Scheduling One-on-One Time in a Busy Marriage
Life can get incredibly hectic when you’re married. Between work, kids, household responsibilities, and trying to maintain a social life, finding time to nurture your relationship with your spouse can be a real challenge.
However, making your marriage a priority and setting aside dedicated one-on-one time together is crucial for keeping your bond strong, enhancing intimacy and communication, and preventing resentment or drift from setting in.
The struggles are real when it comes to carving out a couple time from an overflowing calendar. But with some strategic planning, a little creativity, and a shared commitment, you can discover and schedule pockets of availability for that precious exclusive time to invest in each other. In this blog post, we will share strategies and tips to find more one-on-one quality time in marriage.
Tips for Quality Time in Busy Marriages
1. Assess Your Schedules
The first step is for both spouses to take a close look at their schedules – work hours, recurring meetings and obligations, kids’ extracurricular activities, etc. Make note of windows of opportunity where you could realistically slot in one-on-one time. You may spot openings for a weekly morning coffee date before the chaos of the day starts or a weekend mid-morning when the kids are at sports practice.
You’ll also want to mark down upcoming chunks of free time, like a light work week or a vacation. It’s good to know when you’ve got longer stretches with less rigid constraints appropriate for scheduling more immersive dates.
2. Brainstorm Date Ideas That Work for You
Once you’ve scouted out when you can make time for each other, discuss what types of one-on-one dates would be enjoyable, convenient, and meaningful for both of you. Consider your lifestyle, responsibilities, budgets, and personal preferences. Focus on sharing fun experiences together to bond and create memories.
For instance, if you’ve got young kids, plan at-home dinner and movie nights when they’re asleep. Outdoor couples who can slip out for a few hours might schedule a hike or picnic at a scenic local spot.
Or partners continually on the go could meet for a midday café lunch date (with phones off!) that fits between obligations.
The key is choosing date ideas you’ll truly savor that align with the pockets of time available on your calendars. Go into the scheduling process with an open, creative mindset – avoid defaulting to the usual tired dinner and movie. Get inspired by trying new activities or revisiting favorite dating moments from earlier in your relationship.
3. Get It on the Calendar
Once you’ve identified times for one-on-one connection and brainstormed date ideas that match, get your dates on the calendar! This may mean scheduling them out weeks or even months in advance to ensure you lock in availability and don’t double-book that time.
Building date nights into your calendars gives them more weight and sets the expectation that these are important standing appointments not to be overlooked.
Approach scheduling couple time with the same priority and planning you would for a big work meeting or your annual check-up. Having date nights officially on the calendar also means you can look forward to them!
It’s wise to schedule both recurring date nights (like Friday evenings) and some special dates for landmark occasions (like anniversaries and birthdays). Layering regular weekly or biweekly one-on-one time with additional special dates provides a reliable relationship rhythm.
4. Get Creative with Childcare
For married couples with kids at home, lining up childcare is essential to buying you uninterrupted alone time together. That might mean enlisting grandparents to babysit or arranging a kid swap with another family. Or for regular date nights, consider hiring a semi-regular sitter your kids know and like.
If budgets are tight or finding reliable sitters feels difficult, get creative about kid-friendly double dates where you can socialize with another couple while the kids entertain themselves or one another. Or plan dates right after little ones’ bedtimes so you can be home but still focus fully on each other into the evening.
5. Use Reminders to Protect Your Plans
Once those precious one-on-one dates claim a spot on your jam-packed calendars, take measures to protect them! Set phone alerts reminding you of upcoming date nights a few days or a week before so they don’t accidentally fall off the radar in the midst of your hectic lives.
Also establish the agreement upfront that short of serious illness or family emergency, date nights are non-negotiable standing commitments. Avoid the tendency to let other obligations, work issues, or social invites encroach on that specially scheduled time investment in your marriage. Your couple bonding deserves to be prioritized!
6. Get On the Same Page about Distractions & Devices
In order for your one-on-one dates to truly nurture intimacy and connection, you’ve got to shield them from outside distractions. Establish some ground rules ahead of time, like turning phones off (or at least putting them away on silent/no vibrate) to avoid constant pings stealing your attention.
Also discuss any temptation you may have to let work stresses or thoughts about unfinished responsibilities preoccupy you mentally during date time. Make a shared commitment to be fully emotionally present with each other, leaving worries or to-do lists for later. Guarding your one-on-one time from intrusions means you can both be invested in each other.
7. Build in Communication
One major benefit of consistent date nights is that they provide a reliable window for open communication about your relationship. During your one-on-one time together, make sure to check in about how you each feel your marriage is going, areas you want to improve as a couple, hopes or concerns on your minds, or anything else affecting your bond.
Scheduling this chance to talk openly without kids or devices demanding constant attention gives you dedicated time to share, listen to each other fully, gain understanding, and problem-solve. Taking advantage of designated couple time to connect emotionally and work through challenges will strengthen intimacy and trust over time.
8. Tailor to Strengthen Your Unique Bond
While regular one-on-one dates are universally important for all marriages, make sure to tailor the activities and communication style to suit the unique dynamic and history you share with your partner. Cater your date nights to tap into your inside jokes and special memories that solidify the exclusivity of your lifelong pair bond.
For example, fiercely independent partners may bond best over trying new outdoor adventure experiences side-by-side. Nurturers at heart could thoughtfully plan dates caring for others together, like preparing meals for struggling neighbors. And goal-focused couples might connect over tackling a desired finance or home project together. Make date time uniquely “you!”
9. Consistency & Variety for Relationship Vitality
When first scheduling in dedicated couple time after a long dry spell, the change can feel awkward. But viewed as a non-negotiable fixture vital for marital health, consistently investing this one-on-one time will yield huge relationship dividends over months and years. The more often you thoughtfully nurture intimacy and open sharing, the more natural it becomes.
While regularly designated date nights provide an anchoring relationship rhythm, do continue varying date locations, activities, and conversation focal points. Balancing reliable recurrence with enough novelty and excitement sustains passion and anticipation about your exclusive time together. Let date scheduling spark creativity in strengthening the vigor and joy between you and your spouse!
Making your marriage a priority by consistently scheduling meaningful one-on-one dates may feel like a challenge amid the whirlwind of responsibilities married life brings. But carving out this exclusive time to invest in each other without distraction is utterly foundational for keeping your lifelong partnership solid, passionate, and emotionally fulfilled.
Dedicate yourself to the process of scoping out pockets of time in busy calendars, tailoring date activities to your unique bond, getting creative with childcare solutions, and protecting plans to soak up that special chance to nurture intimacy and connection. Date nights provide a space to fall in love all over again!