I’m sure all parents of young children have heard of the importance of date nights. How can it be avoided, when we talk about how tired and disconnected from our partners we are? They seem to be the magic solution: just go out for dinner! See a movie! Put on your sexy underwear and make a night of it!
But lots of us can’t handle that kind of pressure. And it does feel like pressure, to not only plan ahead and stick to the plan, but to also make it a fantastic night. Marshalling that kind of energy can be exhausting just to think about, never mind execute. It’s enough to turn off even the most well-meaning and amorous partner.
The concept behind “date night” is still valid though: we need to spend more quality time with our partners. I’ve written before about the small ways to connect each day and why it’s important to do just that, but now I’m talking about the next step. While the daily attention and moments together are crucial, so is having longer, protected time for the two of you. These are your real moments of connection and intimacy; your marriage needs them. The key is to find the balance between the pressure and just doing it.
Maybe you need to avoid the hassle of finding a babysitter, or your budget just doesn’t allow for a fancy night out these days. If you’re going to stay home, get creative. The point is not that we need to be doing anything in particular, but that we put aside the time and get ourselves into the mindset of being excited to spend that time with our partners. Unplug and use your time together to reconnect. Just enjoy one another’s company.
If you just can’t unwind when you’re home because you know there’s laundry to fold, then get out! It still doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. Have a sitter come over for a few hours, while the two of you grab a coffee or a drink. If the weather’s nice, go for a walk along the lake or a hike through the woods.
The only rule for date night is this: no “business” talk. Perhaps this means your work, but it also means the business of running your family. This isn’t the time to sort out who’s going to pick up the kids this week or whether or not you should replace the fridge. You’re on a date! This is the time to talk about you, both of you. Reconnect with the people you are, outside of being parents. Your marriage will thank you.