Not too long ago my wife took our recurring date night out of our calendar. Without saying it to my face, she basically told me “date nights are off!”
I was hurt. First, I enjoy dating my wife, which is why we made it important enough to put in our calendars. Second, I offer a Date Night in a Box to help other couples have consistent date nights! How am I not going to be dating my wife??
Why would my wife cancel our date nights?
After we talked about it, I learned she cancelled date night because she felt I wasn’t honoring it by making it a priority like we agreed. I felt I was. The point we differed on was Friday was our day and night. Friday was about spending time together for our date night.
I on the other hand felt Friday night, during the time we blocked off, was our time for that. The rest of the day for me was spent working and having daddy-kid days with one of our kids each week. That right there is a dilemma we all face.
Is this a problem for you too?
Last week I sent out a survey to my email subscribers. I asked them to share their top marriage questions, so I could make sure I covered everything as I’m finishing up the manuscript for my marriage curriculum.
I noticed one of the common themes was how to maintain balance between your spouse, kids, and work. The very same thing that caused conflict between my wife and I, ultimately resulting in date nights being cancelled.
The questions came out in many ways…
- How do I put my wife first?
- How do you make time for each other with multiple kids, work, etc?
- How to invest in your spouse consistently without burning out?
- How do you maintain balance between wife, kids, and work?
- How do you ensure your spouse remains the priority when faced with many unavoidable time and energy drains?
Too much of a good thing?
I was encouraged by the questions. One reason is it seems those who ask the questions know our spouses should be the priority, or our most important relationship. The problem is, our kids are also very important. And work is as well.
As you see from the story of our cancelled date nights, when we are married with kids we have two very good things to choose from constantly. Add work to the mix, which is needed to provide for our families, and the 24 hours we are given each day doesn’t always seem enough.
Good to great
So, how do we do it? How do we balance time between our spouse, our kids, and work. How do we add them up to make them great? Below are 3 things we should do immediately.
- Set and communicate expectations. Our breakdown was we didn’t communicate what we expected. I expected us to be able to spend that allotted time for our date. As long as we both were ready at the appointed time, then we were good. She expected me to be focused on her, on our date, and our relationship, not treating it as an appointment.
- Honor the time and focus. Some of our problem is we just don’t honor the time. We work when we should be spending time with our family. We take breaks from work for our family when we should be knocking out work tasks. All are good things, but when we try the multi-task approach to anything, especially our families and work, it’s not a good thing. Honor the time you scheduled and give your full attention to it.
- Properly prepare. Fridays for me looked like this. Wake up and put in a few hours of solid work. Some Fridays attend my Toastmasters meeting at noon. Finish my remaining work tasks and then head out with one of my kids for daddy-kid day, where we’d hang out and get some french fries or a slice of pizza. Then I’d rush home by 7pm to pick up my wife. I had “appointments” stacked on top of each other and attempted to switch gears immediately. That didn’t work for date night. Instead, preparing earlier in the day would have made the mood much better. And ultimately kept date night on the calendar.
Achieving balance may not be easy, but you can do it
If you are struggling with spending time with your spouse with so many other good things happening in your life, or you just feel out of balance and out of control with your time, do not worry. It is more common than you think, but as you see above there are some things you can do to get better in that area.
Oh yeah, in case you are wondering if our date nights are still on the shelf. No, date nights are back in play. In fact, we’ve had like four dates in the past two weeks. So, they are not only back, but back and strong. We had to adjust, and I’m glad we did.
Enrollment for my Marriage Workshops is now open
I’ll be going deeper into this and answering the other questions (asked in my survey) as part of our marriage workshops starting next week. Enrollment for the workshops is now open for my email subscribers.
I’ve only opened it for my email subscribers. The material won’t be released to the public until February 2016 when the full curriculum is released. If you aren’t already on my list, you can subscribe here, get a free copy of my date night in a box, and then I’ll send you more details about how to enroll.
Don’t wait though, as enrollment closes Tuesday, August 4th, 11:59pm EST.
[reminder]What would you say is the biggest stumbling block when it comes to balancing time with your spouse, kids, and work?[/reminder]