By Erin Goodman

Date NightAs I was grooving along writing columns and blog posts about all the fun dates I’ve been having with my children, I noticed that I haven’t really written much about dates with my husband, because well, we haven’t really been on any in a long time.

From time to time, we’ve enjoyed a “dining in date night,” which really just means dinner alone, preferably with a bottle of wine, after the kids are asleep. But even that has slipped lately as the kids’ requests for “just one more story” often put tired parents to sleep right alongside their little ones.

So one, two, and then three months after my last article ran on Kidoinfo, I started to think that maybe I should just skip this topic and move on to something else.

But something felt very wrong about that. It felt like I had created an opportunity to really look at my own life and my relationship with the wonderful man I have been proudly calling my husband for eight years.

And somewhere around that time, as if right on cue, I received an e-mail newsletter from Bruce and Betsy Bergquist, who facilitate weekend workshops for couples, with a listing of “77 Habits of Highly Effective Couples.”

I asked my husband, with whom I enjoy a generally very positive relationship, if we could set aside some time to look over the list individually and make note of what we are doing well and what things would be good for us to focus more attention on.

The list begins…

– Give each other at least five small appreciations a day — and make them very specific.
– Take time to know each other’s ideas carefully and fully.
– Know how to avoid annoying one another.
– Divide the house chores and review the list regularly.
– Make positive eye contact at least several times a day — wink at least once.

…and continues to include a total of seventy-seven creative and thoughtful ideas.

The results were pretty eye-opening for us. Of the seventy-seven tips listed, we agreed that we are doing about ten of them consistently well. And seeing things in writing like, “Share a brand new experience every few months — concert, museum, day trip, show, sporting event, etc.” and “Bring home special desserts they know the other loves!” made us remember how fun it was when we used to regularly do things like this.

At some point, when our budget allows and our young children are ready for a weekend at Nana and Grandpa’s, we look forward to attending one of Bruce and Betsy’s workshops. In the meantime, I am happy to report that we have resumed dating and are appreciating each other — and winking at each other — daily!

Next Time: Celebrating at Chuck E. Cheese (or “Never say never!”)

Erin Barrette Goodman is a law-of-attraction-inspired writer, yoga teacher and mother of two. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network, which promotes empowered decision-making during the childbearing years, and is currently working on her first book about creating community.