Why You Need to Prioritize Your Marriage (and How)

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Ask anyone who has been married as long as I have, and they will tell you it hasn’t always been easy. And, if they tell you otherwise, they are lying. Marriage is hard, but a strong marriage is worth all the hard work it takes to get it there.

If you and your spouse and both working, you have to learn to balance your relationship with your work life and schedule. If you are parents, you have to learn how to keep prioritizing your marriage when little people are demanding so much of your attention all the time. Between work and kids, if I didn’t prioritize my marriage, it would be easy to let it fall apart. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened.

Whether you are newly married or have been married for decades, the following tips for how to prioritize your marriage may be just what you need to remember why you two got married in the first place.

Date (and Date Some More!)

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Remember when you were first dating, and you could not wait for date night? Do you remember how much effort you put into picking out your outfit and getting ready? After you’ve been married for a while, it is possible to let date nights fall to the wayside – especially if you are busy and have children.

Don’t let this happen! Book a babysitter, get dressed up and go somewhere special! And, if you can’t find or afford a babysitter, go for a lunch date while the kids are in school!

Travel Together

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If you have been following me, you know I believe it is important to travel kid-free with your spouse. This is such a good way to reconnect with one another without the usual distractions.

Don’t Act Like Roommates

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After living together for a lengthy amount of time, you may find yourself acting like roommates instead of spouses. If you seem just to be passing each other on your way in and out the day, it’s time to make a change. Instead, try to identify the behaviors that are more like roommates than husband and wife (see Are You a Roommate or a Spouse Checklist) and then look for ways to reconnect.

Embrace Couple Rituals

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Whether you realize it or not, the smallest rituals can make the biggest difference in a marriage. For example, make it part of your daily ritual to give your spouse a kiss when you get home from work or make a point to discuss your day before you go to sleep.

Find a Hobby You Can Do Together

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A great way to reconnect with your spouse is to embrace a new hobby together. In most relationships, the husband and wife have separate hobbies. But, when they have a unified hobby, it provides a wonderful way to spend time together doing something you both enjoy.

Don’t Check Out – Check In!

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Finally, marriages depend on each spouse being emotionally invested. The best way to stay emotionally invested is to keep checking in. Instead of checking out of the emotional day-to-day of your spouse’s life, check in. For instance, throughout the day, send texts or DMs to one another rather than checking out and talking less and less. Not only will this help you stay connected to one another, but it will also let your spouse know you are thinking of him when you are apart.

7 Things Your Man Actually Wants This Valentine’s Day

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Let’s be honest, ladies. Valentine’s Day is really for us. Most men will claim they don’t even want anything at all for Valentine’s Day. But, since Valentine’s Day is the quintessential couples’ holiday, it just feels wrong not to give the man you love something special.

Ultimately, your guy just wants you to show that you love him. How you choose to show him that he still makes your heart beat fast is all up to you, but you can’t go wrong with any of these 7 gifts.

A Day Off

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All men want a day off from everything and everyone now and then. As adults, it is harder than ever to get away from it all. If your man is always busy at work and then coming home to complete a honey-do list around the house, give a coupon for a day off. It will show him you love him and appreciate how hard he works.

A Good Meal Cooked by You

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A fancy dinner out is always nice, but most men will be just as happy (maybe even more so) with a home cooked meal. Choose to cook his favorite dishes or order a meal kit from Hello Fresh.

Beer, Wine, Whiskey

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A man will never scoff at his lady gifting him his favorite spirit. Just be sure you splurge on something nicer than what he normally buys. He will be impressed with your knowledge of his tastes and your willingness to spoil him.

Tickets to a Sports Game or Comedy Show

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Look for tickets to an upcoming show that he will love – even if it doesn’t take place on Valentine’s Day. Giving him tickets to see his favorite team play or hear his favorite comedian live will be an experience he will never forget.

His Favorite Sweet Treat

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A way to a man’s heart is his belly – even in small doses. Your man will know you love him if you give him his favorite sweet treat such as baking his favorite cake or showing up with doughnuts from his favorite shop.

A Love Letter

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Women are often the ones on the receiving end of love letters, but men love them just as much. Your husband will be overcome with emotion as he receives a beautifully written love letter from his wife. Take time to be sure your letter is full of compliments, affirmations, and funny inside jokes. It will be a gift he never throws away and rereads year after year.

S-E-X

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Come on, you know I had to say it. What your man wants the most is some alone time with you in between the sheets! Honestly, you don’t even have to give him a gift if you turn up the heat in the bedroom.

So, ladies, what do you plan to give your man this Valentine’s Day? Is there a gift you have given your husband that he loved? Let me know in the comments.

10 Festive Christmas Dates for Couples in New York City

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During the busy holiday season, I think it is super important to spend time with my husband. It is too easy to get caught up in all the holiday busyness and stuff with my girls before I realize I haven’t had any good quality time with my man. Plus, the holiday season is romantic – why not take advantage of the added twinkling lights this time of year? I’ve gathered up ten wonderful Christmas date ideas for couples in NYC that will have you hunting for places to kiss under the mistletoe.

Go Ice Skating

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There are several places to go ice skating in New York, but my favorite place to go ice skating this time of year is The Rink at Rockefeller Center below the giant Christmas tree. Yes, it is a tourist trap, but that just means it is perfect for people-watching!

Shop Til You Drop

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Christmas means shopping. Why not turn one of your favorite activities into a date with the one you love? You both have to buy gifts for the people in your life, so enjoy spending time together while you check off your lists.

Marvel at the Holiday Window Displays

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If your man claims he hates shopping, then take him window shopping instead. Trust me – this is a date you both will love. The holiday window displays at New York City stores is something to see. Take your time to hold hands through the city streets and talk about which holiday window displays are your favorites.

Watch a Broadway Show

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For theater-lovers, there is always a show to see in NYC. These make some of the best date nights because you get to experience it together.

Enjoy Holiday Menus at Restaurants

Dinner dates are always my favorite types of dates, but I love them, even more, come Christmas time. Why? Well, many restaurants in New York City rollout special holiday menus so you and your date can try new dishes and holiday-themed drinks.

Cheer at a Basketball Game

If you are a basketball fan, a date to cheer on the New York Knicks is a must. While the weather outside is frigid, the atmosphere in the arena is on fire!

Play Like a Kid at FAO Schwartz

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Yes, you are a grown up. But, I promise you, something amazing happens to adults when they visit FAO Schwartz! You become a kid again! Let go of some of your holiday stress by trying out toys with your guy and shopping for the little people in your life.

Tour Dyker Heights

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

For a truly festive date, take a tour of the Christmas lights in the affluent Dyker Heights neighborhood. This neighborhood goes all out with illuminating their homes – some even hire professional light decorators! If you want to do it right, take the Slice of Brooklyn Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tour.

Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art

During the Christmas season, the Metropolitan Museum of Art adds some festive art to the museum. For those who love to explore museums for date night, this one is a must. In addition to beautiful Christmas trees, you will also see an eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene.

Take a Carriage Ride in Central Park

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Those of you looking for romance straight from the tv screen, look no further than the carriage rides offered in Central Park. Cuddle under a warm blanket, drink a hot beverage, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city during this special time of year.

Why You Should Take a Vacation Without Your Kids At Least Once a Year

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I’m here today to give you permission to do something that might feel a little crazy. Moms, you need to take a vacation. And not just any vacation. You need to take a kid-free vacation at least once a year.

I’ve heard the excuses. You are too busy. It just isn’t possible to find childcare. You would feel guilty. Enough with the excuses! I’m not saying you have to go somewhere for an entire week or spend a ton of money. But hey, if you can pull that off, go right ahead and don’t feel guilty.

Your kids will survive without you for a couple of days. Plus, you will come back refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to do all the mom stuff without complaint. Think about it. Don’t you always feel a little bit better when you get some downtime? Now just imagine if that downtime was more than fifteen minutes of privacy in your bathroom. You’d be the best mom ever!

Now that we’ve got the whole guilt issue out of the way, let’s talk about all the reasons you should take a vacation without your kids.

To Remember Who You Are

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Being a mom is the best job in the world. But, once upon a time, you were more than “just mom.” Do you remember that lady? While being a mom is going to be your main priority when you are with your kids, something magical happens when you step out of that role for a couple of days. The women you were slowly starts to reemerge!

To Reconnect with Others

For those of you who are married with kids, you no doubt understand the importance of having alone time with your spouse. It is so important to spend time with your spouse without kids to reconnect. While date nights are wonderful, you should also try to sneak away together for a weekend. After 14 years together, I appreciate time away with my man even more.

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Along these same lines, if there is any way possible you can pull off taking a girls trip each year – do it! Getting away with your girlfriends kid-free is good for the soul – and even better for your sanity. Like they say, sometimes talking with our girlfriends is all the therapy we need.

To Have Some Real Rest

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Even though my girls are well past the stage of waking up throughout the night, I still feel like I don’t get as much sleep as I would like. It’s probably because like most moms, my senses are always on alert when my girls are nearby. But, when I travel without my kids, my brain gets a little break, and I can rest easy.

To Have Someone Take Care of You for a Change

Moms are always taking care of others and putting someone else’s needs above their own. I cook, I clean, I work, I tuck my babies in each night, and on and on. It is so nice to stay at a luxury hotel where I don’t have to lift a finger unless I want to. Room service? Maid service? Turn down service? Yes, please!

You Deserve It!

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Being a mom is a tiring, demanding job. You deserve a break! While working moms get vacation days and sick days, your mom job does not come with those off days. That’s why it is so important for you to create those days yourself without feeling guilty about it. We all need time to ourselves to refresh. Without a vacation, employees know their workers will burn out and lose productivity. The same thing goes for parents. Invest in yourself and avoid mom burn out.

Remember, Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Your kids are not going to forget about you while you are away. Instead, it is likely they will miss you and be overjoyed when you are reunited. And, you know what? You will appreciate all their little idiosyncrasies even more.