PhotoCarving out time to focus on the health of your relationship isn’t always easy when there are kids to raise and careers to be managed, but author Tina Albrecht says it’s possible with a little time management.

Albrecht, who is also a mother of three, recommends “dating your mate” to keep the spark alive. The key to staying in love is making time each week to enjoy a few simple and inexpensive dates with your partner, says Albrecht.

But in order for this strategy to be effective, she says both partners must resist the urge to handle other chores or obligations while the date is in progress.

Date ideas

Many years may have passed since your very first dates, but thinking back to how you managed your time on those dates may give you an idea of how to date your spouse.

Albrecht observes, "When you were dating and falling in love with your spouse, did you set up times to meet and have plans for things to do? Did you focus exclusively on what you were doing with him or her … or were you trying to juggle the date, your work, the phone, making a meal, and doing your laundry?"

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Albrecht has a few timely suggestions for dating your mate.

  • Set aside at least one hour a week to talk to your mate alone about the upcoming week, the kids, books you are reading, or anything on your mind.
  • Rub each other's feet while talking about pleasant topics.
  • Watch a TV program you both enjoy. Invoke a "no interruptions" rule.
  • Build in a mid-week snuggle and catch-up session.
  • Designate one night a week as date night.

Keep a journal

She also recommends that couples keep a journal of what works best for them and their schedules. In that journal, make notes about what you did together and jot down what you’re already habitually doing that connects you.

Additionally, couples can boost their level of gratitude by writing every day about what they’re grateful for about their spouse and the experiences they have had together.

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