Me and Joshua on our date day

Summer was great- we went on really fun family trips like snorkeling, white water rafting, visiting friends, river walks and some camping.  Now that the kids are back in school, I found myself feeling like I had not connected with my husband in months!  I was eager to have an uninterrupted conversation; to move beyond managing a home and to actually BE together and nourish our relationship.

So, yesterday Joshua and I took the morning off while the kids were at school and went to the beach.  The ability to be together without having to carve out space for a conversation between our children’s questions/comments and requests was such a pleasure. We swam in the sea, sat by the water and had a drink and warmed ourselves in the sun. Just the two of us…ahhh!

When was the last time you did this?

Life can be hectic, especially hectic as a parent of a child with autism.  Your schedule is full of special food to prepare, therapies to run to, managing your program, work and helping your child develop skills that come naturally to other kids- who has time for your spouse??

Here’s the thing: neglecting a relationship takes a toll.  If you let a lack of communication or time together (just the two of you) go for too long- a distance can be created and it might be challenging to bridge that gap.

If tended to, your relationship can be one that nurtures, supports and encourages you.

BUT, if you don’t prioritize it- no one will.

Here are 6 simple ways to make time for your relationship:

Intention: Create closeness with your partner (if you are a single parent, you can do this with a close friend or family member)
1.Schedule a date at least once every 2 weeks for a minimum of 2 hours (I’m telling you now- if you don’t schedule it- it won’t happen.  My date day? Every Friday morning). If you are already doing that- move up to once a week.
2. Be present. On your date-only answer the phone if your babysitter calls-otherwise focus on each other; no cell phones/iPads, etc.
3. Do something that you enjoy doing together: eating out, going for a walk/hike or having coffee.
4.Focus on making eye contact with your partner to create intimacy and focus (so rule out movies or watching TV together!).
5. Limit the amount of time you talk about the kids (this is not a time to create schedules, plan therapies or discuss behavioral issues- instead focus on funny things they said or achievements they have made).
6. Focus on gratitude.  This is a great time to give gratitude for all that the other person does and for who they are in your life.

Now some of you might be saying “Date night- another thing to add to my list of things to do!”.

Remember- this is not a marathon.  This is your life.
This is an invitation to prioritize nurturing yourself and the relationships that are important to you.  Everyone will benefit from it- including your special child (and all your other children too!)

Everyone gains from more love and harmony in the home- so when’s the next date night?