I unapologetically choose date nights over play dates, and I am not ashamed. Let me begin with the disclaimer. My choice to prioritize hubby play over kiddo play does not make me a better wife than every wife I know. This choice makes me the best wife for my husband. My friends are amazing moms. We arrange mom and me activities, buy countless toys, and schedule endless play dates. Unfortunately, perfect mom behavior did not prevent divorce and separation from plaguing the lives of my friends in this past year, and that was a wake-up call for me. But this post is not about failed marriages. This post is about my marriage pushing through some rough patches with an uncompromising resolve to date each other.
Date Nights Help Us Push Through
The really simple answer to this question is when we prioritize each other, it reaffirms our love. Most marriages have rough patches where disagreements, miscommunication, the absence of communication, disrespect, and an endless list of other issues are often barriers to marital bliss. In these moments, it is tempting to take a step back, withdraw from your spouse, or even completely throw in the towel. Ironically, it is during these tough times when it is most important to lean into your spouse. The date night shuts out the noise and helps us to push through to the other side of the conflict. This time alone forces us to narrow the tunnel and zoom in on the lovely things we know to be true about each other.
I Choose You
Each moment that we allow ourselves to be completely immersed in each other, we are non-verbally saying to each other, “I choose you.” We all want to be chosen! In our relationship, date night is a voluntary action that says, “I am here because I want to be here. I enjoy spending time with you. I moved some things around, I put on real pants, and I combed my hair. When I could have spent the afternoon at Sharon’s house with the kids, Legos, and Lunchables, I chose you.” This feeling of being chosen easily takes us back to earlier moments in the relationship where it was more obvious that you were being chosen. Remember the long, late night phone calls, expensive dates, and romantic getaways? After sleep, budgeting, and working overtime became more important, we have to be more intentional to remind each other that we are still choosing each other.
Saying NO to the Kids
I know this may feel like Bad Mom 101, but I promise the rewards of a happy marriage are felt by all. My children know when there is mom-dad tension in the air. After an argument, my daughter asks if everything be OK. Of course I tell her yes, but when we go out on a date, it shows them yes. With busy schedules and opposite tracks, mom and dad can be like ships in the night. When we take a break from the kids and indulge in each other, we come back refreshed and motivated to be better parents and better lovers of each other. The kids definitely win in the end even if you have to say NO to get to the win. Some people say, “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” but I definitely say, “Happy Parents, Happy Kids.”
Let’s Be Practical
If you are a planner, you may be wondering how this all works out. You can choose a designated date night day and stick to it, or you can go with the flow. I like regularly planned outings, but our life doesn’t always allow a scheduled date night on the same day and time. We do keep a family calendar and can easily see “kids: five activities” and “mom and dad: NONE.” Alert! Alert! Let’s schedule some time. Also, when considering booking a kids’ activity, I look around the date and check to see if I am overbooking the kids and thus eliminating possibilities for date nights. I’m always thinking of ways to spend time with the hubby. If this is not your natural orientation, think of starting with the once a month date. Start by finding childcare and finding out their availability, then find the perfect date for that time slot.