Is it time to seize a quick date with your spouse?
“Small snippets of time to rejuvenate your soul will be far more nourishing than a tidy fridge.”
Sometimes you just need to grab life whenever you can. Time is our most precious resource, and the days slip by quicker than you can scroll down your social media feed. Recently, I decided to capitalise on these snippets of time, and consciously dedicate attention to my key relationships: with my husband – and, just as importantly, with myself.
My husband and I had always been a steadfast unit. From its earliest years, our marriage has weathered challenges – from long distance separations to cross-country moves to job changes. When our beautiful baby arrived, I had naively assumed parenthood would be a breeze.
Throw in sleepless nights, new emotional demands, and constant chores, and suddenly I was reeling at how disconnected I felt from my partner. Date nights seemed impossible to schedule (like many in the parenting trenches today, we were separated from family by a plane ride). To reconnect, we had to make a decision to dedicate the time we had, when we had it, no matter how little.
It began in those bleary, early baby days when we had miraculously managed to make it to a casual picnic. Well-meaning friends had offered to babysit for us one night, yet as new parents we felt understandably unready. However, it occurred to me that I was perhaps ready for them to watch my child for a brief period while I was in the general vicinity. These beautiful – one might even say heroic – friends of ours were happy to oblige, and my husband and I spent an energetic ten minutes kicking a football and reconnecting.
It didn’t stop there. When we found a trusted babysitter, and met friends for a night out, we stole away from the larger crowd. It was easy to pretend it was just the two of us for that moment in time.
Parenthood can be about learning to thrive in trying circumstances, like a flower growing in a crack in the pavement; relationships need a space to grow, no matter the size. By consciously curating time to connect with your partner or yourself, no matter how small, you are saying, ‘this relationship is important to me’. Every minute counts, so you learn to capitalise on even the briefest opportunity. Here are some of my favourite ways to speed-date with your spouse, or solo.
THE OUTDOORSY DATE WITH YOUR PARTNER
Picture a family BBQ or the beach with friends. Ask a responsible adult to mind your child while you grab your on-the-go date. Kick the footy to your partner, or dunk under the salty ocean water together. Doing something active as a team helps to remind you who you are, as a couple and individually.
THE (ALMOST) SOLO SELF-CARE DATE
Self-care is the almost unattainable dream in the early years of parenthood, but you don’t have to daydream about spa days and long massages; a face mask can be applied while bathing your child, or a nourishing leave-in hair treatment while you whiz around in the kitchen. It will work wonders for your inner self to feel cherished. Yes, you are supervising your child; but you are caring for yourself, too.
THE MICRO DATE IN A MACRO DATE
Perhaps it’s a wedding or a similar prearranged night. Your child is at home with your babysitter. Yet often, you may not feel you’re able to have quality time with your partner when catching up with others. The solution: sneak away for 15 minutes together. Smaller dinner, no problem! Arrive before your friends and have a moment at the bar, mindfully discussing something other than the kids, house or work.
THE AT-HOME ROMANTIC DATE WITH YOUR PARTNER OR SELF
A spare 10 minutes may feel like an opportunity to wash the dishes, vacuum the lounge, get dressed and put a load of washing on. But sometimes it’s imperative to neglect domestic productivity, and instead place focus on your emotional fulfillment. A hot cup of coffee and a few chapters of a book can take precedence over a clean house. Small snippets of time to rejuvenate your soul will be far more nourishing than a tidy fridge or reorganised rumpus room.
To cultivate connected and mindful relationships, here are some additional tips:
- Prepare topics to discuss other than domestic or work-related subjects.
- Remind yourself of a time when you last felt connected. Harness that feeling. You could even re-create that setting.
- Look into each other eyes. Hold hands. Steal a kiss. Take several minutes to embrace each other in a slow and gentle cuddle.
- Put electronic devices away.