One hour to becoming a better spouse and parent.

One hour to becoming a better spouse and parent.

We all know the importance of good habits. As we head back in to the school year, it’s not uncommon for parents to begin helping their children by establishing schedules that include things like regular homework time or a routine bedtime.

However, the start of the school year can be a great time for parents to re-examine their own schedules and routines as well. One area that can be particularly helpful for many couples is to establish some routines or habits around spending time together.

As the school year ramps up and schedules get busier, time with our spouse is often one of the first things to get thrown by the wayside. However, it is impossible to understate the importance of spending time together. Especially when things are getting busy around the house.

Here are 4 simple ways that some of the couples we have worked with have found time in their busy schedules to invest in each other:

  • Set aside some time for just the two of you to talk and reconnect in the evening. One couple that I worked with began a tradition of sharing a cup of coffee together every night after dinner. The coffee was a signal not just to each other, but to their kids as well. Their children knew that they were not allowed to interrupt mom and dad until after they got up from the kitchen table.
  • Set aside some time in the morning. Another couple I worked with decided that mornings worked out better for them. They intentionally got up early one day a week so they could have a quiet breakfast together before their children got up for school.
  • Schedule a date night. Even if its only once a month. When couples talk about rekindling the flame, they often talk about taking a trip together. Don’t get me wrong, trips are great. But there’s something special about making time for each other on a regular basis in the midst of daily life. Good experiences on a trip can sometimes exist “out there” like an anomaly to “regular life” where things might seem dull and routine. Scheduling a regular date night has a way of making the rest of the week or month more enjoyable in a way that special trips can’t do.
  • Be intentional with your weekends. Maybe you can set aside an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday morning to commit to each other. Whether its breakfast in bed away from the kids or a walk through the neighborhood, setting aside some time on weekends can be a great way to reconnect with your spouse before or after a busy week.

It may seem counter-intuitive to some parents to set aside time to specifically NOT focus on their children. However, I think legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden hit the nail on the head when he said, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” By setting aside time to spend with your spouse, you are not just investing in each other. You are investing in your entire family.

What is ONE THING that you and your spouse could do together on a regular basis to invest in your relationship?

Eric McClerren, MS, CIT
Emcclerren @ growcounseling.com

Photo Credit: Public Domain

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