Monday, June 18, 2018

4 Tips On Making A Regular Date Night Happen




Making a regular date night happen can feel like a major impossibility to couples who are working long hours, keeping kiddos fed and clean, and keeping up with household maintenance.  So basically, making date night happen probably feels like a major impossibility (or at least uncertainty) for almost every married couple with kids.  

First of all, let me say:  I get it.  Just after my oldest son was born, my husband and I discovered that we had spent six months slowly drifting apart without even realizing it.  We were so hyper-focused  on all that work, volunteering, and now parenting required that it took a while for us to notice something was off.

When we finally did come to our senses, we realized something kind of awesome:  we missed each other.  We missed laughing together, we missed having fun.  We missed truly connecting with each other, and we missed the people we were before our sweet baby boy came along.  We realized:  we were pretty cool back in the day (or so we thought).  And we decided:  we need to be those people again, together.

So what did we do?  You guessed it.  We made date night a priority.  And guess what else?  Through many years of consistent date nights, we have a rock solid marriage that we have worked hard to cultivate.  The best part?  Date night is something we both look forward to.  Because we are continually realizing that not only do we love each other, but we like each other...we really like each other.

If you've been feeling like you haven't been as connected to your spouse lately, or you simply don't have the time or money for a regular date night, allow me to share 4 tips on making it happen.

1. Schedule a date night once a month.  If you have young kids at home, a weekly date night might sound amazing, but it's probably a lofty goal.  In my experience, it has been much easier to make date night happen when we schedule it once a month.  At the beginning of each month (like when you first flip that calendar page over and say "rabbit rabbit"), schedule your date night.  Put it on the calendar.  In Sharpie.  Tell your spouse when you think the best night for date night will be, and ask their input.  Then, no matter what, keep that night (or day) just for the two of you. 

2. Make date night non-negotiable.  Eventually, you may run into "something else came up."  Or "we have to _______ (work late, go out with friends, attend a party)."  I get it.  Life happens.  Every once in a while (and I mean like once a year), you may have to re-schedule or just forgo date night altogether.  But for the most part, date night should be a non-negotiable.  If you have to miss it, re-schedule it within the same month if possible.  Trust me, once you begin connecting regularly on date night, you and your spouse will be sad to miss it.  So make sure you do what you have to do to keep it happening.  

3. Have a no-spend date night.  $20 for movie tickets.  $20 for movie snacks.  $40 for a babysitter.  Before you know it, it's easy to rack up a hefty bill on date night (this is literally why we go to movies like once a year).  But the best news ever about date night is that it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.  In fact, as I shared on a recent Instagram Live, my favorite date nights are usually the ones that are free!  My husband and I love to sit out on our deck, listening to music.  We love to watch a movie at home (but we do spring for movie theater popcorn...come on, that's the best part!).  We love to play a game or even just read together (nerd alert, I know!).  The point is, you don't have to spend a cent to connect with your spouse, so there's no need to get hung up on not having a lot of money.  There's no need to even leave your house, if you don't want to!  Once the kids are in bed, try one of these fun self-care date nights with your spouse!

4. Think about what will happen if you never actually do date night.  This last tip is the kicker.  I do exercises like this with my clients all the time.  Think about what will happen if you NEVER ever have a date night.  Ten days from now, you might not feel much different than you do right now.  Ten weeks from now you will likely feel super disconnected from your spouse, and maybe even resentful or bitter, or at least sad about it.  Ten years from now...well, I really don't want to even want to speculate about it, but I doubt you would be happier and have a healthier marriage.  

The point is, if we care enough about something, we will find a way to make it happen.  It's hard to feel like something is urgent when we are not in the habit of prioritizing it.  I feel the same way about exercise.  I know I should be exercising, and that it's really good for me, and that the long term effects of exercise are awesome and medically proven.  And yet, if I don't really think about what will happen in ten days, ten weeks, and ten years without exercising, it's easy for me to just live another day not doing it. 

Likewise, if we value our marriage, we will do what it takes to keep it healthy.  Date night isn't the end all, be all, but it for sure helps. 

If you are struggling to make a regular date night happen, feel free to download this free date night planner!  I know I sound like a huge nerd, but if you don't plan for something, it's probably not going to happen.  So print it off, plan something fun, and let us know if you have any other great ideas for making sure date night happens in the comments!

   
   
   
   
   


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