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1. Make the most of your time
"We both work shifts and, with two kids under the age of four, we rarely -- if ever -- get a traditional Saturday night date together. Instead, we take moments when we can, which is sometimes a quick quiet breakfast in the car after getting the kids off to day care or the time before one of us goes to bed. It's not dinner and a movie, but it's meaningful to us." -- Sean and Christie, Kingston, Ont.
2. Schedule your time together
"We're in a long-distance relationship right now, so we literally schedule our time together. Rather than being at the mercy of seat sales, we bought a block of flights at a discount so we have a lot of flexibility in when we can see each other in person. The rest of the time, we have Skype dates and text throughout the day. I sometimes think we actually spend more time talking than some couples who live under the same roof." -- Mark and Karen, Jasper Park, Alta., and Winnipeg
3. Celebrate the small stuff
"I travel pretty often for work and we have gotten into the habit of taking the opportunity to create mini-commemorative moments. If I'm leaving the next day, I'll make a special dinner that night. When I'm due to get in late after a long flight, my husband will pick me up at the airport. Every departure and arrival gives us an excuse to show each other how much we appreciate our time together." -- Jennifer and Dave, Ottawa
Page 1 of 2 -- Five more couples reveal how they spend quality time together on page 2.
4. Find a shared interest
"We met while playing softball, so having a shared interest like that was an easy way to spend quality time together. Now that we're expecting our first baby, I'm still playing but my wife had to opt out. I joke about our prenatal classes being date nights, but we really do try to get to the movies and be as social as possible, knowing that, after the baby comes, those opportunities will be more limited." -- Chris and Melanie, Mississauga, Ont.
"We got to the point where -- between the kids' various music lessons and extracurricular activities, my parent committee meetings and his multiple men's league hockey games -- our vehicles would literally pass one another in the driveway coming or going.
Nowadays we streamline: The kids pick one sport or lesson each per season, I volunteer myself for only one committee and my husband has narrowed his hockey down to one team. This gives us a few weeknights to actually relax together and reconnect." -- Nancy and Steven, Halifax
6. Call in sick together
"One of our favourite ways to make time for one another is to call in sick together. We consider it a way of maintaining our mental health to spend a day reconnecting with each other from time to time. It feels extra special, because it's a break from routine." -- Dawn and Michael, Pickering, Ont.
7. Send each other funny texts and messages
"We don't necessarily devote a set amount of time to focus on just us, but I text her little jokes and funny things that happen through the course of the day, and she does the same. Rather than having that big 'how was your day' chat in the evenings, we're often still laughing about one another's play-by-plays. I like getting her instant reactions to whatever is going on with me, and I think that constant sense of being on the other person's mind really keeps us connected." -- Jake and Mandy, Falmouth, N.S.
8. Do chores together
"We just bought a house and are slowly acquiring the nonessential appliances. At first I was very distraught that we didn't have a dishwasher, but now I find myself looking forward to the time when dinner is over and the kids are off doing their homework. My husband washes and I dry while we catch up on the day's events. It's not romantic, but it's nice to work side-by-side and carve out a bit of time that we wouldn't otherwise have had." -- Roberta and Kevin, Kenora, Ont.
Whether it's scheduled on your calendars for a specific day or it happens in fragments throughout the course of a week or month, quality time has to be custom fit. These real couples prove that quality time has many meanings; the key is to spend time together in whatever way suits you. â€¨
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