Sometimes I have to laugh about how “stressed out” we were in the days before we had our kids. I’m sure we were a little stressed but it was definitely a different kind of stress.
Before kids our date nights were almost every single night. Very rarely did we have a girls night or guys night out that prevented us from being with each other. Even if that did happen we still came home to each other and had no other distractions.
Fast forward a few years when we were 2 1/2 years into our marriage. Our first baby arrived. It was everything we dreamed of and even more. Our “goal” to have a big family was just beginning but as we heard it certainly changed so much.
We added 4 more babies in a very short amount of time. We worked well as a team but it was easy to see how our time together was harder and harder to find.
We were going on date nights maybe twice a year. I was exhausted and the thought of arranging for childcare seemed even more exhausting so it was definitely not at the top of my priority list.
This is partly how January Date Nights happened. I wanted to be more intentional in my marriage and date nights was a practical way to spend time with each other.
Now that our kids are older, it is a little easier to get date nights in. Finding childcare is still a challenge, but we don’t have any infants and the kids can (mostly) manage themselves. So, we have even arranged playdates for our date nights.
However, if you are still parenting young ones here are my top tips for date nights and your relationship.
- Find what works for you to have time together. Personally, a date night doesn’t “count” unless we get out of the house. Now, this can mean a walk in our neighborhood, but I just have to get out. For other people this could mean a date night in. Put the kids to bed and have dinner and a movie at home.
- Plan for a night away. I wish I had done this more and trust me it is so hard to do. But if you can get just one night away it is so good for you, your spouse and your kids.
- Talk about date nights. Even if you can’t make it happen talk about fun things you would do on your next date night. Planning and dreaming about little dates and big dates is a great way to communicate and also to have something to look forward to.
- Take the kids. It’s ok. If it is your only option having a change of scenery is always good. And take advantage of restaurants that offer a Kids Eat Free night. Check out The Big Fish Grill.
- Give yourself grace. If you can’t get out for date nights that’s ok. I think the most important part is that you are trying and seeing how important it is.
- Give your partner grace. He/she needs to know it is ok if your dream of a date night doesn’t happen.