At the end of last year I hadn’t had a date for several weeks. It was wearing on me and became frustrating. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find a date, as I had someone who wanted to date me (my wife). But we just couldn’t get it done. I’m learning this is pretty common for married men and women … with kids.
The desire to date:
My wife and I have a desire to go out on a date a least once a week. But there are some stretches when we can’t even remember the last time we went on a date. Those stretches are rough, and our relationship reflects that. Recently, we have become pretty desperate for a date night.
Our biggest challenge is that we have three kids who all have busy schedules. Most of our friends have just as many kids, if not more, and don’t always want to add another three to the mix. But when you get desperate for a date night, you begin to make things happen.
This is exactly where we are right now. We have found a way to have consistent dates over the past several weeks, and we are enjoying it. We don’t want it to stop. So, we are making some changes to make sure we are able to say yes to date night more than we say no to it.
These same changes can help you get a date night more often as well.
Here are three ways to have a consistent date night:
1 – Create a date night line in your budget, and don’t be cheap.
I had a conversation the other day with someone who has college-aged children, and I received a great piece of advice. The advice was to budget for date nights, and to include enough to hire a baby sitter every single week.
And not just any baby sitter, but a good one (which will be more expensive). If your relationship and spending quality time with your spouse is important, then you’ll save on the Starbucks and spend on your spouse.
2 – Loosen up some with your childcare.
We have been very tight with who we allow to watch our kids. But we are learning we need to loosen up and trust things will be okay. Being so restrictive has prevented us from being able to consistently have dates, unless we overload our few baby sitters who typically watch our kids.
3 – Get creative and find a way … no. Make a way.
Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. This may mean a late at-home date after the kids go to sleep. Or you may even have to take the kids with you, to a place where they can play and be preoccupied while you enjoy some time together while in the same place.
The bottom line: Whatever you have to do to spend time with your spouse, find a way to get it done. Maybe Sunday evening is marriage night for you at home. The kids can have fun free time all day, but come 7 or 8pm they are shutting it down, so by 8:30 to 9pm they are in bed and you are alone with your spouse.
Your relationship is too important
Our marriages are too important to not find a way to invest in them. Whatever you have to do, do it. Getting a date night can be the difference in you having a lasting and complete marriage versus just being married.
This is not an exhaustive list. What would you add?
More on relationships from Jackie: