The other day, I was trying to arrange an evening business meeting with someone. I suggested a certain date and time and he said, “Sorry, no way, that’s date night for my wife and me!” I praised him for not only having a date night but for being so committed to it. “I don’t think we’d have a marriage without them,” he said. Wow, strong words and especially coming from a man, I have to say. Good for him and good for all couples who commit to having regular date nights.
When our kids were younger, we aimed to have a date night every two weeks. Sometimes it happened and sometimes it didn’t. When it did, we both looked forward to it, got a little dressed up, like we did before we were married, and made it feel like a real event. We tried very hard to uphold our “no talk of kids, money, house or work” rule which was really hard. I mean, when you barely get a chance to exchange a full sentence in front of the kids, it’s pretty hard to carve out any time to talk about those essential things. We put a lot of pressure on those date nights to do what they were supposed to – help us reconnect as a couple. Why is that so important? Because if you aren’t a strong couple, those stresses and negative feelings are going to trickle down to the kids (and to everything and everyone else) and will become a dark cloud. A happy husband and wife are a happier daddy and mommy!
Make it a requirement to have a date night with your honey, having fun, talking about life and dreams, remembering who you are as an adult and as a partner to that person sitting across from you. Everyone will be better for it, whether you dress up or not, do something fancy or not and whether you let talk of the kids slip in, just a little.
I agree with Courtney completely on this one but would like to add a few points about why a formal date night doesn’t have to be SO important. Couples do put too much pressure on those date nights to be wildly romantic, mending any problems they may have, magically, over a steak and a bottle of wine. While getting away together, if only for an evening can be very beneficial, I think couples sometimes look for it to be this magic elixir which only ends up backfiring.
Instead, my advice is to just approach it as “yay, I get to spend some time alone with you!” and that’s it. And definitely don’t think every date has to be fancy or even at night, or even away from home. Some of the best “dates” Courtney and I have had were going on a walk together, sitting up in our room watching a movie while holding hands, grabbing a quick bite at a neighborhood restaurant, meeting for happy hour after work – it doesn’t have to be a big production. It just has to be the two of you, together, without the kids. The magic is the stronger relationship that comes from having nurtured who you are as a couple. And that lasts long after the date is over.