My husband and I never have time to talk. I’m busy with the kids and he is at work all day. I feel like I don’t know him anymore. How can we stay close when our schedules are so different?

Barbara: The best way we have found to stay close in spite of busy schedules is to plan a regular date night. When the children were living at home, they knew that every Sunday night Mom and Dad were going out. During our dates, we spend the whole evening together; we go out for dinner and we talk about all kinds of different things. Sometimes we pull out our calendars and plan for the week or work on upcoming vacations. We talk about our relationship and when we were still raising our kids, we would talk about issues with them. It is our weekly touch point with each other. Even though we talk during the week, that is my favorite time to spend with Dennis. It is a consistent basis for relationship building.

Dennis: I honestly do not know how a couple survives today without having regular time together. Frankly, with all the busyness in our lives, if Barbara and I did not have this touch point, our marriage could easily turn into two successful people performing individually but not really sharing life. That is not what I want; that is not what Barbara wants. We want to be partners in all of life. That means we have got to set aside some chunks of time, regularly, to meet each other and really deal with the nitty-gritty.

Barbara: A number of years ago when our children were little I struggled to find babysitters. As a result, we were never able to have a very consistent weekly date night in those years when our kids were young. However, we did have time together on a regular basis, because the children were all in bed no later than 8:30. We used that time in the evening to focus on each other.

Dennis: When we couldn’t get a babysitter, sometimes we would put the kids to bed early with a book and tell them that they were not to come out. I would set up a table someplace other than the kitchen. Maybe we would work together to prepare the food. Then we would sit down and eat in a more restaurant-like atmosphere.

Barbara: That worked really well for us, because it eliminated leaving home, getting a babysitter, and those kinds of things that sometimes get in the way of maintaining that relationship.


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