers as well as regular leisure activities. Weekends, therefore, tend to be crammed with ferrying the children between football practice, dance classes and piano lessons, leaving very little time for ourselves, let alone our relationship with our partners.
Juggling our lives in this way can be very stressful, exhausting and time-consuming.
"How often do you spend quality time together as a couple?" and "what do you enjoy doing together"? These are questions I often as the couples who come to see me. This is often met with "Um", "Mm" or "We don't have time for that!" When you think about it though, our couple relationships are the foundation that our family is built on. Surely, this warrants the same investment as we give to other areas of our lives?
Quality time or date night, as it is often referred to, is time spent where we just focus on each other. This helps us to maintain our close connection but also reminds us of why we fell in love and provides a foundation for reigniting the passion in our relationship. It's an opportunity to do something together we enjoy without disturbance, whether that be having a meal together with our favourite music playing, doing a jigsaw or having a romantic massage. Allocating this time together gives us permission to focus solely on each other as well as providing an opportunity to check in on the status of the relationship.
Most importantly, it provides the opportunity to have space to have those in-depth conversations the way we used to rather than the day to day conversations about who's picking the children up from school. Communication is so important in our relationships and enables us to maintain that close intimate connection. This quality time also allows us to build resilience in our relationship which helps to carry us through the challenging times.
Many couples say to me that a lack of money or childcare gets in the way of date nights. My response is always to do what you can with what you have. Date night doesn't have to be expensive nor does it require you to leave your house, although I appreciate that if you can every now and again this is great. Here are some tips on how to organise a date night along with some very inexpensive ideas for things that you can do together: