You have been married or living in common law for several years and have two children. Many of you probably can’t remember the last time you went to the movies together or had a dinner date without children. How do you find time with all the demands of work and parenting? You hardly have time to keep up with your clothes, never mind going to the movies.

What I have described is a very common scenario among married couples with children. We get caught up in the daily management of the home and our work outside the home. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem as important as everything else. In fact, we might even feel guilty if we spend time and money to go out to dinner. We thought about the cost of the babysitter, dinner, wine, and parking. We also think about the logistics to make this happen. We often tell ourselves that it is too much trouble.

I have known couples in which years can go by without a partner. Each parent can spend time with their own friends, but not with each other. When we neglect our primary relationship, we run the risk of losing it; the same as anything else in life that we neglect. The strength and health of the relationship depend on how much time and effort we put into it. It just doesn’t happen. For a relationship to be strong and healthy, we have to nurture it.

Children need and deserve a loving, safe, and peaceful home environment. It is what makes them feel loved and safe. We owe it to them to make it a priority to work regularly on our core relationship, not just for our sake, but for theirs. Yes, it takes time. Yes, money is often needed. Yes, it takes effort. Know, without the slightest doubt, that it is worth it and your children will appreciate it.

Couples with children often make the mistake of neglecting their relationship and risking losing it, which is never anyone’s intention. Commit to scheduling a date night at least twice a month. Do something together at night that you both enjoy after the children have gone to bed. Send each other little love notes throughout the day. All of these things work toward a strong bond and a more secure foundation for your children.

Don’t be surprised looking back five years after the birth of your first child, unable to remember the last time you and your partner went on a date or just took time to be together in a meaningful way. It’s too easy to let things drift to the point where you’re not sure how to get back what you had in the beginning. It does not have to be this way.