Everyone says you need to have a “date night,” make sure to keep the spark alive, yada yada yada. But you know what, date nights are HARD!
- You have to find a babysitter. This is not always an easy task. Days or even weeks before your big night on the town, you have to contact multiple people that you trust enough to keep your kids alive for a few hours, ask them to give up a perfectly good night that they could be doing something else and figure out what the appropriate payment is for sitting on your couch and eating your food while the kids are asleep.
- You have to figure out what you are going to actually do. What did we do when this was just a regular night that we left the house and not a special “date night?” I suppose we did lots of things like go to movies, meet friends for dinner or drinks, went to sporting events or concerts, heck even went bowling – but now it feels like there is pressure on it, that a night out of the house has to be meaningful and worthwhile.
- You have to cultivate the energy to actually participate. By the time it gets to Friday night, take out, sweatpants and Handmaid’s Tale on the couch sounds pretty good…but we have to make an effort to be married and not just roommates. We have to try and maintain a conversation about something other than just the kids (what did we used to talk about again?) and not just count the minutes until we get to go to bed.
I really do believe in the need to keep 1-on-1 time with your spouse, to reconnect, to laugh and brush off some of that kid-stress, but the truth is, I can find the pressure and expectation of the “date night” to be really difficult. I hype up this picture of romance and connection like a movie, and am disappointed when it ends up like a regular night.
So what to do? How do I not set myself up for disappointment? If I’m being honest…I’m still working on it! I’ve got some ideas though-
My first plan is to curb the expectation. No matter how stirring or flat the conversation, we’re there, together. We’ve both made an effort to attend, to make time for each other, and that is the worthwhile in itself. Whether we’re at Taco Bell or a fancy new five star restaurant, the where and how are less important than the time together.
Then I need to simply be present. I don’t have to be witty and hilarious, cool or sexy – I just have to put my phone down, stop thinking about what I have left to do in the kitchen, and enjoy getting out and doing something.
Wait is that it? Really be there and just be happy to be there? I know, it doesn’t seem very spectacular huh?
Isn’t that true for most of life though – be there, focus on what is happening right then and not the before, the after or the Instagram notification that just dinged. Then be happy to be there, even if something is not going how you planned it or how you wish, find joy in being there.
I’ll report back on the results!
I’d love to hear what you do to make sure you make the most of the time with your spouse, comment below!
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