If you’re struggling with marriage problems, one step toward a solution might be simpler than you think: schedule a date night. This recommendation is often given to couples with kids. After all, it can be hard to keep the romance alive when you’re dealing with the demands of children. But even couples without children have a host of responsibilities competing for their attention. As a Portland relationship counselor, I can tell you from experience that date night is important for everyone. You need to make time for your relationship, just like you did when you first got together.

Forget Marriage Problems for A Few Hours and Enjoy Each Other

The goal of a date night isn’t to plan your finances or discuss who gets control of the remote. It’s to spend time together. By sharing and talking about an experience, you’ll be working on your communication skills, and the feeling of connection you build will help to keep your feelings alive. Even knowing that, it can be easy to put it off. As a Portland relationship counselor, I’ve heard every excuse in the book, but there are always ways around them.

We don’t have time.
You probably already set aside time for other important activities, such as exercise and paying bills, so why not do it for date night? Keeping your relationship healthy and avoiding marriage problems is a priority too. Schedule it like any other appointment and honor the commitment. Having trouble finding a time that works for both of you? Meet up during your lunch break or put the kids to bed early and focus on time together rather than getting chores done.

We don’t have money.
Times are tough. You have a mortgage, bills, and you’re saving for your child’s education. That’s alright! Date night doesn’t need to be pricy and add to marriage problems and stresses. Take a walk in the park and find a cozy spot to enjoy the stars. Or order pizza, open a bottle of wine, and cuddle on the couch to watch a movie. Another simple, romantic evening: take a bath together. Turn off the lights and use scented candles to set the mood.

We don’t have a babysitter.
Maybe you can’t afford to pay for child care and don’t have family in the area. Here’s the thing: many other couples have the same problem. Team up! Take turns babysitting each other’s children so the other couple can have a night off. Ask co-workers. Post on social networks. You’ll be sure to find someone to help.

Remember, these excuses get in the way of maintaining your relationship, so find a way to make date night work for you. Need more help? Make an appointment with this Portland relationship counselor to work on your marriage problems.