How do you fix a troubled relationship or marriage?

*Please note that this is in response to an excellent February 9th piece posted on Today’s Parent by Kate Rae

Keeping a strong marriage requires taking care of ourselves as people. I’ve discovered several ways to do this. The following rituals have helped my husband and I keep a fresh perspective and renew ourselves during our parenting years. We have been married for 38 years and have 3 adult sons.

1. The first was our “date night.” Once a week, always the same night of the week, we had a babysitter come. We were lucky to have the same person, Lisa, come every Thursday night for fifteen years. We saw her grow up, too, over the years, and this has truly been our good fortune. Our sons now refer to her as a “big sister.” The fact that her commitment level has matched our own commitment to spend time together as a couple is not a coincidence.

There are a few boundaries for “date night.” It is not a time to discuss problems, financial shortfalls, or heavy-duty difficult situations, nor is it a time to compare calendars, discuss tasks, or even entertain others. “Date night” is quite simply a time set aside to have fun together. No one else is invited. It’s our time to renew and care for the relationship itself. Play is a key part of this renewal. We like to take long walks together, eat dinner out, talk openly, (...continue reading)