I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across some magazine article about how to keep the romance alive in your marriage. It seems like the topic is being discussed in every magazine and on websites around the world.
There was a time when I read those headlines and scoffed. I thought, “Yeah right! Who has time for that?!” At the time I was freelancing and working long days and working on the weekends. I had a toddler and a new baby, I was rarely sleeping, and running my business was running me ragged. My husband was running the house, cooking, cleaning, and managing the kids. I was working constantly. Romance and date night as the last thing on my mind. I just wanted one freaking night of good sleep.
Luckily, I got better at running my business, my baby started sleeping through the night, and things started to even out.
Phew! Get me a babysitter — I need a date with my husband, stat!
The Problem With Date Nights
It’s no joke, that a great date night can rekindle the romance in any relationship. You’re out of your normal routine, doing something fun, enjoying each others’ company. You’re not in yoga pants or pajamas, you’ve got on a hot outfit, you’re wearing makeup, you feel confident and sexy. Who wouldn’t enjoy a night like that?!
The problem is that date nights don’t happen often enough for most couples. I know because for a long stretch there, date nights for us happened only once every few months — everything else centered around the kids.
It’s easy for everyday life to get in the way and push date night to the side. As working parents, we’re juggling dance classes, karate classes, soccer practice and weekend games, school, homework, errands, laundry, housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, vehicle maintenance, landscape maintenance, running our business, doing our job, and more. We also have special events, recitals, family obligations, holidays, work events, meetings, work travel, family vacations, birthday parties, play dates, and other stuff filling our days.
With all of these things in your schedule, it’s easy to make time for everything but your spouse and your marriage.
You don’t do it on purpose, it’s just really easy to feel so busy that you start to take them for granted. “They’ll understand,” you tell yourself. “They know how busy we are,” you think. And suddenly you find yourself rationalizing the time you do spend together. After all, you did just empty the dishwasher together while talking about your weekend plans, and you are going to watch Netflix together before one of you falls asleep tonight, right?!
Now you’re in a rut. It feels like the romance in your marriage is fading. You don’t feel special. You may even feel like you’re more best friends than lovers. You tell yourself it’s normal. That every couple goes through this. That it is just a phase.
But what if it’s not? What if it is the start of something worse?
Date Nights Rekindle Romance
A long time ago a friend told me that date night is much cheaper than therapy. I laughed at the time, but now I can totally see it.
I love my husband. He is my best friend. The one person I want to share everything with and spend almost all my time with. And, while I know he feels the same way, as much as we love each other, life can get in the way.
It’s up to us to make our marriage a priority. It’s our job to show our spouse how much we love them, to make them feel loved and appreciated, and valued — we can’t get lazy about love or love will get lazy about us.
Whenever we could, we have always made time for date nights and date lunches. There is just something special about getting dressed up, putting on makeup, and going out with your spouse to walk around and hold hands, to snuggle at a movie, to dance at a concert, or to just have fun and smile and laugh, and fall in love all over again.
Date nights are good for the soul of a marriage.
They are an opportunity to escape the everyday, to get out of the house, to leave work behind, and to just focus on each other. To talk and listen, and just enjoy being together.
Making Date Night Happen
I’m a big fan of babysitters.
Luckily my entire family lives close to us and my mom and Brian’s mom both watch our kids. We also have some incredible friends with three daughters who are like my nieces, and we have hired each one as our babysitter until they graduated high school.
But I know babysitters can be expensive. We pay ours $10/hour, so we have to account for an extra $40-$100 on top of the normal date night cost, which can add up quickly — and I know that isn’t always in the cards for everyone.
So here are some of our favorite dates that don’t require a lot of money:
- Instead of dinner and a babysitter, go out to lunch while the kids are at school.
- Trade babysitting with a friend, so one weekend you can have a date night, and the next weekend they can have a date night.
- Do a day date instead of a night time date — grab a coffee and window shop while you browse the outdoor mall. Or even better, grab a coffee and hit a walking trail.
- Hit a daytime movie while the kids are at school instead of going out to lunch, or better yet, take the whole day off while the kids are at school.
- Hit up a local concert. We have seen some amazing local shows that are just as good as, if not better than, some of the big expensive shows we’ve seen — and tickets are only $10-$20 each!
- Send the kids on an overnight with grandma and grandpa and then stay home, cooking dinner together and watching a non-kid movie before 10:00 at night.
Maintaining a healthy, strong, romance-filled marriage takes work and effort, as all truly worthwhile things do.
Making time for a date night makes us happier, stronger, and better together, and building a strong marriage means we’ll be also better parents, setting a better example for our children about what a happy, healthy marriage looks like.
So open up your calendar and put a date night on it. Or add two or three date nights. Write them in ink and commit to making them happen. Because when you make time for regular date nights, you’re making a statement that your marriage matters, that you’re in it for the long haul, and that you value it and your spouse.
What About You?
Have you struggled to make time for a date night with your spouse? Do you find it challenging with all of your daily to-dos? How often do you get out together just the two of you? Have date nights made your marriage stronger? Anyone else do day dates during the school day?
I’d love to hear from you?