Has your relationship with your partner been compromised since having kids? When you have kids, time is a scarcity, you can become exhausted and you may just not have any new ideas to try. It’s time to reconnect—Indy with Kids has got you! Check out these 50 ways to reignite the spark with your spouse, both during family time and when you are alone.
Jessica Deubner contributed to this article.
When the kids are not around, try not to talk about them. Turn off the TV and phones and focus on yourselves. Take time to reconnect and share each other’s dreams. Listen without interrupting, and keep the conversation positive. Say what you want your partner to know—don’t assume she/he does know.
Okay, so we all talk about this, but do you really follow through? Go on a regular date. Take a class or do an activity that you both enjoy, or take turns going to an event that your partner likes and wants to share with you. You are showing you care about him, and who knows—you may end up enjoying it too! Check out our list of Indianapolis Date Night Ideas for inspiration!
Random Acts of Love
Small interactions can be so meaningful in a relationship. Have a ritual you do together, like reading a poem or story together or holding hands at night before you go to sleep. Don’t forget to hug, kiss, and flirt. When the kids see you caring for each other, they will know that is what a good relationship should be like.
Bow Chicka Wow Wow
Get a sitter (it’s worth the money) and have connected intimate relations. Do whatever you both enjoy—give each other a massage, watch a steamy movie, wear lingerie, light candles, or role play. If the sitter is at your house, get a hotel room. If Nana or your regular babysitter aren’t available, take the kids to Village Playcare or Kidz Depot.
Reminisce and Dream
Reconnect with couple-friends you have lost touch with. Talk about the qualities that made you fall in love. Look at old photos, emails or videos—whatever you have that tells your story. Discuss where you are now and what the future holds, both together and as a family.
Share a funny story that happened to you today, retell a joke you heard or watch a comedy. Play a fun game together that you both really enjoy. Try out a fun “kid” activity that you can do together, like jumping at Sky Zone. Create low pressure fun ways to enjoy each other’s company.
Help Each Other
We get so busy that sometimes we forget everything the other person does for us. Remember your partners needs are as important, if not more so, as your kids and work. Talk about stresses each other is facing, and how you can help ease the burden. These sometimes weigh one or both partners down and decrease emotional and physical intimacy.
Planned Time Alone
Take a vacation alone as a couple, or plan a day alone. When money or time are tight, even an hour at home with a special dinner can help you both recharge. If you have to (or want to) include the whole family, pick a place that will be good for both of you and the kids like this trip to St. Louis. This is a great way to recharge your batteries.
Write loving emails. Declare your love on social media—that’s the fastest way to talk your partner up to a wide audience and it may make them feel good. Send sexy texts early in the day to keep your partner thinking about you all day, then reap the rewards when the kids go to bed.
Take Care of You
I am guilty of this and I’m sure many of you are too—everything comes first except you. But when we eat right and exercise regularly, we feel better about ourselves in and out of our relationships. You can even bond over working out together—like maybe have the same goal of training for a 5K. If you need a fitness center that provides child care, be sure to try some of these.
Wait…We don’t have to wait until our anniversary or a big promotion to enjoy life? Absolutely not! Celebrating small accomplishments or even just because the day ends in “y” is enough. These can be moments alone or family celebrations. A special dinner, watching the sunset, dance together. Make all your time together count.
Pamper Your Partner
Draw them a bath, make breakfast in bed—even wash and detail their car if they love their ride! Anything that you know they will enjoy. This will let your person know they are special to you. They may even be inspired to do something nice for you in the future.
Spend Time Apart
This may seem like the opposite of strengthening your relationship, but taking time to recharge alone is critical. The quarantine has shown that we all tend to get on each other’s nerves if we are together 24-7. You will appreciate your partner more after you have had time to do an activity that only you enjoy, spend time with a friend, or just have time with your own thoughts. You will come back together with a better perspective.
Show Some PDA
So not everyone is into Public Displays of Affection, but for most, it does feel good to know others see your partner as attracted to or caring for you. Loving looks, kissing, and holding hands while out together strengthen your bond. You may have to tone it down when the kids are around, but it is good for the kids to see their parents show affection for each other.
Switch Things Up
Routine can get boring—add some variety to your lives. If you always watch TV before going to bed, play a game instead. If one of you always initiates intimacy, reverse your roles. You may find you like the new way of doing things better.
Do Something You Both Enjoy
A lot of satisfaction can come from sharing at least one hobby you both love. Maybe you both liked to hike before you had kids, but you just don’t have the time now. Carve out some time to start again, whether it is as a couple or a family. Renewing an old interest or finding a new one can bring some fulfillment to a relationship.
Show your spontaneous side by whisking your loved one away to a surprise destination. This can be somewhere close by or farther away—as long as you are together. Talk about the things you have planned to do when you get there. For more mystery, don’t tell them where you are going or doing. This will make a fun memory for your both to look back on.
Think sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Some of our fondest times are when our experiences heighten our senses. If you two enjoy art, go to a gallery and talk about how the exhibits made you feel. If you have a favorite type of music, listen to CD’s while relaxing or go to a concert together. Wear each other’s favorite perfume or cologne, get a couples massage, or share a delicious dessert.
Take the Kids
I know you may be thinking, “I feel like I do this a lot already.” But sometimes you may sense that your partner needs some extra time to relax. Let them sleep in, take a nap, or go out with friends while you take care of the kids and responsibilities for a while. They should appreciate that you have given them some time to recoup.
Be Honest about Romance
We all sometimes wish we had the same quantity of time together as we did before kids. Changes will need to be made, but this is just part of your lives together. Maybe instead of a date night every week like before, you make a pact to have a quality date night every month. Remember the kids will be gone one day and you will be alone together again, so keep the spark alive now.
Parenting means making sacrifices for the kids. You spend a significant amount of time on school functions, sports, etc. But don’t forget how important your significant other is, or that spending time together should be a priority. A love relationship needs to be nurtured, even with added responsibilities. Sometimes that means not taking on the extra client at work, going out Saturday night with friends, or volunteering to head up an event. Spend this time addressing your needs as a couple.
Sometimes we feel as though they are doing everything for their family, more than their fair share. But we often forget about the things our significant other brings to the table. Sit down and make a list of three or more things you appreciate your partner doing in the past week or month. Then come together and talk about them. Make sure the other person knows how much their actions were noticed and you are thankful for them.
It would be great if relationships were 50/50 all the time. But we all know that is not always the case. If you feel like your partner is struggling during a particular time, try to help them by extending your energies. Go put gas in the car, take their turn with the dishes, read the story to the kids tonight. The other person will feel you cared enough for them to go the extra mile.
Don’t waste the child-free noon hour! Plan or surprise your love with a lunch date. Check-in with how each other’s day is going while you share a meal. Have a picnic in a secluded spot. If you are feeling a little risque, skip the food and get a room! This loving time together may negate the stresses of the rest of the day.
Don’t Stay Mad
All relationships (even the best of them) have disagreements. It’s okay to take a little time to cool off and gather your thoughts, but don’t take too long. Sit down and talk privately (sans kids) about what happened and the way it made each of you feel without accusing or blaming. Ignoring the other person or pretending it didn’t happen will add tension to a partnership and will decrease affection.
While this may not sound fun or romantic, in a family it decreases stress and lays out expectations. A schedule also lets you pencil in some time for each other, instead of saying you’ll spend some quality time when everything else is done (which never happens). Show love and respect by doing (or at least helping with) the jobs your partner dislikes the least. See if you can tackle some things together.
People bring different skills into a union—work with each other’s strengths. Both partners should feel fulfilled and happy about how their roles, both as parents and partners, fit together. Being a team in every way will help solidify your partnership and increase intimacy.
Talk Every Day
Communication helps both of you from feeling isolated and fosters a loving relationship. Speak with each other even if you are disagreeing, one of you is out of town, or you’re both busy with the kids. In-person is best, but if that is not possible do it by Zoom, phone, or email. Try to keep it positive and let the other person know how much you love them.
Maybe you two feel as though intimacy is not happening ever again. Perhaps you’re struggling so much with family or professional issues that romance is not even a thought. Think about seeking counseling. An objective third person may be able to tell you ways to jumpstart your love life or help you work through other struggles blocking your relationship. Working through your problems will help your connection.
Create a Love Nest
Make your bedroom off-limits to your kids. This means no sleeping in your bed or playing with their toys in there. Decorate it the way you would if it were just you two (no finger paint artwork). Keep things in this room that are significant to you as a couple and you don’t want to be destroyed. Your bedroom should reflect the personalities of both of you—a love nest.
Send a Flirty Text
So often we send reminder texts. “Don’t forget, it’s trash day.” “It’s your turn for school drop-off.” When was the last time, you sent a flirty text? Even a simple “I can’t wait to see you tonight” with the classic winky face can bring some excitement to the day. It will be sure to surprise your partner.
We gush and chatter on about our new love in the beginning of a relationship and naturally that starts to fade over time. Bring back some of that magic with a special love letter highlighting some of things you find most wonderful about your partner. They will feel the love and it will bring you closer together.
Date Night Jar
Couples are always told to keep date night going throughout a marriage. Sometimes, it is difficult to come up with new ideas and you end up being stuck in a rut of the same old restaurant. Write down all of your favorites plus new places that you have been meaning to try. Place the slips of paper in a jar and draw one out on date night. Soon, you will be trying lots of new places and will be creating new memories.
You may have heard of the 5 love languages. These are the main ways that your partner feels loved and appreciated. Very likely, their love language is different from yours. Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch are the different love languages. Learning what your partner responds best to will strengthen your relationship and create a deeper bond.
Your marriage may look much different from when you first got married. When was the last time you laid out goals for your relationship? Set aside time with your partner to determine where you want your relationship to go. Make 5 year and 10 year goals. With the addition of kids, home ownership, and more challenging work projects, you may have matured in your relationship and communication is always key to keeping the spark alive.
Maybe you love your partner’s blue sweater and think they look amazing in it. Have you told them? Perhaps you love that they always make sure you have hot coffee in the morning. It brings a smile to your face each day. Make sure to say these things out loud. Hearing what your partner loves about you will create more confidence in the relationship.
Leave Little Gifts for Each Other
My husband loves chocolate covered pretzels, artisan soaps, and basically anything sports related. When I am out and about, sometimes these things catch my eye and I grab one to surprise my husband. Don’t make a big deal about it, just leave it in a place where they are sure to find it and it will brighten their day to know you were thinking about them.
Schedule that sitter but do not tell your partner. Make reservations at their favorite restaurant or make plans to do their favorite activity. Watch the surprise on their face when the doorbell rings and you get to go out and have an impromptu night on the town.
Recreate your First Date
Recreate the giddiness you felt from that first date. If you did dinner and a movie, learn to make that same meal at home and rent the movie you saw in theaters. Try to remember all of the silly things you may have done during that initial date and talk to your partner about how you were feeling. It can give them some insight into how head over heels you may have been feeling.
Share Your Favorite Meal Together
Put the kids to bed and then order your favorite meal. So many times we are just going through the motions and feeding ourselves food that our kids enjoy. Order a special meal that your kids may not be interested in trying but that the two of you love. Sharing something you both like gives you a shared experience and can bring you closer together.
Pick a recipe that you are intimidated to try by yourself. Shop together for the ingredients and do all of the prep and cooking side by side. Turn on fun music to create an easy going atmosphere and enjoy the process of creating something together.
Turn Off Your Phones
Maybe you sit side by side every night on the couch. If your phone is in your hand the entire night, you are missing out on valuable time to connect. Sit together and put the phones away. Ask about your partner’s day and laugh about funny things that happened recently.
Set the Mood
Creating a romantic ambience can help put you both in the mood. Parents, as we all know, are tired. Switch up the routine and give a signal to your spouse that you are interested in a night just about the two of you. Light candles, put on music you both enjoy or light a fire in the fireplace. Making the evening about celebrating you as a couple and forget the exhaustion that being a parent can bring.
Talk about Your Day
When you get home from work, ALWAYS, give your partner a hug and kiss and ask how they are. Not just the casual “how are you?” but truly become interested in hearing how they are doing and getting an initial clue into what their day has been like.
Share Your Struggles
Let your spouse vent to you. It is very challenging to be intimate with someone if you are hiding your true emotions. If you are stressed from family, work, or just life itself, share those struggles with your significant other. They are there for you and will find ways to help you through the tough times. Sharing your true feelings will bring you closer together than ever before.
Learn Something New
I love this because it is something you and your spouse share together that is unique to you. Take a dance class and practice your new moves at home. Enroll in an art class and continue painting together in the comfort of your home and pajamas. The point is that you as a couple aren’t just sitting on the couch every night after the kids go to bed. You bring something new and exciting into the mix giving new life to the relationship.
Anticipate the Needs of Your Spouse
Your spouse may work demanding hours. Perhaps you are taking on extra responsibilities and could use a helping hand. If you know things are going to be moving fast with no breaks, help out when you can. Show that you value your partner’s commitment to their work and interests but being there to help pick up the slack. You are both on the same team and by helping them out, you show just another way that you love them and want them to succeed.
Spice Things Up
Put the flip on some of your normal day to day activities. Slip into the shower when your spouse is already in there. Instead of your normal pajamas, try out some lingerie. Initiate a make out sesh on the couch. Small changes to your day to day can drastically up the romance factor in your relationship.
Boudoir Photo Session
You may be thinking no way, I cannot see myself doing that. But your spouse will love it. Your body is beautiful and amazing. Your partner will be absolutely amazed that you did something so brave and just for them.
Order a Date Night Box
There are many subscription boxes to choose from. Do a little research and find the company that suits you and your partner best. Some subscription boxes are themed and others are activity based. Essentially, you are ordering a date night ready made in a box for you to enjoy at home. This takes the stress of planning and preparing a new activity out of the equation resulting in a fun time for all.