Post written by dates and romance columnist Sean Marshall of Family Rocketship.

A while back, my cousin approached my wife Heidi and me looking a little perturbed. He recently had a discussion with his parents and their input left him feeling a bit sour.
He asked us the same question he approached his parents with, “If you absolutely had to choose between the two, who comes first, your spouse or your kids?”
With very little hesitation Heidi and I both replied, “your spouse”.
My cousin acted as if he couldn’t believe his ears. This was obviously the same answer he received from his parents and it really bothered him.
We tried to explain our rationale but we could tell nothing was going to satisfy him and that was that.

Kids vs. Husband & Wife

So who is right?
Were we way off?
Should kids come first in a marriage?
It seems many times that’s exactly what happens.
The answer lies in the famous nursery rhyme, “…first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage”.
That lays it out perfectly! The family begins when the first baby joins the couple. But it needs to be built on the solid foundation of love and marriage first.
What kids need most are parents who love and respect each other and can lead their family with love. They need parents who are willing to work at their marriage to keep it strong.
One of the best ways I know to keep a marriage strong is to make time for each other. And nothing works better than quality dating!

Easier Said Than Done

With today’s active lifestyle, it seems it’s easier than ever to get caught up in the soccer practices, gymnastics, and art lessons.
Sometimes it’s hard enough even just to remember that you need to go on a date!
Then there’s the issue of getting a babysitter. If your kids are young, they’re going to need one and babysitters these days aren’t cheap. Based on how long you’re gone, it can add another $50 or more to your date night.
We all know going on frequent dates with our spouse is a prerequisite for a strong and healthy marriage.

So what’s the solution?

First, you need to evaluate how many dates you can and want to go on. Set a realistic number. If it’s been a while, start with one date a month minimum.
The next thing is to figure out what you’d like to do and plan it.
Not sure where to start?
Try searching this site! Simple Marriage is full of great ideas to kick-start your romantic date night.
Next, if your kids are still young, you need to find a babysitter. Don’t have the extra cash (or desire) to pay a babysitter? Try starting a kid swap with neighbors or friends. This works great. Since we’ve had our girls, our oldest being 6 years old, we’ve actually paid for a babysitter maybe 3 or 4 times. Don’t use the babysitter as an excuse!
Finally, go on your date! Take a moment to be grateful that you’re free to do whatever you want – just the two of you! Focus on being mindful throughout the night and enjoy each other’s company.
This all may sound very basic but it’s so desperately needed to maintain a vibrant marriage.
The bottom line, don’t use kids as an excuse not to spend time together.
Go on dates.
Often.
Love each other and create a marriage that rocks!
If you have kids, what’s your secret for getting out on date nights?
 

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