7 Romantic Experiences You Should Have With Your Partner Before Having Kids
Without a doubt, one of the most monumental choices you can make in a relationship is deciding to start a family with your partner. Having kids drastically and permanently changes your life, both as an individual and as a couple — which is why it's important to take some time before starting a family to bond with your partner while it's still just the two of you.
Once you're thrown into the chaotic, fulfilling world of parenthood — and especially as the parents of a newborn — it takes active effort to make time for romance. All that free time you used to have for romantic date nights? Now, you'll have to arrange for someone to babysit just so you and your partner can sneak away and get some much needed time to unwind and reconnect as partners instead of just as parents. But even though life as a couple will be totally different after you start a family, there's nothing to fear: as long as you make the time to maintain your intimate connection, your relationship will likely grow even stronger as you get to know each other in a completely new light.
That being said, you should also take advantage of the last of the baby-free days. Here are seven romantic experiences that you should add to your pre-baby bucket list — and make sure to savor every last wink of sleep you get in the meantime, too.
1. Travel To A Romantic Location
If there's one thing you should prioritize doing with your partner before starting a family, it's traveling. Vacations become a lot more complicated (and expensive!) post-kids, so if there's a romantic destination you and your partner have been dying to visit, it's a good idea to check that off your bucket list while you're still a two-person family unit.
"Travel becomes much more restricted when children are involved," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist, and founder of online relationship community Relationup, tells Bustle. "What you do, where you go and the experiences you have, become much more limiting with children. Moreover, your ability to be spontaneous, romantic and sexual is greatly hindered. Being together, just the two of you, in a foreign place allows you to connect deeply, create positive memories and brings you closer as a couple."
2. Have A Couple's Spa Weekend
Once you and your partner become parents, the opportunity for those precious "treat yourself" moments will be few and far between. Before trying for a baby, spend some time pampering yourselves, de-stressing, and just enjoying each other's company — that way, when the baby arrives, you'll feel relaxed and refreshed.
"Whether you go [to the spa] for [one] day or a few, it is very bonding to be focusing on nurturing your mind, body and soul as a couple," Milrad says. "You can attend classes, get massages side by side, center yourself through meditation and eat cleanly while you are detoxing from the stressors of life. Engaging in self care as a couple is extremely rewarding. You are there as a couple, but each of you are attending to your own needs and not having to focus on taking care of the other."
3. Take Up A New Sport
If you and your partner are an active, outdoorsy type of couple, consider taking up a new sport together while you still have the leisure time to devote to it. Then, after you become parents, you have a ready-made outlet for your stress that you can enjoy doing together anytime you have a couple hours free.
"After having kids, it is really difficult for the two of you to get away with any regularity," Milrad says. "Learn a sport, like tennis, or take up hiking or biking so that the two of you can enjoy doing this activity together once the kids come and you can only sneak away for an hour or two. It is bonding to have some passion that you share and being outdoors and exercising together can be a big turn on."
4. Enroll In A Parenting Class
One of the most practical yet romantic activities you can do with your partner before having kids? Take a parenting class together! It'll give you time to bond and connect in a new way, and will give you an opportunity to swoon as you see your partner in a totally new light: as a parent-to-be.
"There is nothing sexier than knowing your partner will be well-prepared for parenthood," Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT and founder of KW Couples Therapy, tells Bustle. "Knowing that they have the skills and techniques to parent well can actually enhance your relationship because you will feel supported and on one-accord."
5. Do Something Totally Outside Your Comfort Zone
Every now and then, it's worthwhile to do something that's totally outside your comfort zone — like going bungee jumping or taking a painting class — because it's a chance to discover new parts of yourself that you might have otherwise never known. If you and your partner want to gear up for the unique challenge that is becoming parents, it's a good idea to create opportunities to develop yourselves in other ways before the baby arrives.
"Do something together that encourages growth of both individuals," John C. Hoelle, JD, Couples Mediator and Attorney at Conscious Family Law Firm, tells Bustle. "For example, a self-development workshop, or travel specifically to a place that challenges you to expand, like the Burning Man festival or India. If you can learn to support each other together through these kind of challenging growth experiences, you can support each other better through the massive expansion and reorientation of parenthood."
6. Learn To Cook
If you and your partner currently consider yourselves culinarily-challenged, one of the most rewarding and romantic things you can do together before starting a family is learn to cook together. Whether you prefer to take formal cooking classes, or simply teach yourselves using a combination of meal kit services and hours of watching Food Network, you'll seriously thank yourselves for boosting affection to your relationship — and upping your kitchen skills once you're feeding yourselves and your kid(s).
7. Go On A Camping Trip
If you want a chance to unplug, unwind, and connect with your partner before becoming parents, plan a camping trip to your favorite woodsy locale (even if that's your backyard).
"Ditch your phones and modern amenities and embrace the solitude and quiet of the great outdoors," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Besides forcing the couple to relate to each other in a completely new environment without distraction, camping also provides countless opportunities for them to work together."
Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you choose to bond before you begin your journey into parenthood — as long as you're committed to growing even closer to your partner during your remaining time together as a family of two, you'll be well prepared for all the challenges and rewards that come with being parents.