It can be challenging to find time to devote to building
your marriage. In this column I answer one of the many questions I've received
about how couples can overcome their challenges and strengthen their marriages.
How to find couple time
I'm wondering how couples can find quality time for intimate
moments, especially once they have children? I'm sure you're well aware that
with children "couple time" becomes very limited. You may tell me to
go get a babysitter, and perhaps I'm a little paranoid, but nowadays that seems
like a risky option. You hear more and more about things babysitters have done
while parents were out on a date, or what caregivers have done while parents
were at work. Basically, I'm curious to know how does one effectively juggle
all the demands in life, especially with children in the home, and still
maintain a healthy, loving and intimate spousal relationship.
Finding quality time can certainly be a challenge with
children. The first step is making sure you see your marriage as a high
priority, deserving of priority time and attention. With that it will be easier
to find the time necessary for nourishing your marriage. Even though our lives
are all so busy we tend to find time for the things that are important to us.
Here are a few ideas for finding couple time:
Date night. I'm a big proponent of a weekly date night, but
I do understand the difficulties and expense of babysitters. Date night can be
something as simple as going for a walk around the block, or watching a movie
or reading a book together after the kids are in bed. Date night (dedicated
couple time) really cannot be optional for those who want to have a thriving
Babysitters. While finding a babysitter can be challenging,
being active in a church environment, for instance, is a great way to find good
babysitters. Asking around to get referrals can also help alleviate some of the
concerns you may have. Although we no longer need a babysitter in our home, I
could easily recommend many good babysitters because of my interaction with
them at church. If you are really concerned, be prayerful about finding good
babysitters for your children. The Lord will provide.
Bedtime routines. Intimate time can be found by getting
children into a good bedtime routine, so that you still have time and energy
available for each other after kids are in bed. If your marriage is a priority
then you'll be able to find a way to make room for marital nourishment amongst
the nurturing of children.
Teaching children about couple time. Many couples have found
that by teaching their children about the importance of a husband and wife
having time together alone, their children accept the fact that sometimes Mom
and Dad's bedroom door will be locked. If we handle it wisely it can set a
valuable example of how to build a strong marriage and provide that deep sense
of security that comes when children know their parents love each other.
Setting your priorities. Remember the key is to set your
priorities and schedule your time and energy accordingly. For those who seek to
have a thriving marriage, a weekly date night is not optional. Schedule it and
hold to it as best you can. Date night is your predetermined night (or
morning — whatever works for you) for couple time. With a set day and time, you
both can mentally save some of your energy for each other and not let yourself
get consumed by other things.
Discuss solutions with your spouse. I'm confident that if
you and your spouse are serious about finding time for each other, and will
brainstorm ideas that would work best for you, that you'll be able to come up
with multiple options.
The number one thing parents can do for their children is to
give them parents who love each other. I applaud your efforts to find time for
your marriage even amidst the many demands of life. Investing time and energy
into our intimate marital relationship is one of the best things we can do for
each other and for our children. This flows over into building stronger
communities, countries and nations.
God bless you and your wife in your efforts to make each
other a priority and to build a strong and intimate relationship. It's well
worth the effort!