One of the things that always strikes me when I talk to couples who are in crisis is how little time they spend together. They usually say that they want to spend time together, but there are just too many other demands: work, children, family obligations, sleep, alone time to recharge and replenish. The problem is that if you don’t spend time with your partner, risk losing the connection and remembering why you chose each other. And when you are feeling distant, everything else in life is more complicated.
I recommend that couples spend at least 10 minutes a day without kids, television, email or other distractions to just check-in. “How are you? How was your day? What made it (good, bad, busy, slow, etc.)?” Try to limit information sharing and stories about the children. Keep the topic to what is happening in your world.
It is also important to go on dates at least once a month. This offers a more extended period of time to spend focusing on each other. You can do anything on these dates, but it is better to not go to the movies—you spend the date with your attention on something or someone other than your partner. I know that there can be a lot of barriers to setting aside time for each other: getting a babysitter, getting home from work early enough, finding the money. But even if you just have dinner at home together after the kids go to bed or eat at the dining room table rather than in front of the television, you are meeting the basic requirement: setting aside an extended period of time to focus on each other, without distractions.
Time together gives you the opportunity to reconnect, recharge your relationship, and remember why this person is important to you.