8 Steps to a Happier Family Life
Don't Stress About Date Night
You know that you need to make time for your spouse. (Focusing on the kids instead of each other is a major reason that many couples grow apart.) But babysitters cost money, and who can stay awake after 10 P.M.? Here's some good news: Sitting on the couch together is probably more important. You need ways to connect with each other that don't take a lot of effort or time; try sending a loving text (not "Bring home milk") or talking at the dinner table for 10 minutes after the kids have finished. "A grand gesture, date night included, isn't going to work very well if you don't have these smaller moments throughout the week," says Vagdevi Meunier, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and an associate professor of counseling at St. Edward's University, in Austin, Texas. And you don't even have to talk. "There is value in just being in the presence of another person," says Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist in New York City. "Don't make time together contrived or you'll resent it. There's something healing in reading a book or surfing the Internet in the same room."