Charles J. Orlando: How can you keep the fire going when life (sometimes) is reduced to bills, appointments, bills, a messy house and more bills?
If you've been in a relationship for a while, you know how things can get at times. The humdrum of life (kids, chores, finances, work, commutes, house maintenance) can get you down. To keep a long-term relationship healthy, sometimes you have to return to the passion and allure that attracted the two of you in the first place.
Once a couple recognizes the need for some ADULT time (sans kids and day-to-day responsibilities), it can lead to Date Night. Now look, there is nothing wrong with Date Night. Not only does it enable the sharing of time (crucial for any relationship to flourish), but it shows kids that the relationship of Mom and Dad is important, and gets its own attention every week. Besides, with family routines and individual availability being what they are (read: nonexistent), it pays to schedule things. But to that point, Date Night is scheduled, and somewhat contrived -- it lacks the spontaneity of a "real" date (you know ... like the dates you used to have before growing all the way up?). That's why I'm an advocate of turning Date Night into something more ... sophisticated (albeit passion-centric): Hotel Sex.
Date Night is a great attempt at rekindling things. But after working all week, diapers and/or homework assistance, it might not be feasible to downshift over the course of a couple of hours at dinner. Moreover, as conversation continues, the discussion can turn to daily things -- kids, finances ... and that doesn't do a lot for passionate thoughts. Enter Hotel Sex.
No more, "Shhhhh! The kids!" or "Are they asleep yet?" or the inevitable *knock-knock* "Mom?" at the door (like they can't tell what is happening, with the music/TV blaring and the smell of lavender candle rising up from from the bottom of the damn door jam!?!?). Do yourselves a favor: Get a trusted overnight sitter, head out for a night to yourselves (cocktails? dancing?). Get a meal, and then head back to the hotel for dessert. Low on funds due to the economic climate? Nothing wrong with a No-Tell Motel among consenting adults -- or try Priceline for rock-bottom prices.
Use your imagination, and unplug from parenting for a bit. After all, all parents were "men" and "women" first.