Every tired parent has been there — you’re mentally exhausted, the house is a mess, and the last thing you have the energy for is a real conversation. Unfortunately, for parents of young kiddos, this is a common scenario. Between work, household duties, and taking care of the kids, it seems to be your relationship that’s left on hold. You go on dates every time the moon turns blue, and quality time together is a real roll of the dice.

This is the norm for military families with young kids. Not having a support system nearby only adds to the situation. It can feel like a burden — if not an impossibility — to get a trustworthy babysitter so that you can have some time away. But even if the stars do align, you still have to plan a place to go and muster up enough energy to have a good time. Of course, not every day will feel that difficult to plan a date, but on some days, it will.

However, making time away for you and your spouse is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship. Quality time together can induce happiness, renew your affection for one another, and provide a much needed break from the daily stress. 

Help keep the spark alive by:

  1. Making Quality Time Together

Some days this means a fancy date, but others it might mean a shared candy bar after everyone is in bed. Whatever time you can plan with just your partner, make it count. Put down the phones and have a real conversation. This doesn’t have to be a daily event — and might not be able to take place daily — but can bring some much needed bright spots to your relationship that otherwise focuses on your kids. 

  1. Leave Surprises

Happy notes, small trinkets, even Easter Eggs that remind the other of an inside joke. Sweet text messages can even brighten your loved one’s day. Take a few moments of your time to leave a nice surprise for your spouse. They’ll likely be inclined to do the same. Besides, it’s nice to not only get the surprise but to know your loved one was thinking of you. 

  1. Make the Effort to Go Out

Having a date night out might be an event that’s few and far between. But when you do get the opportunity, make it happen. Dates don’t have to be fancy or expensive, they just need to focus on you and your spouse. Get out of the house so you won’t be distracted by chores or things to do at home, but instead, go somewhere you both love. Or get adventurous and try something new! 

  1. Find a New Style of Romance

Anyone who has young kids at home knows that romance isn’t what it once was. It’s not all about glitz and glam and spending time doing fancy things. It’s showing the other that you care when you get the chance. That might be a minute here and there in between naps and snacks — as parents, you find the time to make it work and create a new normal that encompasses high-quality moments in low-quality timelines. 

  1. Do Things as a Family

Sure, going out with the kids isn’t the most romantic date you’ve ever heard of, but doing things as a family can bring feelings of endearment for all — including your spouse and the kids. Show your family that everyone can be involved in family fun, and that it’s a fun way to spend the day together, enjoying one another’s company. 

Having kids can certainly be busy, but that’s no reason to let the spark die between you and your partner. What are your favorite ways to keep the romance alive, even with young kids in the mix? Tell us below.