It’s easy to get busy and feel overwhelmed with caring for our kids, maintaining a household, working, and keeping up with all the activities that are a part of our family’s life. Those things are important, but marriages need just as much attention and prioritization. If investments into the relationship are not made on a regular basis, a couple may soon find that all they have connecting the two of them is the children. A regularly scheduled date night is one very fun and easy way for couples to commit to prioritizing their relationship and ensuring they have moments focused solely on each other. Whether you are fortunate enough to be able to have a Date Night every week or if you can only commit to once a month, you may be surprised at the difference a night out together can make in the richness of your life and even in your parenting!
Couples Need to Feel Connected
As parents, we carry the stress and burden of providing for a family, as sleep needs are not always met, and as kids demand all the attention, feelings of connectedness can quickly become lost. Parents feel run down, and their identity as a couple becomes lost in their roles as parents. Couples need to be able to find ways to connect again outside of their parental duties. Source #2 The risk of drifting apart is REAL. Just like rowing a boat, if you aren’t working on your relationship and you find yourself really needing your partner in choppier waters, they might not be the safe harbor you need because you didn’t nurture it over the years and keep it healthy.
Kids Need to See a Healthy Relationship
While a date night is certainly meant to be about your marriage, it is also good for the kids. Not only is it healthy for them to learn it’s OK to be separated from you, it is also beneficial as they are growing up to be witnesses to a healthy relationship. Think about how you want your son and daughter treated in their marriage when they are adults. There is significant advantage to children learning the importance of a loving marriage. Date night is also the perfect opportunity to teach your sons and daughters the expectations you want them to have in a dating relationship. Are you modeling to your son how to be a gentleman and to your daughter what to expect from a date? These are teachable moments to pass along values and behaviors when it comes to dating. Sources #2 and 4
Tips for Making Date Night a Reality and a Success!
- Recruit your family or line up a babysitter well in advance. Swap time with another couple so they can have a Date Night, too!
- Budget the money so it’s built in. Think of this as banking relationship currency now to pay for the relationship you’ll have after the kids leave your home to start their own lives.
- Doesn’t always have to be a restaurant…Plan different things to do so it doesn’t get boring, like taking a trail walk together, if that’s your thing, or seeing a movie after a casual meal (remember those?). There is live music downtown, live comedy shows, go on a house tour in an historic district, try ice skating or reserve a nice spa that has hot tubs and adult beverages ;). Here is an article that lists 25 different ideas! After you’ve gone on a few Date Nights, ask your spouse where they would like to go!
- What if it gets cancelled? Then meet for lunch if you just can’t make it work one month and have to cancel due to sick children. No excuses!
- Buy the kids a pizza and fun drinks or something special for dinner that they will see as a treat, so that when YOU get a night out of fun, so do THEY. We always let John pick what he wanted, like a happy meal, and a special activity with our babysitter, like nerf sword fights. Get them involved and let them choose in advance!
- Make an effort in your appearance…If you are like me and work from home a lot of the time, wearing a blouse, gloss and heels add a huge bump to that relationship currency meter. You’ll also notice that your partner will start to do the same.
- Follow some ground rules, like no phones out at dinner. Be fully present for your partner so you reconnect as a couple and let the other hats you wear fall away. You’ll relax and have more fun.
The best relationships require effort from both individuals. If you don’t have your next date-night planned, get started. It is not really a luxury after all. Consider it a necessity for a happy and life-affirming relationship. Source #3
Rob and I had been married previously before meeting in our early 30’s. We talked openly about how to keep our marriage healthy, fun and viable so that we’d go the distance (18 years strong!). We started our childless Date Nights when John was less than a year old. Those Date Nights were what kept us going when things got hard or stressful. There were times we were bone tired and really didn’t want to go out, but we did it anyway and always were glad we had. As John needed us less and less, we were still in tune with each other because holding hands, looking at each other without the whirlwind of children or pets around us, REALLY seeing each other and asking questions that had nothing to do with parenting, and taking time as adults that was just for US made a huge difference in our marriage. There are obviously other things you need to do to keep your relationship going, but this is one that I consider vital. So do it! Plan something NOW. Make a goal and stick to it. Your future self…and 25th wedding anniversary…is counting on you. =)
- All pictures are from Pexel.com