Mike and I have only been married 7 years, but early in our marriage we realized that we needed to continue dating. Relationships are never stagnant. They are always changing, always evolving. Growing closer requires us to be intentional. Drifting apart requires no effort. Having a weekly date is the one thing that helps keep us close in this every-changing, always-busy life.
Now, to be honest: the term “date night” makes me cringe. It sounds soooo boring – like something middle-aged people with children do out of obligation. But whatever you want to call it, regularly investing in our marriage is one of the highlights of my week.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few years
- Make it a priority. I can’t let the challenge of his public safety schedule deter us from scheduling regular time together. I love the idea of a set night of the week that is our date night. Since this isn’t an option, I have to choose to look at our schedule weekly and find a time that works. This requires a level of flexibility on my part.
- Decide who is responsible for planning the dates. When we were first married we both worked but Mike had more time to plan. Now that I am home and he works 2 jobs I’m usually making the plans (though he does regularly share ideas).
- Have a plan. Spontaneous dates are awesome, but let’s face it: with 3 kids, 2 jobs, a house we’re renovating, soccer practices/games, ballet, etc. nothing happens unless we have a plan. Choosing not only a day/time but also what we are doing makes it possible for us to look forward to our date.
- Do what works for you. My first two pregnancies I worked full-time and had an exceptionally long commute. By the time date night rolled around, I was exhausted, hormonal and all I wanted was to prop up my huge swollen feet and go to bed. So we switched our dates up and began enjoying morning breakfast dates. Find what works for you in the season of life you’re currently in.
- Think outside the box. Dinner and a movie always seems like the classic date. But I love looking for simple, fun things we can enjoy together – a local play, a walk around our downtown area, etc.
- Mini dates count.
If you’re in an extremely challenging season of life where time or money is very limited, consider planning small, simple dates. Watching Netflix at home, playing a board game or simply enjoying a cup of coffee together. A few years ago Mike was working 2 jobs, I had just quit my job and was taking multiple classes and we were renovating our house while temporarily living in a cramped apartment with our 2 toddlers. Most of our date nights were to Dunkin Donuts and Home Depot. It wasn’t my idea of romantic, but…it worked for where we were in life.
This past year one of our goals, as a couple, has been to be more consistent and intentional in dating each other. There is no end to the amount of work we do together. Raising 3 kids, renovating our home, discussing finances/goals/plans. This one thing – making time each week to enjoy our marriage, has been such a huge win for us.
How often do you and your spouse date? What makes a date night a win for you?