Gone are the days of lazy picnics in the park and gazing into one another’s eyes over a table you booked weeks in advance. You might escape the house once in a blue moon for a quick dinner washed down with a fancy bottle of wine you’re too afraid to ask the price of, but it’s not something you make regular time for.
There are days when you see neither hide nor hair of one another thanks to a revolving door of meetings and appointments. This lack of meaningful time together inevitably results in petty squabbles and growing resentment, leaving you both feeling unappreciated.
You’d love to find more time for your relationship and enjoy intimate date nights, but you already feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day! So, how do you find time for your partner when you’re both busy?
You first need to understand why togetherness is so crucial for the health and happiness of your partnership.
Why do couples need to make time for one another?
It’s not enough to exist in the same space, orbiting one another and hiding behind work or social media scrolling when the conversation runs dry.
Spending quality time together as a couple is just as important for your relationship as increasing intimacy or communicating effectively – but it’s often the first thing that falls by the wayside when life gets in the way. And so, you end up existing in two self-contained worlds doomed to play out the same old arguments over and over again.
In making a conscious effort to grow and experience life together in full technicolour, you’ll sustain a far healthier relationship that neither of you will take for granted.
How can we find more time for our relationship?
Making time for your partner is as important as brushing your teeth or having a shower. These are things you do every single day – no matter how busy your schedule – because you recognise their value. What would happen if you didn’t brush your teeth because you’d had a long day? You’d feel odd, right?
Place as much value on your relationship as your pearly whites and fresh pits by making time together non-negotiable. Make appointments in your diary and block out your calendar if that helps!
Reimagine your daily routines
The key to finding more hours in the day to spend with your partner? Look at your daily routines and find those sneaky little pockets of time that pass you by.
If you’re used to silently scrolling before bed, for example, you could agree to ban technology from the bedroom so you can lay next to one another and catch up before lights out. Partial to a slow start at the weekend? Swap mindless Sunday mornings for a wholesome cuppa and crossword session beneath the sheets.
If you’re accustomed to TV dinners with trays on laps, you could agree to eat at the table a couple of times a week – no telephones, no television – so you can talk face-to-face. Both working from home? Swap breaks at your desk for biscuits and a brew at the kitchen table.
Create rituals and traditions that make the most of these pockets of time, and you’ll find there are far more hours in a day than you first thought!
Explore challenges with a relationship therapist
Find your way back to one another with relationship therapy sessions. I’ve helped countless couples to create long-lasting change in their relationships.
Investing in couples counselling demonstrates just how much value you place on being together. I’ll help you to understand your different communication styles, repurpose those sneaky pockets of time, and address the various mental blocks that stand in your way.
By the end of our sessions, my clients experience a total shift in energy which often results in more communication, more laughter, more ease, and fewer arguments!
Start dating again
Take turns organising a weekly date, even if it’s just half an hour here and there. These dates don’t have to be Instagram-worthy or expensive. There are plenty of ways to elevate everyday moments, and the perfect date very much depends on your personal preferences.
I’ve curated a selection of creative date ideas to get you started – 4 for couples who find themselves in an especially busy season of life and 4 for couples who have more of an open schedule. You can thank me later!
4 Fun Date Ideas for Playful Couples
Who Want to Make Memories
- Try the At-Home Date Night Challenge
The At-Home Date Night Challenge, made popular on social media, sees couples search the supermarket for thoughtful gifts to create the perfect at-home date night.
These gifts must fit several categories. Categories can include:
- Their favourite drink
- Their favourite snack
- Something cosy
- Something that reminds you of them
- Something to do together
As each topic is announced, each person places the corresponding item on the table in front of them until they’re left with the ingredients for the perfect night in. This is a fun date idea for couples looking to celebrate how well they both know one another.
Kill two birds with one stone and select the items whilst you do your weekly food shop!
- Embrace your creative interests with a fun shared activity
Open a bottle of wine, crack out some fancy nibbles, and spend a fun-filled evening attempting a creative activity based on your interests.
Always had an eye for art? Set up canvases and paints and follow a classic Bob Ross painting tutorial. If you don’t see yourselves as the next Picasso, you could try your hands at a make-your-own craft kit instead – from crystal-making to clay-baking, needle felting to tie-dyeing. The more interesting the results, the better!
If you fancy yourselves as the next Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, spend an evening poring over a fictional unsolved murder mystery case file. Nothing says romance like figuring out whodunnit!
Have all those years of watching Strictly Come Dancing rubbed off on the two of you? Create a makeshift dance floor and dance the night away – rhythm optional! Search Youtube for fun, follow-along tutorials or attend a local class.
- Be tourists in your hometown
You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a memorable date. Spend the day being tourists in your hometown, stopping at local landmarks and shops you’ve walked past for years.
If you share a love of the great outdoors, you could explore nearby running routes or buff up on your local history with a guided walking tour.
Check out local listings to see what’s on that evening – theatre shows, comedy nights, concerts – and book tickets for an event that takes your fancy.
- Enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane
Throwback to the early days of your relationship and recreate a memorable date.
Capture the magic of those halcyon days by revisiting the place you fell in love. You could even wear an outfit inspired by your style back then or order the same meal you ate all those years ago. Share stories and talk about your first impressions of one another.
Alternatively, you could stay home and finally fill those cobweb-covered albums with your old photographs and sentimental keepsakes. Talk about your most treasured memories as you go.
4 Simple Date Ideas for Busy Couples Who Want to Elevate the Everyday
- Take care of dinner
The most thoughtful and effective date ideas are often the simplest.
Partner had a long day? Pick up a quick, comforting meal for two on your way home and earn extra brownie points by picking up their favourite dessert too!
Dinner always on the table the minute you get through the door? Think of other ways you could be of service. For example, you could wash the dinner dishes, pop your work clothes in the washing machine, or set the table.
- Work through the 36 Questions to Fall In Love
Dates can be as simple as holding intimate discussions about your life together over a delicious meal, during a long drive or even across a quiet afternoon.
The 36 Questions to Fall In Love questionnaire came from a study that explored whether intimacy could be encouraged between strangers by having them answer a specific series of personal questions. The questions included: ‘What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day to you?’ and ‘What roles do love and affection play in your life?’.
You could try the questionnaire for yourselves or pen your own personal questions to ask one another. Write them down on individual scraps of paper, keep them safe in a jar and pick one out every now and then.
- Tackle everyday errands and house projects as a team
We’ve all got that never-ending list of house projects, life admin and errands to run that can sometimes simmer to the surface during little squabbles.
Dust off your overalls and tackle those pesky DIY projects you already have all of the stuff for. Accomplishing tasks as a team releases endorphins and encourages you to reflect on the sanctity of your shared space and the life you’ve built together.
- Stock up the freezer with delicious meals you’ve both had a hand in preparing.
- Refurb a piece of furniture you bought many years ago and give it a new lease of life.
- Run errands together in town before stopping off for a well-deserved coffee.
- Fix all the things that bug you both the most. Spray WD40 on the noisy door hinge that always wakes your partner up when you leave for work!
- Embrace your inner Titchmarsh and enjoy some green-fingered fun in the garden. My husband and I recently landscaped our garden and lived to tell the tale!
There’s nothing quite like making your house a home to remind you of everything you’ve accomplished together.
- Host an at-home picnic
Turn your TV dinner into a romantic indoor picnic. Create the perfect ambience with soft cushions, mood lighting and a playlist of your favourite songs. Feeling fruity? Enjoy chocolate-dipped strawberries with a bottle of bubbly in the bath instead.
Much more of a traditionalist? Pack up your picnic basket, drive to your favourite spot and polish off a sumptuous spread that even the Famous Five would be proud of. Don’t let a bit of dodgy weather ruin your picnic plans. Who needs afternoon tea at The Ritz or fresh seafood at a beachfront table for two when you could be eating piping hot, paper-swaddled chips from the comfort of the car!
Spontaneous mid-week breakfasts and lunches can be a great way to bridge the gap and they needn’t be luxurious or lengthy. If your afternoons are fully-booked and you’ve only got half an hour to spare once you’ve got the kids off to school or before your meetings begin, hop back under the sheets and treat yourselves to a late breakfast picnic in bed.
Making room for your relationship isn’t about sacking off your responsibilities or splashing the cash on expensive outings. It’s all about making the most of those sneaky pockets of time so you can remind yourselves why you fell in love in the first place!