Ah … date night. Do you remember those days before kids when you would get dressed up and go out, just the two of you? Then children entered the picture, and you forlornly waved goodbye to the idea of having your spouse to yourself for five consecutive minutes, let alone going out on a date.
It’s true. Kids complicate the prospect of date night. However, it is possible to find alone time with your spouse. In fact, it’s not only possible, but it’s also a wise idea worth pursuing. The Bible encourages couples to enjoy one another.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. —Proverbs 5:18, KJV
Having kids doesn’t have to mean the end of date night. Actually, when children are added to the picture, it’s even more important to set aside opportunities for quality time with your spouse.
Put It on the Calendar
Spontaneity is fun, but when you have young children, it’s hard to head out on a moment’s notice. Date night is much more likely to happen if you plan for it.
Check your schedule for an upcoming free evening. Write your plans on the calendar, so the date stays free. Time with your spouse is a priority, and it’s okay to turn down other things in order to have alone time with one another.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for an evening date, be creative. Meet your spouse for lunch, or get away for an afternoon during the weekend. For some couples, an early breakfast date might work best.
Don’t just choose the day and time, but take care of other arrangements in advance also, such as making dinner reservations. Not only will planning ahead help the date night go more smoothly, but being able to look forward to your activities builds anticipation.
Of course, call a babysitter early in the planning process. Follow up a few days before your date to make sure your sitter remembers her commitment.
Make Post-Bedtime Plans
Sometimes, as much as you’d like to get out of the house with your spouse, it’s just not going to happen. There might be no extra room in the budget for a sitter, or you might be in an extremely busy season.
Nevertheless, it’s still important to have one-on-one time for reconnecting with your spouse, so plan a post-bedtime date. Feed your children and put them to bed a bit early. Once they’re tucked in, you and your spouse can have some quiet time together.
Even though you aren’t going out to a restaurant, you can share a grown-up meal, such as a fancy homemade dish or delivery from an ethnic restaurant. Other relationship-building activities you can do at home include playing a board game, dreaming about the future as you flip through a home-improvement magazine or roasting marshmallows around a backyard fire pit.
Use your time well by staying focused on one another. Turn off your phones and put away your electronic devices. Even if you have only an hour between the kids’ bedtime and yours, if you keep distractions away, it can be an hour well-spent.
Try Something New
Are you in a dinner-and-a-movie rut? Put a fresh spin on date night by trying something new. For starters, have a brainstorming session with your spouse. Make this a date night activity at a local coffee shop, or work on it together while your kids play outside.
Craft a list of creative activities that you can do together. Ideas include hiking at a local park, taking a class, renting a canoe or browsing at the farmer’s market. Try to think of things you’ll both enjoy, but be willing to try your spouse’s suggestions, even if they don’t sound like your cup of tea.
Write down your ideas, and post the list where you’ll see it frequently. It will serve as a reminder to plan another exciting date night soon.
Carving out time to enjoy your spouse’s company is good for your marriage. It may take more effort now than it did before you had children, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor that will bless your relationship.