5 Creative and Unique Date Ideas for Parents that Won’t Break the Bank

Pyramid Online Counseling      Relationships  
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There are a million excuses to let date nights slide off the schedule. Too many couples find themselves feeling too busy, out of ideas, without a babysitter or exercising a tight budget. These are all valid reasons not to have extravagant date nights, but don’t let them keep you from investing in your relationship.

Having regular date nights is one of the best ways to keep a relationship healthy, romantic and exciting. There are dozens of ways to bolster your relationship without compromising finances or sucking up time. No need to be creative, either, the ideas are already planned out for you.

Check out these date ideas that cost little to no money and can be done at home or nearby, with or without kids.

Date ideas with kids

1. Plan a themed movie night

Choose a movie and make it into a special occasion by making the night themed around the film. First, match dinner and dessert to the movie. Have spaghetti and dog-bone shaped cookies when you watch Lady and the Tramp or a classic french dish (french fries count) with an elaborately set table before Beauty and the Beast.

Kids will love the extra special treat of a themed movie night and you and your partner will be able to kick back and relax.

2. Do an at-home spa

This date activity is great for self-care and to calm both kids and adults. Do an at-home spa day and have the kids run the show, pampering you from head to foot. They can do hairstyles, paint nails (for real or play pretend), and offer a back rub.

Use household items to make a massage extra fun – roll a tennis ball to enhance a back massage or make this three-ingredient slime for a soothing hand rub. Set the lights to low, light some candles and play calming music.

3. Have your kids play restaurant

You have to eat dinner anyway, you might as well make it fun. One of the easiest date ideas you can do in the comfort of your own home with no extra cost to you is to have your kids “play restaurant.” 

Have your kids design signs and menus, while you and your partner cook and plate the food. Your kids can even dress up as waiters and use accents. Have the kids serve dinner and then eat in another room. Older kids can light candles to make it more intimate. Splurge and tip your kids for excellent service.

Date ideas for just parents

1. Wine tour

Surprise your spouse with a homemade wine tour. This requires some set up in advance, but it’s a unique and creative stay-at-home date on the cheap. Keep your kids occupied with a movie while you and your loved one have a romantic date night.

To do this, you’ll want to buy a variety of wine and snacks. Pair them using this guide or make your own pairings. Type up little descriptions of the wine and cheeses, like you would hear at a wine tasting. Set them in places around the house or yard and dress up for the date. When your partner gets home, have him or her do a little scavenger hunt to find all the stops!

2. Have a dessert contest

A dessert contest is an easy, cheap and quick date night idea to spark some friendly competition. Use the ingredients you have at home and set a timer for the competition. Without using a recipe, make the best dessert you can in 20 minutes, or however long you decide.

Spice up the competition by going to a grocery store before. Set a budget ($5 will do) and a timer (a shorter time limit makes it more exciting) and choose some special ingredients for your dessert. Everything else in the kitchen is fair game but your partner can’t use your special ingredient. This date is fun and delicious.

3. Invest in your relationship

Your relationship with your loved one is one of the most important resources you have. The emotional support, affection and security that you have built is worth keeping strong even if it takes some unconventional, budget date nights. Restore the fun in your marriage and your whole family will benefit.

If you think your family has hit a slump and you need a little more than date ideas to boost your mental health, reach out to Pyramid Online Counseling. With your busy parenting schedule the thought may never have crossed your mind to start therapy, but with the convenience and ease of online counseling there’s no reason not to try it. Whether you’re interested in counseling for couples, families or individuals Pyramid Online Counseling can help. Call 833-525-3077 today to get started.

How to Continue to Prioritize Your Spouse after Having a Baby

Pyramid Online Counseling      Relationships  
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Whether you’ve recently welcomed your first baby into your family or your third, you and your spouse probably experienced a bit of upheaval and a large amount of change. You might be thinking “You have no idea…it’s never going to be the same again.” 

You’re not wrong. 

Having a baby completely changes the reality of your relationship with your spouse, not to mention your entire lives. Suddenly, you have a little human demanding all your attention and care. You aren’t sleeping, every inconvenience is a challenge and you can feel yourself clashing more often with your spouse.

If this sounds a little like your reality, don’t panic. Every couple experiences this. The key factor to remember, though, is that even though post-baby stress is totally normal, it’s the methods used to handle the stress that will determine the future of your marriage through parenthood.

Recognize that a new baby is a huge change 

A new human in the house is a huge change. Suddenly your ‘two is company’ switches to ‘three’s a crowd’ and if you’re not mentally prepared for that reality, it can severely catch you off guard. Talking about this reality is a vitally important thing to do with your spouse. Brainstorm together the ways you think your routine, life and habits will change. Be open with each other about your expectations. Come up with a game plan on how you’re going to ask for help and how you’re going to handle moments of high stress. 

The more you understand about the other’s expectations, hopes and fears regarding the new baby, the less likely you will be to feel misunderstood or afraid to talk.

Search for ways to be grateful

A lot of parenting happens behind the scenes. While you might be focused on rocking the baby to sleep, your spouse might be walking the dog, folding laundry, mowing the lawn or prepping the kitchen for dinner. So when you come out of the baby’s bedroom and notice the mess of toys on the living room floor, don’t comment on what didn’t get done – comment on what did get scratched off the checklist. By focusing on the positives and gearing your comments towards gratitude and not negativity, you both will build an environment of encouraging and supportive teamwork.

Split the tasks

It’s likely that at some point or another, one parent will feel like they’re pulling the weight of household tasks. Odds are that if one of you feels this way, both of you are probably feeling it. This could be due to a lack of communication, a lack of asking for help, a habit of noticing what still needs to be done versus what has been done, or simply overlooking the truth that the other spouse accomplishes much when you’re not looking. 

A simple fix here is stating your needs (“I feel like I’m doing a lot of the housework and baby-work and am feeling overwhelmed”) and asking to talk about it. Come up with a game plan together of who is going to do what. It might seem elementary, but a simple chore chart that the two of you work through together on alternating days/weeks will help alleviate some of the weight while being of visual representation of everything getting done around the home.

Date each other 

Because your life becomes “baby this” and “baby that,” you don’t have time or energy to invest in each other the way you used to. While this is a tough reality, it’s important to not let it become a permanent reality. It might take some time, but it’s important to do the things you used to do pre-baby (within reason, of course). If you used to make dinner and watch a movie on the couch once a week, try to continue that. Perhaps you spent Sunday afternoons hiking together. Ask the grandparents to take the baby for a few hours so you can have that quality time together. After all, you’re still partners – you need to continue to foster that relationship because it isn’t going to do it by itself.

Communicate and communicate some more 

People can’t mind read – if you’re not being direct about how you feel, how can your spouse know? And taking it one step further, how can they be expected to help? It is your job and your spouse’s job to communicate your needs to each other. If you feel like you’re going to hurt someone if you don’t get a nap, say it. If you really need a night off, ask for it. If you really miss your spouse and want to spend intentional time just the two of you, communicate it. Over half of your problems can be solved if you simply voice them kindly and respectfully.

Nurture your relationship with your spouse

All the attention on the new baby might leave you or your spouse feeling a little neglected. In order to keep resentment from breeding, make sure you’re checking in on each other frequently. By communicating with each other, being grateful towards each other for the work they are doing and making little sacrifices out of love for your partner, you can continue to nurture a healthy relationship between the two of you, even when kiddos are screaming for Mom and Dad. 

If you find yourself really needing help or guidance during parenthood, especially in its early stages, plenty of counseling services, including those offered by Pyramid Online Counseling, can provide support, encouragement and concrete advice in handling parenthood and maintaining your marriage no matter the trials. Call 833-525-3077 to get started today.

5 Reasons Marriage Counseling Builds Relationships that Last

Pyramid Online Counseling      Relationships  
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Marriage Counseling Helps Relationships Last

Marriage counseling is simple in premise and powerful in effect: it offers therapy that helps couples speak openly and honestly about everyday life, existing conflict and general relationship dynamics.

Often, marriage counseling therapists follow a fairly similar pattern when it comes to the first few sessions. Spouses or significant others will sit down together with a licensed counselor, where all clients are provided with an open, non-judgmental atmosphere that can help resolve issues. Couples often discover that deep relational growth can result after even a few marriage counseling sessions.

Looking to dive into even more information about specific benefits to marriage counseling? We’ve outlined a few of the top benefits to this type of therapy below, for your convenience.

1. Set priorities and goals, together as a couple

Marriage counseling enables you and your spouse to identify both priorities and goals you’d like to see become a reality. These goals could be short-term actions, perhaps a list of items you’d like to accomplish along with your spouse in the next week or month. Your goals could also be long-term goals, aspirations you’re looking to achieve even if they appear to only be on the horizon. What’s important is that you arrive at both new goals and new priorities together, to promote open communication, unity and cohesion.

And of course, whenever you learn about your spouse or significant other through marriage counseling, you will also learn about yourself. 

2. Fortify your feelings toward your spouse

Marriage counseling helps you fortify any feelings you have toward your spouse. How? Here’s one way: through open, honest conversation, you can begin to draw parallels between how your spouse feels about you, and all of the ways they show you they care on a daily basis. You’ll begin to notice the subtle ways your spouse tries to make your day and your life better; there are likely things your spouse does for you that you aren’t even aware of!

So often, couples find themselves in marriage counseling simply because over time, they’ve found that they have drifted apart. And they’re looking to marriage counseling as a way to rekindle the love they experienced early on in their relationship, when the marriage itself felt effortless and new. And while marriage counseling certainly can’t help you turn back time, it does offer you definitive steps to reintroduce romance, spend quality time together and enhance feelings toward your spouse.

3. Heal unresolved issues

Marriage counseling is a proven method for effective problem solving within a relationship, especially when it comes to conflict that might be lingering or unresolved. Within the context of marriage, the goal is always to resolve conflict and tension before it builds. When issues go unresolved, they can lead to escalating tension, misunderstandings and more, undermining the relationship along the way.

Here’s the good news: marriage counselors can help you and your spouse together work through any issues that have come between you. Through concrete conflict resolution techniques that help you reshape the way you view conflict, marriage counseling can help to unite you and your spouse against conflict, instead of against one another. And you’ll also learn how to deal with your own emotions, as well as the emotions of your spouse, in an appropriate manner to prevent emotion from evolving into conflict.

4. Learn to hold productive conversations

Many couples pursue marriage counseling because they know it can help them improve communication. Many spouses actually reach a point where they feel as though they are not being heard by their significant other, further leading to a breakdown in regular conversation. Marriage counseling offers practical therapy techniques that help you truly listen to the other individual, processing their thoughts and feelings instead of preparing a response.

Marriage counseling works well to help both members in the marriage feel heard and valued. Healthy communication may feel elusive in a marriage, but it’s truly only a few steps away once you’re both connected with the right therapist.

5. Become more effective parents

Your family will change forever once you welcome children. Parenting is a privilege and a joy, but it obviously comes with unique challenges along the way. Marriage counseling can help outfit you and your spouse with the resources and tools you need to implement effective parenting strategies.

When your marriage thrives, your relationship with your children is also going to thrive. Learn how to foster a stable home and a loving environment for children, when you take the time to fortify the framework of your marriage through counseling.

Take the steps toward a better marriage today

One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage counseling concerns who is qualified to attend. You and your spouse don’t need to be experiencing deep marital issues in order to attend counseling. No matter the reason for attending, marriage counseling offers a variety of benefits that can help improve communication, increase your sense of self-worth, and help both spouses set supportive goals. Call (833) 525-3077 today, or fill out our quick contact form to learn even more about our secure, HIPAA-compliant online marriage counseling services.