Ever since we’ve been unjobbing some things have had to wait until we get on more stable financial footing. Edward and I were never getting any time alone because by the time the kids were asleep and the days work done, we fall into bed exhausted. Hiring a baby sitter is out of the question, and all our dates have to be for free. This is a pretty high hurdle to jump but our marriage was seriously suffering from the lack of time together.
We had to come up with some dates on a budget, a very very non-existent budget. Luckily we are both creative people and we managed to figure it out. It’s been three months and our relationship is much better. Here are some of the ideas that have worked for us:
Set Aside Time
Having a regular date night that is scheduled on the calendar is crucial to making sure it actually happens. Look at your schedule and try to figure where to carve out some time even if it’s unconventional, think weeknights, lunch dates, or early mornings.
Because of the unpredictable nature of Edward’s work and the kids sleeping habits it took us a while to figure out what time we could set aside. For us this means Sunday night. We are always home on Sundays, the kids wake up early and therefore fall asleep earlier and we try to make sure Edward gets a nap so he can stay up late.
Set Aside Worries
When it’s date night time, make sure you keep it. It’s easy to keep outside appointments but when it’s an appointment with yourself it can be easy to finish “one more thing.” When it’s date night time, leave the dirty dishes, leave the laundry, pretend you weren’t in the middle of a huge fight and pretend you like each other and are having fun. After a while you aren’t pretending any more.
Do Something Fun
We would love to go out on an official “date” but there are fun things to do together at home as well. The easiest idea and the one we use the most is watching a movie or tv show online. Good sources are redbox (especially with free coupons!), the library, netflix, hulu, you tube, or the network websites (like cbs.com).
Play a game. We have a few board games we like to play and with one deck of cards there are numerous games that can be played. If you can’t think of one, go online and search for new rules.
Listen to music or make music together. We use pandora and you tube to explore new music and videos and then discuss them, or make up our own covers to our favorite songs. Sometimes we pull out the guitar and take turns learning chords.
Cook something yummy. This week Edward made chorizo and I made tortillas to go with it. We were hungry, it was simple food, but the kids weren’t there and we could talk while we worked.
Sit next to each other. If we can’t think of anything else, we sit next to each other and I read a book and he plays a computer game. We never get a chance to sit down for more then 30 seconds at a time so this is very nice time together even when we aren’t interacting.
It may seem hopeless to get time alone when every single date has to be free and you have three kids but we’ve been very pleased with Sunday night date nights and it has certainly helped us remember why we liked each other in the first place. I highly recommend giving it a try!