I know, I know. It's been way too long since your last date night, right? Parenting is exhausting. Between juggling family's needs, managing careers, taking care of the house, paying bills, never-ending chores, life is super busy. At the end of the day, tired couples don't have the time or energy to plan one more thing. If date night is a distant memory, it’s time to put it on your calendar asap!
Date night isn’t a luxury. It’s about keeping your relationship with your partner strong.
It’s not about finding the time, it’s about making the time.
Whether your children are babies or teens, it’s easy to get wrapped up in their lives and forget to carve out special time for your partner. Stay connected to each other. It’ll keep you saner through the many crazy parenting days. And, it shows your kids what healthy relationships look like.
Date night matters. Keep it stress-free. Focus on having time to be alone together, having some quality time. It doesn't have to be fancy or break the bank, as long as the focus is on the two of you.
When my kids were little, we were so busy trying to figure out how to do the parenting thing that we didn’t miss our old spontaneity. We were too busy with baths and bedtime, playing, and feeding to even want to leave them. Friday nights often found us folding laundry and straightening up the house. We snuggled into that happy parenting routine, loving it. But also not realizing that we were forgetting to nourish our relationship as husband and wife.
We finally got out for a nice, quiet (no kids!) dinner. And all we talked about was our kids. Were they okay? Were they sleeping? Did the babysitter remember that Curious George was always, always one of the bedtime books? Oh, hey, the kids would love to go to the zoo... Kids, kids, kids….what about us?
We were connecting more as mom and dad, rather than husband and wife.
Today, every Friday night is date night at our house. We’ve started doing this when my son and daughter were in middle school. At first, we laughed about how hard it was not to talk about our children when we were out. We decided that taking time for each other was a top priority. We love knowing that Friday is our time to catch up, reconnect, and kick off the weekend.
How do you get the balance back once you become parents, so that you can also be a couple again?
It’s really important to celebrate being a couple, without guilt. Make the time for each other! If you keep talking about getting out together, but it doesn’t happen, make it happen.
Put. Date. Night. On. The. Calendar.
Set the intention to spend a few hours with each other. Mark your calendar so you can both look forward to your time together.
Then, hire a sitter or arrange a sleepover for the kids. Make the commitment, and let the plan fall into place. Decide what you’re going to do. Buy tickets, make reservations if needed. Pick a town to explore. When you have a definite date to look forward to, you’ll feel the energy of anticipation.
- Take a moonlight walk, hold hands and enjoy the starry night.
- Hike in the woods, stop for lunch on the way.
- Check out that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
- Put the kids to bed, turn on the monitor, and have a picnic at night in your backyard.
- Reserve seats at a newly renovated movie theater, and relax in the comfortable reclining chairs. Find a theater that also serves drinks or dinner, and you’re all set.
- Enjoy the vibe at a local craft brewery.
- Sign up for cooking lessons together and enjoy a delicious meal when you’re done cooking.
Oh, but you want to be spontaneous, you say? Not to worry. Block out a time that you know you can make happen. Put it on the calendar, at least once a month. Schedule the time, hire a sitter. That’s it! Nothing else needs to be done if you want to be in the moment. Once you've got a few hours set up, you've got flexibility to do anything. When date night comes, you’re all set to be spontaneous. Head out and have fun!
It’s never too early or too late to put aside time to reconnect. Honoring your relationship as a couple sends a clear message to your children about healthy and balanced relationships.
Do things together now, and as the kids grow up, you’ll have a deeper relationship with your partner. Do things together. Take up new hobbies. Travel. Adventure. Listen to each other. That way, you’ll always have lots to look forward to as your kids grow up.
Don’t wait for someday, schedule it today. Monthly, weekly, whatever works for you. Make it happen now!
Denise Fountain is a Life Transitions Specialist and Certified Professional Coach. She works with women going through transitions to rediscover themselves and create lives that are happy, healthy and whole again. Together with her clients, she explores the connection between stress, health and happiness, and guides her clients to move forward to make lasting and sustainable changes.
Denise is passionate about helping women live their best lives. Denise provides coaching for clients living anywhere by phone or Skype, and is available for speaking engagements and workshops. Sign up for updates. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Denise can partner with you to create the life you dream of.