About eight months after our baby girl arrived earth-side, I noticed that I was feeling really frustrated in my marriage. We weren’t making time for each other and I was starting to feel resentful. So I practiced what I preach in Open Wide and I sat Nick down, practiced CCC (Crystal Clear Communication) and shared how I was feeling. He was feeling it too and we knew we needed to do something radical to make a shift. So we came up with these two ‘Marriage Savers’ that have massively upgraded our marriage. They are simple but profound, and I want to share them with you in case your marriage needs a little TLC right now too.
Marriage Saver #1 — Schedule In Love Making
Real talk: when you have kids, spontaneous love making doesn’t happen as often as it used to! Pre baby yes, post baby not so much…
So Nick and I decided to get creative.
We love a routine and schedule — it’s how we thrive in so many areas of our life. So we thought, why not make it work for us in the boudoir too?!
It might sound funny at first, but we now swear by it. We are all for spontaneous love making sessions AND scheduling love making has been a genuine game changer for us too.
If you want to give it a go, here’s what you need to do…
- Firstly, you need to work out how many times you both want to make love per week. For example, let’s say you both decide that three times per week feels good for both of you.
- Next, you need to work out *when* you both feel like this can happen… and it’s super important to be honest with yourselves at this stage about what’s achievable! For example, for me — with where I’m at in my life right now — night time love making just ain’t gonna happen. I am ready for bed when baby girl goes down, so there’s pretty much a snowflake’s chance of sexy time happening then! So for us, morning is best. But maybe you both work from home and you both love a little lunch time fun. When is best for you both?
- Then you need to work out which 3 times are going to be best for you both. Look closely at your schedule — if one of you has Pilates on Tuesday morning, and the other has early morning meetings on Fridays, then those days are out. Pick the 3 times that work best for you both.
- Work out how long you need. Do you prefer a consensual quickie a few times a week or do you prefer a long, slow love-making session? What is roughly the ideal time for you both? And make sure you add a little 10 – 15 minute buffer for some extra cuddles and kisses.
- Then schedule it in your joint calendar. (We call it ‘Lovers Time’, but you can be as creative and cheeky as you wish!) And then stick to it!
- Try it out for a few weeks and watch how much fun, play and joy this brings to your relationship.
Marriage Saver #2 — Weekly Dates
Pre-baby, Nick and I loved going on dates. We made time for them frequently and I loved it. That uninterrupted sacred time together was so special and something we both valued and got excited about. I have so many beautiful memories etched in my heart from those magical moments together.
Well, they kinda went out the window! (Which as you will read in Open Wide I don’t recommend!)
Of course, as we all know, sometimes priorities have to shift. But often, when life gets full, we delete the very things that fill our tank the most and that counteract that sense of overwhelm or fullness — like catching up with girlfriends, having tea with a bestie, and — you guessed it — dates with our beloved.
I want to suggest a reframe here: these types of things are NOT the first things we should let slide when life gets full. They bring so much joy and deep soul nourishment to our lives. So if at all possible, when you’re feeling stretched, delete other things from your schedule that don’t bring you joy (e.g. mindless scrolling, invitations that don’t give you a full-body “heck yes”, etc.) and keep the things that DO.
When life gets full, don’t delete the things in your schedule that bring you joy. Prioritize them and instead, delete the things that don’t light you up.
Here’s the exact step by step process to make dating your lover a priority…
Step 1: Set a reminder to pop up in your phone every second Monday that says ‘Plan Lovers’ Date’. When you get that reminder, it means it’s your turn to organize a surprise date for both of you for that week. Your partner should set up reminders in their phone too, for the opposite weeks (so that you’re taking turns to plan dates).
Step 2: Pick your weekly day and time you are going to have your dates. If you know that Friday evenings from 6pm work well, then lock that in your joint calendar, get a sitter and enjoy. Or if you prefer to mix it up each week, that’s fine too. Do what works best for you both.
Step 3: When the reminder pops up on your phone every two weeks start planning! Pick something different each time. It’s very easy to get complacent, but aim to spice things up and do different things every time to keep it exciting and interesting. (I’ve got a list of ideas for you below.) Keep in mind that your dates do NOT need to cost a bomb or take hours of your time. They don’t need to be at night, they don’t need to be at a fancy restaurant or a luxury spa… you don’t even have to leave home if you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter what you do or how long for, just as long as you are having uninterrupted lovers time together, dropping deep and focused on each other.
Step 4: When it’s time for your date, turn your phone on silent and put it out of sight (even leave it in the car or a different room if you can) and enjoy your quality time together. If you need to check in on kids, do that but then get back to each other.
Step 5: Repeat each week and enjoy!
Creative Ideas for Soul Nourishing, Exciting & Fulfilling Dates
Many of us have spent years or decades with a very narrow idea of what a ‘date’ can be. (Thanks, Hollywood movies!)
Instead, I want you to get fully creative in this area: a date is whatever you and your partner say it is. All you have to do is create a pocket of time to focus on each other and do something that lights you both up.
Here are 30 unique date ideas for you, to get your creative juices flowing…
- Have a picnic in nature — or if it’s raining, do an indoor picnic with all your favorite foods. (Can’t get a sitter? Try a night time candlelit ‘picnic’ on your living room floor after the kids go to bed!)
- Play mini golf
- Indoor or outdoor rock climbing
- Bike ride and stop along the way for a picnic
- Big hike and pack a delicious lunch
- Visit a waterfall. (Bonus points if you can sneak in a nudie swim!)
- Go to a live event, gig, concert, play, musical etc
- Do a painting/drawing date. Take some supplies into nature and paint or draw each other or the landscape in front of you
- Drive inland to a creek with a picnic and go searching for crystals
- Sit outside and watch the sun set
- Go oldschool and watch a drive-in movie — BYO pillows, blankets and snacks!
- Take a hot drink, a rug, blanket and go watch the sunrise
- Play board games
- Anything in nature is always a good idea
- Book a surprise night away somewhere or pack a tent and camp under the stars
- Do a pottery class
- Do something challenging like zip lining, a high ropes course, a ballroom dance class etc
- Walk around the botanical gardens holding hands
- Give each other a full body massage whilst listening to beautiful music
- Do a tea tasting
- Do a cooking class
- Pick a new dish you have never made before and cook it together… maybe someone can be blind folded for extra fun!
- Go skinny dipping
- Take a private qigong or yoga class
- Go somewhere you’ve never been before — whether it’s a new cafe, beach, restaurant, hiking trail, whatever. Don’t underestimate the power of novelty!
- Go roller skating or rollerblading as the sun sets
- Take a surfing lesson together
- Do a couple float tanks or ice bath and breathwork session together
- Sit around a fire pit, pot belly stove, or campfire and get cosy while you watch the flames
- Visit your local gym together for a combined workout followed by a leisurely visit to the sauna or steam room
Do you have any date ideas to add to the list? Share them below and let’s make a long list we can return back to time and time again.
And if you want more ways to take your relationship to the next level check out my book Open Wide, you will love it.
AMAZING!! Thank you so much Melissa. Can’t wait to try it all. xxx
Let me know how you go honey. xx
Hi Melissa, I really like and appreciate your post/ ideas. We tried to schedule love time but for us only the evening is working and most of time we have to skip since we are too tired. During the day it doesn’t work because of working hours. I thinks for most couples it is like this. We don’t have a sitter. As well for dating time…we have always the little kid so its always the 3 of us and also we go in nature but can’t actually do long hikes anymore since the child is to big to sit all time in the carrier and to small to walk great distances. And with a child you always have to plan very carefully. There are little things we try to do but there are our hobbys too and no time to do them. So for some of us it might be much harder than you describe. Working during the day, tired in the evening, if you don’t have a cleaning lady/ sitter/ grandparents….there is not much time left. Any suggestions?
Hey Alice, thank you for sharing. What about getting a friend to look after your child for 1 hour on the weekend whilst you have some time for a date? Would that work for you both? I think weekends are going to be best for you both so it’s just a matter of getting someone to watch your child whilst you go on your date. Let me know how that sounds to you?
Love these tips and honestly this is so what I needed right now. I’ve felt this for a while (my babies are 7 and 3 girlfriend!!!), but didn’t quite know how to shift it. I did try the dates thing for a while and it was amazing but then darn covid and vax passes and everything kind of fell by the wayside here we are at home with two kids and fat chance of any of the above fun things. BUT that is all changing now so i’m keen to get back into it and these tips are so good.
Two q’s – so for you personally, you guys choose 3 mornings for sexy time and it’s the same morns every week? Seems odd right scheduling but then you’re so right, if you don’t, it just doesn’t happen! Then for your date night, do you do the same time every week and organise a sitter for that time every week? Just wondering logistically if that’s easier e.g. Friday 6pm sitter every week, than mixing it up every week (which would be fun, but also wondering if more admin)
Thank you for your openness and honesty, I can imagine it’s exposing and vulnerable sharing what you do with others but really is helpful. so thank you.
Hey beautiful, regarding lovemaking we do try and stick to the same mornings every week because the other mornings we have workouts, pilates, yoga etc. However, we are still flexible and if it doesn’t happen that’s ok. We may move it to the next day, we always just flow with it.
And regarding the lovers dates, it changes every week because sometimes we have to wait to see what when can get a grandma to come be with baby girl. And each week we take turns organizing it so it’s up to whoever is organizing that week. But I do like the idea for having something locked in also eg every Friday evening or something like that. Do what feels right for you guys. Does that help honey? Let me know if you have any other questions. xx
Hi Mel – for some reason I can’t click the reply to your comment above, the button doesn’t seem to be working for me. Also – I didn’t get an email with this reply, only just happened to see it as I came back to your post to check your top 30 list again for a new idea! Last Fri I took the lead and organised a double float for us Friday, it was amazing! Tony was super surprised when we arrived, but loved it. I told him we’re doing from now on once a week and turn about, and I’ve gone and prebooked a whole bunch of mine already (an aeroplane flight, 3 theatre shows, and a side by side massage). And he’s gotten on board, he’s booking something next week! So thank you for a kick up the booty to get onto this. Love your work and recommended you to a friend the other day. x Buffy
That is so awesome Buffy, I’m so happy and excited for you and Tony. Keep me posted with how you go and please share your ideas with me, I may need to borrow some. xx