*We here at Detroit Mom honor the different family dynamics and relationship types; whether you are married/in a long-term relationship or spouse/partner, whatever term fits for you, feel free to replace the terms we have included in the article.
You probably have successfully dated at one time in your life, and then that may have led you to marriage or a long-term committed relationship. Then perhaps you got that job you always wanted, or the one that pays the bills, and maybe you went the route of children. Then years go by and maybe like my marriage, you looked around and realized that you have prioritized everything else EXCEPT the relationship with your partner.
Maybe we took those vows a little too serious and are all just relying on “’til death do us part.” We may be thinking that since we had a strong foundation before the kids, that will surely sustain us through the next 60 plus years. However, not prioritizing your relationship with your partner can have some serious impacts on your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, your intimate relationship, and your family.
It won’t be an immediate impact; it will most likely be a gradual crack to the structure of your foundation. But to continue with the metaphor, these cracks begin to become noticeable, and you begin to feel unstable and uneasy because things aren’t as solid as they once were.
The Excuses to Not Date Your Spouse
Maybe you don’t even realize how much time has flown by since you’ve last had a date with your partner. Maybe you want to have a date, but there are a million reasons why date night is impossible:
- Babysitters. It’s hard to find someone you trust, and then paying a babysitter can be expensive.
- It takes prior planning. We say we are too busy to plan.
- No energy. We all just worked 40 plus hour work weeks, played part-time taxi driver for our kids, and then did math homework and created Mount Rushmore via all the laundry in the house. We don’t have the energy to do one extra thing.
- Money. We think it should be spent to pay off debt, saved, or spent on the kids. There is guilt with spending money on ourselves.
- Family experiences. We think that we shouldn’t go out just the two of us; we should do things as a family.
And the list goes on and on . . .
Remember This Quote
“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” –Ryan Blair
If your marriage/long-term relationship is important, you will find a way to ensure that the foundation stays solid. That initial budding love and lust will not be the sustaining force to get your through the newborn nighttime diaper changes, the tension between hectic sports schedules, and all the other dynamics of parenthood.
Another reason to continue dating your spouse is that you are probably not the same person you were when you initially dated your spouse. You have grown up, matured, and changed your viewpoints on certain things. Dating your spouse gives you the opportunity to continue to grow together in an intimate way, not a “ships passing in the night” kind of way.
The Logistics: How to Date Your Spouse
Ready to date your spouse? Here’s how to make it happen.
- Make it a priority. Like going to the dentist or having food in the fridge, date nights are non-negotiable and must happen.
- Decide how often. Maybe you start with once a month going out of the house, or once a week in the house? You decide with your schedule what is reasonable and won’t add stress.
- Decide who will watch the kids. Check in with family members, other friends with kids (do a babysitting exchange!), or other trusted sitters.
- Decide what to do. This is the fun part because the options are endless! Comedy club, new restaurant, working out together, hiking, exploring a new town, checking out a local festival, movie theater, going to a sporting event, pizza and a movie at home, game night at home, poker night, and on and on.
Looking for more ideas? There is a book called Take the Date Night Challenge: 52 Creative Ideas to Make Your Marriage Fun. The premise is ensuring that at least once a week, you have a date inside the house or going out. Apps can also help with date night–Gottman Card Decks is an app that has questions to help fuel conversations around appreciation, expressing needs, empathy, and intimacy, and includes open-ended questions. You can also find local deals–check Groupon for discounts on local events and activities.
We all know that Valentine’s Day just passed by, but don’t settle for sharing appreciation and having time alone with your spouse for only one day a year. Commit to dating your spouse with the same energy you did when you first met.
Cheers to date nights!