I realize that jobs and kids and chores and personal care can all take away from this important task, but I think if you approach it as "quality over quantity," you'll accomplish the job.
Guest blogger, Tricia Borren, makes some suggestions in her post, below, but they might not be practical, affordable, or even desirable for some of you. We all have different ideas about what is "special." Sometimes just a couple hours alone with your partner taking a drive, having a picnic, or grabbing a soup and salad are all that are required.
This should be time to really talk - about your hopes and dreams, your concerns and frustrations, what's working for you (both individually and as a couple), and what's not. It's a time for uninterrupted SHARING of your time and attention with your partner.
I suggest doing this once a week, if at all possible. Have a "date night." If cost is a factor, maybe you and another couple could trade babysitting nights - you have their kids on Tuesday, and they take yours for your Thursday date nights. And remember, quality does not have to be expensive. A long walk or a burger and beer are fine, as long as you are PRESENT for each other.
And, for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, you might want to try some of Tricia's ideas:
Schedule a Babysitter
Before you can run off into the sunset, you must first take care of the kids. One helpful tip would be to hire someone to watch the kids for the evening. Be sure to make arrangements in advance in order to avoid any last minute disasters. It would also be wise to ask a friend or family member. This will allow more time away from home.
A Fancy Restaurant
Home-cooked meals are fine, but there are times when we need someone else to do the work. Both you and your partner can appreciate a dinner where neither has to do the cooking or cleaning. Make reservations at a nice restaurant. Because these moments are so rare, try to splurge a bit on the locations and meal selection. It will be a real treat for you and your partner.
A Nice Hotel
After such a romantic escape, it may be difficult to end it so quickly. Instead, the two of you can hide away at a lovely hotel for the night. Order champagne and flowers to create the right atmosphere. Request an in-room massage for the ultimate in relaxation and pampering. You may also want room service, in case you work up an appetite.
After giving so much for your children, it is natural to want to do something for yourself. Every parent could benefit from some adult time every once in a while. In fact, a little spontaneity could be good for your relationship. Use this night to rediscover the reasons why you first fell in love. Of course, this will take serious planning. However, if it brings you closer as a couple, then it will be worth the effort.