My husband and I have been together for 15 years! We have four kids, two full-time careers, and one mini Schnauzer, which means there's very little free time. But no matter what, we make sure that we have a date night each week. What does this mean? This means we spend intentional time together. We dream big dreams and have long talks about our future. This is what being intentional in your relationship looks like. This is how we strive for an exceptional marriage. Not good, not great — EXCEPTIONAL. So I am sharing some of our best advice for intentional time alone together:
1. Decide that time alone together with your partner is a priority.
Not a "nice to have," but a "need to have" in order to have a successful relationship. Dave and I are adamant about this. We have a set weekly date night and a sitter that's booked for the next several months on that night at that time. We use our time for dinner or drinks or a workout . . . it honestly doesn't matter so long as we're together. Don't have evenings available? Have breakfast dates or lunchtime dates or any-time-you-can dates. Don't have money for a sitter? Trade babysitting time with another family so they can get a date night and so can you!
2. You have to plan for it! You have to.
We have a once-a-week date, and once a quarter, we go away somewhere together, just the two of us. We went to Austin this weekend and we used the time together to talk about, laugh, and plan out our 2018 goals and dreams (when was the last time you and your partner came up with goals and dreams for your family and your marriage?), and it was so much fun! If a weekend away isn't in the budget, how about a single night? If that's not in the budget, what if you put the kids to bed and have a vision board date where you talk and dream together over cheap boxed wine at the kitchen table. It's not lack of resources that keep us from something special — it's lack of resourcefulness.
3. Choose activities that afford conversations!
Go on walks, go on hikes, go to happy hour at some quiet wine bar . . . choose an activity together where you can actually talk. Often people get time together and end up at a movie or a loud bar where they're unable to have a comfortable conversation. The chance to connect without outside distractions is the whole dang point, you guys!
4. Set Your Intentions and tell them to each other.
What do you dream about for yourself for 2018? What do you dream about for your relationship? Think through what the absolute best of the best version looks like for you. Now share it with your partner! Often we have these ideas, but rarely do we actually say the words like . . . the best version of us can't keep our hands off each other and we talk all the time and we go somewhere tropical once a year! If you both share your wishes and dreams together you can work as a team to make sure they happen.
If you treat your relationship like it's always at the beginning, it won't ever have an end.
5.A great date (or weekend away) starts way in advance.
This one is straight from Dave Hollis, and I love him for it. His advice was to make sure they know that feeling in love and sexy on a date starts in the morning with a romantic text or a long kiss or a call to let that person know you can't wait to see them later. Ask yourself how you would react to a date with them if this were your third date. Would you tell them you were excited? Would you put extra effort into how you dress? If you treat your relationship like it's always at the beginning, it won't ever have an end.
6. Make out . . . and by that, we mean have sex.
I'm not totally sure how people feel about this, but we are big fans of sex and we believe that the best version of our marriage is when we're having a lot of it . . . like once a day "a lot." Seriously, you've never met a married couple of parents of four who does it more often. You know why? Because it's really, really good. But here's the deal: our sex life didn't start out as really, really good. In fact, I wrote a whole chapter about it in my next book! It's not simple, but my husband and I talked about what would make our sex life exceptional and embraced it.
I'm Rachel Hollis, a proud working mama with four kids and an ultrahunky husband. I worship coffee like a deity, I read books like my life depends on it, and I think vodka with La Croix is one of the greatest inventions of the last decade. I am an author (my next book, Girl, Wash Your Face, is out Feb. 6), CEO, and motivational speaker. If you like what you read, then you should totally follow and check out my Instagram, where I post all the things in my life!