For a family and relationship to thrive, we need quality time with ourselves, with our children and as a couple. In fact, quality time together is one of the 4 Pillars of a Relationship and one that needs to be in balance with the other demands on our time.
This last year of pandemic has represented a particular challenge for many of us to get this couple time. Kids have been at home far more than usual and the normal support networks (such as school, after school activities, grandparents, playdates etc.) have been strained so they are not operating well.
Ideally we would be having at least a few days a month on our own for some quality adult time and the occasional date night or daytime rendezvous when we are home alone.
Yet we haven’t been home alone or out alone for many months.
As a result we’ve had to get creative and to find a few ways to create this quality time. None of these are ideal – but definitely better than nothing.
Time to Talk
Our daughter is 10 years old and often needs less sleep than we do and we haven’t found a reliable and legal way to get her to sleep earlier than she’s ready for. Simply to find some time to talk has required a change to our normal routines.
We’ve tried various time slots from before she wakes up (but this is not consistent) and in the evenings (but this is also unreliable). Most days we have this time as soon as she starts online school as this was most predictable. 30 minutes to catch up with each other and share what’s going on with us. I love the question, ‘What’s Alive In You?’ as it captures well what we want to tell and hear. Talking to each other may not be sexy but is vital to a healthy relationship.
A few times she has gone to a friend’s home to study together during the day. We then reciprocate to give her friend’s parents a day to themselves. While she’s away we can catch up on extended quality time together. Having a day time ‘date’ proves to be very exciting and connecting.
We have started doing some things together where we might have done it separately before. This might be going shopping together or other chores when before we might have taken turns. It’s mundane but gives us a chance to talk and spend time together.
Weekly ‘Special’ Nights
Every week we have a set day for a family night, a games night (no TV), a father-daughter night, a mother-daughter night and a couple night. This weekly routine has provided some valuable safety in structure and order. And given us at least one night a week where we can do grown up things. Our daughter is still around, of course, so we do not have complete freedom. It is better than nothing though.
We value looking for the positives and the things to be grateful for. So we also know this period, while not ideal for the couple relationship, has bonded our family in ways we were missing before. We spend more time together. We talk more. We play more. We are more involved in each other’s lives. And we are happier together as a family.
How do you take care of couple time during this period of restriction?