Marriage and Parenting: Date Night
Date nights when you become parents may seem like a thing of the past, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Many people already have the idea that once you’re married, the flame goes down and once you have kids, the flame is completely gone! This does not have to be true! The flame can actually become larger than it was even BEFORE marriage! It just takes planning, communication, and desire! Welcome to PART 2 of the Marriage and Parenting series: DATE NIGHT!!!
Date night is a MUST in a marriage! Before marriage, it’s common ground. It’s what you do. Go out on dates. But in a marriage, it is a REQUIREMENT! You have to keep going out on dates, and even if those dates are not actually going out! Some, you can have with the kids. (Family/Date night) But try to have as many one-on-one, withOUT the kids date nights. I have a few ideas below. The reason for this is to keep the spark going. As long as there is a spark, there can always be a flame. But once the spark goes out, there’s nothing to start the flame when it dies. Date night is that spark that keeps the fire going!
Think about it, you are married, you have kids, you have jobs, you have housework, you have errands, and you see each other every day and the busy daily routine becomes the norm and you’re just used to how things are and you become partners in managing a busy home and family and no longer lovers! But date night back in your lives (or KEEP it in your lives) and you will definitely stay LOVERS throughout all of the business of life, work, and kids.
Let date night be a reminder of why you two are together. Let date night be a reminder of why you even like each other. Let date night be a reason to be a teenager again! You remember how it felt when you had that crush on someone and you would pass notes. You remember the “I like you. Do you like me? Circle Yes or No” letters! Remember that feeling you had? The excitement, the butterflies in your tummy! The awkwardness! Date night should keep that same tingling feeling going throughout your marriage!
Every marriage needs that constant reminder of why you chose each other and wanted to be together in the first place and how it felt. Date night helps you do this. Sometimes we get caught up in arguments and disagreements that we forget how it felt to actually like and crush on the other person. The point to date night is to be intentional. Intend to like your spouse. Intend to smile with them. Intend to laugh with them. Intend to enjoy yourselves. All despite any arguments. Arguments should be kept to a minimum, anyway, but I will discuss that in next month’s Marriage and Parenting Series Part 3. But with date night, you should intend to have a fun and romantic time with your spouse. Ladies, I know we can hold on to things and take disagreements into the fifth month!!! But date night, you need to let it go. Date night is not about right or wrong. It’s not about winning or losing unless you’re playing a game like bowling, then in that case- TEAM WIFEY!!! (LOL)
Date night is about being intentional about spending quality time with your spouse and keeping the romantic flame going. It’s hard to enjoy a date night if you still bugging about the dishes left in the sink. Save that for tomorrow. Now is time for some romance. You do know that can push pause on the negative stuff, right? (or delete it altogether) But if your marriage is as serious to you as it should be, then you know or will learn how to push pause on being mad about something because it’s time for us to have some romance! You do this by the two of you agreeing to hold off the disagreement until an appointed time and agree to move forward with having a lovely evening together. Push pause on the disagreement, enjoy your night, and come back the next day or whenever to discuss the disagreement civilly. This way, you show you still love each other, you still like each other, and you can handle your disputes maturely. It also shows the other that you aren’t going anywhere because of some disagreement. It shows that even in the middle of a disagreement, you INTEND on being loved and showing love!
Now that I’ve gone into details as to WHY date night is important, here are some ways to make that happen, even when you’re parents!!!
Date Night with the Kids (Family Night)
1- Eat out at a small restaurant (pizza or burger place, ice-cream, etc.). This way, you have the casual scenery suitable for kids, but the intimacy to still be close to hubby…
2- Go on a walk in the park. Pack the stroller and hold hands while baby and kids enjoy the park! Also, date night doesn’t have to always be at night. It can be date day…ok, maybe not, but you get the idea!
3- Game night! Parents vs. Kids! Every time you two win or score, reward each other with a smooch! The kids may think it’s gross, but it will give them a heads up not to interrupt later on when they are supposed to be in bed…
4- Go for a drive. The two of you can have an intimate conversation and reconnect and rebuild that communication while the kids are in the backseat more than likely fast asleep. If they are not much backseat sleepers, give them some activities to do or have conversations where you reconnect as a family to include the kids while the two of you admire each other’s great parenting…
5- Have a movie night in bed. Or maybe just movie night in the living so you two can easily sneak away to the bed…alone… Either way, use this time to snuggle and look at the beautiful children that came from the love that you two have! This is a great time to relax and enjoy a movie, but also a time to reflect. Marriage and kids can be stressful, time-consuming, and just plain exhausting, but when you take the time to stop and look, a family is very beautiful and such wonderful blessing!!!
Date Night WITHOUT the Kids
*First, in order to enjoy a kid-free date night, get a reliable babysitter! Plan your date night outings around whoever may be available to watch the little ones. Once planned out, stick to it and go out and enjoy yourselves!
1- Go to a small or casual restaurant. The same casual setting with the kids also works when the two of you want to just hang out together…meaning, laugh and joke while playing footsies under the table… (My favorites are Zaxby’s, Marcos Pizza, TGI Fridays, and Buffalo Wild Wings)
2- Go to an intimate/romantic restaurant. Go somewhere where the two of you can get dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner.
3- Go play! Like bowling and miniature golf. A good competition can be an excuse to get in each other’s face and also challenge the other to do something about it when you get home…
4- Have a spa day together. Nothing like his and hers massages…especially if you massage each other…Background music, low lighting, massage oils, and you got yourself a FREE massage plus a deluxe package afterward!
5- Go for a drive. This time alone, without the kids and just talk, sing, reminisce, etc. Whatever you do, enjoy each other’s company!
6- Take a walk in the park. Or by a lake, if you live near one. I live about 45 minutes from one and it has a really cool bridge which makes the perfect place for a couple to walk and hold hands and just listen to each other’s heart. The point is, get out into nature and bond!
7- Go on a double date. Call that other great couple you love and you all go out and have a couples evening! This is fun because you are hanging out with friends, but also great because you get to bounce ideas off of each other and really talk marriage! A fun and relaxed way to get other perspectives on marriage without feeling attacked. Hear what others deal with and how they deal with it and talk about what would work for you two. You can’t do all the same things everyone else does, but what others do can give you ideas for your own. Plus, it makes marriage issues more approachable because you all can laugh about it and feel safe with sharing.
8- Have a movie night. Pick a movie on Netflix or wherever you stream movies (or put in a DVD), pop some popcorn, blend up a yummy drink, pull out the blankets, turn down the lights, and cuddle on the couch or in bed and have a movie night! Just the two of you!!! Going out to the movies is fun, but there’s just something about being home snuggled up with your hubby that makes a home movie night way more romantic. Just try not to fall asleep half way through the movie!!!!!
9- Get pedicures together. This can be a real treat, for the both of you. It’s relaxing and so much stress is held in the feet. Sometimes, a marriage needs a stress reliever…okay, a lot of times! And there’s a natural stress reliever, but sometimes a pedicure is a fun way to get out of the house and come back refreshed!
10- Have a romantic dinner at home together. Notice how there are several ways to have really nice date nights without even leaving your home? Plan a romantic dinner together at home for just the two of you. Order out or one of you prepare the meal yourself. Set up candles, turn down the lights, turn on soft music, pull out the champagne glasses…c’mon, need I say more! Go all out!!! Go on a romantic dinner date right there in your kitchen! You don’t have to leave your home to get romance! The more you do this, the more you can make any moment at home and any room in your home more romantic!!!!!
11- Have a game night. Just the two of you. Sometimes, if there is tension or stress in the marriage, playing a game can be a great icebreaker and break some of that tension. This will make it easier to talk and be purposeful in showing affection. Playing games relax you, even though the game itself may be intense, but you get a chance to focus on something fun and with someone you truly love. This is a great way to remember that! So, pull out that Monopoly and Life and Trouble and Connect Four and UNO and have fun!!! You are married! You are supposed to enjoy it!!!!
Basically, in summary, date night needs to something you do to intentionally keep sparks in your marriage, especially have the children have come along. They can tie up so much of your time that you can forget that you are a couple. The last thing you want to do is turn into roommates because then you won’t be able to handle disagreements properly. When you remember that you are a couple, a MARRIED couple, ONE FLESH, then you tend to handle disagreement with more consideration because you understand that disrespecting your spouse is disrespecting yourself. You’re ONE, remember? Do you want to be happy? Make your husband happy! Go on a date and make each other happy!!!
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