Making Time for Date Night– Once and For All

I think society (and women’s magazines) do young couples a disservice in their constant promoting of and insistance upon “Date Nights.”  I can remember reading articles that waxed eloquent on how vital it is to schedule date nights out just as soon as humanly possible after you have a baby.  I pored over pages that insisted that the best, really the ONLY, way to keep your marriage in good shape was to hire a sitter and go out!


The authors made some good points.  It’s important to reconnect with your spouse, for one.  It’s critical to always honor and work on that relationship, for another.  And, so, I think when you’re in that newborn haze, it’s easy to read these things and think that, if you don’t make it happen, you’re failing your marriage.


BUT.  I’ve had three babies now.  All born in different places and circumstances.  And I’m going to tell you some truths that those articles conveniently omit:

  1. You might not want to leave your baby right away.  (And that is okay!!!)
  2. You might not have local family you can trust to watch your baby.
  3. You may not be able to afford (or willing to trust) a sitter.
  4. A meal out or a movie or whatever might be cost-prohibitive.
  5. You might feel too tired to go out at night.  (And this is understandable.)


So.  While scheduling a regular “Date Night” with a capital D and N might just seem overwhelming, that doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed or that you’re a failure.  But it also doesn’t mean that you should scrap the idea of making time for date nights.  Because I truly believe you should.


Figure out what makes it special for YOU.


I love to anticipate things.  I’m just that kind of girl.  Surprises are lovely, but I sometimes feel like I missed out on the best part– the whole “looking forward to it” part!  So, around here, we have date nights on Wednesday nights.  Our older two children have karate that night, so I feed them early (before class) and my husband picks up take-out on the way home for us to share after they’re tucked in.  I look forward to Wednesdays all week!  Hey– that’s tonight!! :)


Make it special.


“Special” does not need to mean reservations at a four-star French restaurant.  “Special” can mean clearing off the coffee table, lighting a candle, and eating a burger.  For me, “special” basically just means “different from the norm.”  So, while we ordinarily eat around the round kitchen table as a family with an overhead light beaming above, on date nights, we eat by the glass coffee table with a fat white candle burning, side-by-side on the couch.  And that’s special!


Set the scene.


I already mentioned the candle.  I also try to dress a little cute on date nights.  Sometimes?  This means I’m whipping out the skirts and pretty stockings.  Other nights?  It’s well-fitting jeans and a flattering knit top.  It’s never jammie pants or hoodies. ;)  My candle is scented with jasmine, which is also the scent I’ve worn since way back when I won the heart of this man of mine.  These things kind of “flip the switch” for both of us– they’re little signals that the night is special and significant.


Be intentional.


This is really what it’s about, my friends.  Establishing regular date nights is not about having to “go out” all the time or create a new column in your budget.  The difference between “date nights” and just any other Wednesday night around here is that we are intentional.  We plan it.  We KNOW that we are going to be together, focused on one another, sharing a private meal and laughing by candlelight.  We can watch a movie on Netflix or play a silly video game.  We can sip wine or make milkshakes.  It DOES NOT MATTER.  “Date night” is not defined by what we do, but by how we do it.  We do it together and we focus on one another.


Don’t be discouraged.


Fussy newborns.  Feverish toddlers.  Spouses who travel or work super late.  Life happens!  And that doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  It means you’re in a marriage.  And that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.  If you’re taking the time to regularly nurture your marriage and enjoy one another, those wrinkles in the plan are far less bothersome.  And if you’ve planned a rockin’ at- home date?  You’re likely not out a dime, either.  Roll with punches and enjoy the ride…


And, really, resolve to make time for date nights.  How’s next Wednesday sound? ;)


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