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Nicole Ball 

Whether you have been with your spouse for 2 years or 20 years, it’s normal to hit a period of boredom in your relationship.

The everyday responsibilities of life like taking care of the household, going to work, taking care of the pets or children and the many other roles each partner may take on; all add up.

And it is often your relationship that comes last on the list.

This often means lack of quality time, romance and adventure in the relationship.

And this lack of quality, intimate or fun time together can lead to less connection, distress in the relationship, potentially to lead to conflict and feelings of being unsatisfied.

One way to address this is to “date your spouse.”

Most couples know the importance of quality time together, but making it happen is another story.

Many things can get in the way such as schedules, money and other responsibilities.

But by making the commitment to each other and to the relationship, it can not only bring a much-needed spark, but an also prevent hardships in the future.

First make the commitment mutually. Talk with your partner about the importance of quality time together.

Discuss what the hopes are for this commitment and the outcomes for your relationship.

Then decide together what that time could look like, how that times together will be decided and how often if could realistically happen. Make it a team effort with commitment on both sides.

Next decide on a budget. Committing to dating your spouse should not break the bank or cause financial stress.

It may be unrealistic to go out on a dinner date once per week.

So, decide on what else could be a date. A walk together, a picnic, or a movie on the couch after the kids have went to sleep.

Maintenance is key when you make a commitment. Do not let other things get in the way of your time together.

It’s so easy to push aside a scheduled date when life gets in the way. Dating your spouse is not easy. So set a schedule and do your best to stick to it.

And if life does happen to get in the way, don’t be afraid to get creative with your time; a breakfast or coffee date, a quick lunch, a nap together, a mid-day walk or even intimate conversation over the phone.

Yes, sometimes things get in the way that are unavoidable, like an important event, travel plans, sick children or pets. But maintaining the commitment means sticking to it and making it a priority.

Put your relationships first.

Nicole Ball is a social work professor at Ferris State University, a clinical mental health therapist and owner of Mental Wellness Counseling, a holistic mental health center in Traverse City. Learn more about at www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com

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