As a parent it’s hard enough to find time for sleep, not to mention time for dinners, dates, romantic getaways, or even intimacy with your partner. Although it’s a challenge, taking care of adult relationships is a true gift for you and your children.

With approximately 50% of marriages ending in divorce, it’s important to step back and seriously think about how you can stay connected and in love. All too often people say that they just can’t make time for romance when they’re tired, stressed, or feel unattractive.

All relationships have their ups and downs, but there are things you can do to keep romance alive. Here are some ideas that have worked for other couples:

  • Make a date and put it in your planner like other appointments. If you don’t do this, the responsibilities of daily living and the needs of your active children will overshadow the importance of alone time with your partner.
  • Arrange to have your children go to a friend’s or relative’s home so you can be at home alone with your partner. You can do this on the weekend during the day when you won’t be too tired. One way to afford this is to find a friend who has children and trade off weekly, watching each other’s children for a few hours. You’ll get free babysitting twice a month.
  • Send an e-mail message or leave a voice message and tell your partner how much you miss him, and that you’re looking forward to your date.
  • When together, spend some time listening and talking to each other. Don’t spend all of your time talking about the kids or the need to get the car fixed.
  • If you’re not in the mood for sex, try giving each other a back rub or foot rub. Sometimes it’s intimacy that you crave.
  • If you take care of yourself, you’ll be more likely to feel romantic. Think about what makes you feel good, and prioritize time for sleep, exercise, or going shopping for something new.
  • Kiss your loved one hello when you’ve been apart, even after a hard day at work or with the kids. Give your partner positive feedback and regard like, “Honey, thank you for such a delicious breakfast and for letting me sleep in.”

The emotional health of your family depends in part on how you balance your needs with the needs of your children. Increasing the romantic times with your partner is good for all of you.

Valentine’s Day is one day of the year to say “I love you”, but your partner will be grateful when you make an effort to connect all year round.

By Rona Renner, RN. Nurse Rona is the host of Childhood Matters radio show, a nurse for 45 years, a temperament specialist, a parent educator, and mother of four. To hear previous shows, go to www.childhoodmatters.org, and tune in Sundays 7-8AM on 98.1 KISSFM. She is also available to do Yelling Less and Temperament consultations and workshops at your home, school, or mother’s group.