Taking time together as a couple is so important, however. It feeds our whole family, really. So we've had to become more creative in finding ways to spend time together. Going out in the evening is great and we still do it when we can - but we've come to really enjoy our "day dates."
The lunch date
On days that all the kids are covered in school and preschool, we've taken several opportunities to have lunch together. While it's tricky with work demands, scheduling time to have lunch together into our office calendars actually makes the lunch more likely to happen. And when work is really, really busy? Lunch dates are even better. Seeing a friendly - no, loving - face amid the craziness seems to make the rest of it manageable.
I know we are not the only ones who do this. At the restaurants we go to for these lunch dates we usually see at least one other romantically involved couple, and other friends have commented that they have started lunch dates, too.
Lunch dates also feel like less pressure in a way. Because the time is short, we know the point is just to be together and reconnect. There's less worrying, at least for me, on whether the meal is good or whatever - some of our best lunch dates have been in real dives. It's very high quality time for very low cost, typically.
The all-day date
Once or twice a year, my husband and I take a day off from work and spend the whole day together. This started as a way to get some household projects done, and has evolved into a hybrid kind of a day: a little bit of project doing, a nice lunch out, a walk on the beach or in some conservation lands, then maybe a little more project doing.
We never tell the kids in advance that these days are going to happen - and sometimes don't mention it after the fact, either. It's like our little secret day together. If the kids knew, not only might they get jealous, but at least one of the kids might plot to somehow join us, and that is not the point at all. And while these days are even trickier to schedule, we enjoy them so much we have made them a priority.
Keep it regular
No matter what you do to spend time with your sweetie, whether day or evening, it's most important to just do it. A strong relationship is the foundation of a strong family. Making the time, on a regular basis, to be alone together is good for everyone.