How to romance your spouse on a budget
It is a story we have all hoped to avoid. People meet and date and get married and then.......they settle into a boring old married couple........then they start to grow apart. When the dust settles, there is plenty of blame to go around for the failed relationship. If you add in today's financial struggles, many couples don't feel they can find room in their budget for romance. The alternative though (divorce) is much more expensive than learning to value each other and to be creative in finding ways to spend adult time together. With a little planning and a little thought, any couple can bring back the romance on a budget.
1. CHARITY SILENT AUCTIONS
A lot of times, these auctions will have hotel/motel packages donated to raise money. They are often local businesses, so that takes the cost of gas out of the equation. Depending on the crowd you can usually find very good deals on indulgent packages. I have purchased over night accomodations in a jacuzzi sweet with breakfast included that was regularly priced $149 for just $39. You dont have to go far to be alone, and staying local means less time out seeing the sights and more time alone in your room!
2. STAYING HOME ALONE
Send the kid's to Grandma's. You dont need a special occasion or a reason to want to be alone. Couple's need alone time to recharge and recommit. A man needs to feel that he is a priority sometimes, he needs to be reminded that he is married to a woman and not just a mom. Same for women, sometimes they need to take off the mommy uniform and remember why they married this man. They need to connect with one another as husband and wife, not just co-parents. So send the kid's to a free babysitter, have an adult meal and relax in your own home like you did before the rugrats came along.
3. BACKRUBS/FULL BODY RUBS
These are completely free. Touching one another can be an emotional connection, one that often gets overlooked in the busy rush of raising of kids and working full time jobs. To set aside even 20 minutes for sensual touching can do wonders. You start at the scalp and work your way to the toes, skipping the obvious erogenous zones. You save that for last, making them wait. Couples can switch off on who gives and receives the massages on different nights. You can purchase massage oils and lotions or use what you already have.
4. Dinner 2 for 1's
When you are dating, you might not feel comfortable going to a restaurant that takes a coupon or runs cheap specials. No one should do this if the food is sub standard, but in today's economy it makes perfect sense to take advantage of these offers. Applebee's is a great example of this type of marketing. Their 2 for $20 menu has appetizers, entrees like steak, and even dessert to share. They are not alone in this new dining idea, many restaurants are offering these specials to get people in the door. Something as simple as a meal together away from the kid's on a thursday night can soothe a few frazzled nerves and allow the couple to bond.
5. Decide to get back in shape.
Statistics show that as people age, they tend to put on weight. Some people are lucky, and dont have to worry about it. If you and your spouse are not so lucky, maybe exercising together is the answer. One couple I know take walks around the neighborhood every evening after dinner. When their kids were little, they took them with them in strollers and wagons. Now, 10 years later they walk hand in hand and discuss their day or their dreams or whatever comes to mind.
6. HOUSEHOLD PROJECTS
Yes even the honey-do list can be romantic. Instead of making each chore into work, inject some fun into. When working in the yard, take time for a picnic or a light snack and reward each other with a hot bath for two or a back rub to ease the aching muscles afterward. Clean out the car on a sunny day and steal a few kisses in the back seat.
7. SAY I LOVE YOU
Not just at the end of phone calls or on your way out to work, but any time the urge strikes. Text them during the day, or call them on your lunch hour to say it. Remind them that they are not forgotten. It may seem silly, but that little extra attention that costs nothing is well worth it.
8. PLAN AHEAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS
We all get crazy and stressed sometimes. Endless gift giving we can't afford just adds to the stress. Don't forget to save room in the schedule for your spouse. If you do office and/or family gift exchanges, try to ask for gift cards for a place you both enjoy. Instead of getting a generic gift you could ask for restaurant gift cards, or movie cards or whatever you both enjoy. If you ask for these things from the people who buy you couple gifts, you can stretch them out for inexpensive date nights through out the year. Last year I got six $20 gift cards to a local restaurant that we used for six different adult evenings out. They were much nicer than clothes or perfume or slippers, and everyone who gave them to me was delighted. They asked for suggestions and these were easy to buy for them. It was a win-win.
The main idea here is to take a few minutes to show each other that your relationship has a value all on its own, that it hasn't slipped on the priority list. We as adults tend to put our primary relationship on the back burner as we add kids and jobs and life. We sometimes expect to just pick it back up when the kids are older or when things slow down, but the reality is that often when the kids are grown, spouses will look at each other and see strangers. It is much easier to keep the fire burning than to try and reignite it after years of neglect. While its important to put your children first, its also important to understand that the best thing you can do for your child is to give them a strong foundation in the home. People who can be a strong couple independent of their roles as parents can be better parents and better spouses. Armed with this knowledge, I have vowed to never take my husband for granted. I am lucky to still feel the tingle when I look at him, even after 20 years of marriage and three kids. That is priceless.