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The Simple Thing That Totally Changed My Marriage

Photograph by Twenty20

The night of our rehearsal dinner, a family friend told my husband and I that the three main things we'd fight about during our marriage were money, sex, and in-laws. Nearly 8 years later, I can actually say that we fight about the dishes more than anything else! (Seriously though, WHY are there always dirty dishes?!)

The first several years of our marriage were honestly quite easy. We didn't have many responsibilities other than our jobs. We spent our evenings together and loved it. We were on the same page about money, sex, and in-laws. We had no real issues to speak of.

Fast-forward to life with three kids and nearly everything has changed. We are pretty much always tired, someone is always in our bed, even simple dinnertime conversations are incredibly difficult!

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After nearly a year of this, we finally hit our wit's end and realized what our problem was. It wasn't sex. It wasn't money. It wasn't our in-laws. It was TIME. We didn't get enough time together.

With no relatives in town and when the going babysitting rate for three small children is $12/hour, we had some brainstorming to do. How in the world could we get some quality time, just the two of us, that wasn't interrupted by our kids and didn't cost a small fortune?

The answer: Date night swap.

I can't remember when I first heard the idea, but as soon as we tried it out, we were sold.

We're not frustrated, stressed, or feeling unimportant because we haven't gotten any time together. Instead, we're on the same page.

We found another couple—our very dear friends who have two children and a third on the way—to swap date nights with. We do it at least once a month, sometimes more. On a Tuesday night, (I love that we chose to do weeknights!) they bring their kids to our house. We feed their kids and have a big play date all night while they get to go out on a date (or shopping, or back home to eat a meal sans kids, etc). The following week, we switch. We take our kids to their house. They feed them and hang out while my husband and I get a solid two hours of together time.

I can't tell you what a difference this has made in our marriage! Seriously! I look forward to our dates so much and I love that we don't have to fork over hundreds of dollars to pay a sitter. Plus, our kids love to get together with their friends. It's really a great deal for everyone.

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I remember a time when date nights happened like once every six months. Not anymore! And since we've started this date night swap, our arguments have nearly disappeared. We're not frustrated, stressed, or feeling unimportant because we haven't gotten any time together. Instead, we're on the same page. We are able to have those long, meaningful conversations that makes our marriage stronger and we always have a date night to look forward to.

If the thing you need most from your spouse is time, do a date night swap! Find another couple who wants the same thing. Try it out a time or two and set the rules so they work for you. I promise, you'll be sold!

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