First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes “Johnny” in the baby carriage! Have you heard that little song before? If I could rewind time, I swear I would hear friends being silly singing it, not even fully understanding the meaning behind the lyrics. Yet, here we are. It is 2024 and we know exactly what those lyrics mean because we are in the thick of it.

What am I getting at here I am sure you are all wondering. Many of us seem to follow a similar path when it comes to seeking a partner and that includes dating, falling in love, getting married, and then starting a family (of course there are different paths and outcomes). And then BOOM! These sweet, precious little humans we created, dreamed about, prayed for, and more are finally here and BOY, OH BOY (or maybe I should say GIRL, OH GIRL!)…they take up what feels like every single second of our lives!

And while this is what we wanted, it is completely OK to admit that babies and kids are demanding. They demand our love, time, physical and mental power…literally every ounce of our being as a mama. It is utterly exhausting. The best job in the world I love to say, yet not a job for the weak.

Finding time to care for yourself seems impossible. I am not referring to nail or hair appointments when I mention care. I am talking about the necessities…going to the bathroom, brushing your teeth, eating a meal, showering, sleeping! You know? The things in life that keep us going, keep us strong, keep us well, keep us alive! These “tasks” often feel like they are impossible and when you really think about it, it seems quite crazy that some days we just do not find the time to squeeze them in and when we do, we often have an audience or feel rushed.

Now onto your partner! You know the person you fell in love with, married and had a child with! You begin to miss them, don’t you?! Between the extreme levels of exhaustion and not ever feeling like there are enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need and want to do; your relationship tends to get put on the back burner. And that is not good! It is so important to find time to connect, share in the love and laughter, maybe even a good cry together…simply just “be”! Be the people you were before the amazing little humans you created entered your story.

You are writing the story. Start a new chapter that focuses on rekindling the spark in your marriage and then continue to add chapters that involve your entire family. Who knows, maybe you will even add a few new characters. But those two main characters- you and your partner. They are the rocks, the roots, the reason the story began! Most importantly, do not lose sight of yourself and your relationship with your partner. Continuing to breathe life and fire into that relationship is not only going to make your relationship stronger and healthier, it will benefit your children as well. Happier parents, make for happier kiddos! It is a win, win!

My best advice is to date your partner no matter how long you have been married. Think back to the times of dating when you had to put in the effort to see each other, plan where to meet, what to do, what to eat, what to wear, hold hands, kiss goodnight, etc.! Those were the days! But they can still be THE days if you make it happen! Not as easy I know, but doable! And a date these days may not actually involve leaving your house, but that is ok. It is a season of your life. One day you will hopefully be out and about “dating” your partner when the kids are grown wishing you could rewind time and have them little again (well just for a little bit so you can get back to the amazing date you are on)!

Official Date Night-In Ideas:

- No screen night! No phones, no computers, no tv! Straight up talking…or silence because sometimes silence truly is golden!

- Order your favorite takeout. If it is fancy food and you want to rock the fancy vibe, get dressed up! Set the table using your best dishes, light the candles, and treat yourselves to an amazing dinner and conversation. Not so fancy food? Get in your pajamas, eat on the couch, laugh like children, and enjoy! Skipping straight to dessert? Grab the ice cream container with two spoons and eat up!

- Cook together. Make your favorite meal together. A great way to have fun and bond! If time allows, maybe even grocery shop together beforehand.

- Move night! Watch something new you are both excited to see or watch an old favorite that you can reminisce about! Do not forget to cuddle and laugh or cry!

- Game night! Challenge each other to your favorite board games. Be nice and let them win to be sweet or bring your game face…ball is in your court! Or maybe play some old school Nintendo and see who remembers all the moves in Mario! Endless possibilities of fun and friendly competition.

Official Date Night-Out Ideas:

- Try that new spot in town everyone is talking about and you have been missing out on. Get dressed up, put some makeup on and have fun! Making new memories together in new places is a guaranteed good time!

- Visit your favorite local restaurant! Eat, chat and be merry! Walk down memory lane or plan for the future. It is inevitable the kids will come up in conversation, but try to talk about other things, too! You can do it!

- Go somewhere your partner loves. They love to golf but you not so much. Maybe hit up mini golf or the driving range? They will love and appreciate the effort you put in to do something they really enjoy. Being out of your comfort zone is hard but if it is for the one you love, it is usually worth it to witness the joy it brings them.

- Go somewhere you love and bring your partner along for the ride! Share everything you know and love about the place, what you are doing…this allows you to connect on so many levels. I can sense the sparks flying!

- Do something adventurous! Hike, bike, axe throwing, go cart races…so many options! Pick a new adventurous expedition for the both of you or pick something you both absolutely love.

- Treat yourselves to a relaxing day/night. Visit the spa, beach day, see a movie. We all deserve a bit of down time so why not enjoy it together and make it a date.

Whatever it is, focus on the two of you. Remember all the steps it took to get you to where you are today. A lot of love, hard work, dedication, support, empathy…it takes all of you! All that deserves to be celebrated and recognized now and again in your marriage.

Keep that spark alive my friends. You will be thankful you did. And drop some love notes or pick up their favorite candy bars now and again, too!

Author: Tracy Klipfel



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