This Valentine’s Day give your spouse the gift of committing to date each other. Come up with dates that work for you and your schedule.
Below I will share my dating (my husband) journey: Shattered Expectations, Why Date Each Other? and Ways to make it work for you.
We have been married for 10 years this May! Yay, that brings tears to my eyes as I think about the life I have been blessed with and the challenges we’ve had to overcome. Only by the grace of God, seriously.
We have tried date nights since our first year of marriage but we had a lot to learn along the way and I am sure we still do. Sometimes our plan worked for months at a time and at other times it was a total flop. As you read along keep in mind, I have 3 boys under the age of 8 and life can quickly get chaotic here in our home. I say this so you don’t roll your eyes and think well you are a newly wed with no kids, of course you go on dates. Also, I say this because we have gone through stages in our life when it just wasn’t possible and we made the most of it. Above all, as you read this don’t feel guilty instead be encouraged and find what works best for you and your spouse!
When my husband was my boyfriend he came up with some awesome dates and I mean really creative dates. One night he took me by the lake and we sat out by the cool water in the hot South and enjoyed the breeze. We talked, smooched, laughed and my favorite part we danced under the stars! Another time he took me out on the river in a canoe and he had a picnic ready for us. He even had some romantic music set up with speakers. I can go on and on about all of our creative dates but you get the point, he knew how to woo me.
All that to say I was shocked a year into our marriage when the fun dates or for that matter date night didn’t continue. I know things change, life changes, people change but still I was shocked. My husbands love grew for me as mine did for him so it had nothing to do with love but everything to do with figuring out what worked best for us now that we were married, had more responsibilities and a child on the way. And to top it off, he was a first year teacher in an extremely hard inner city school.
At that time I didn’t get it. I didn’t realize all this change would mean change in how we would date each other. All I felt was hurt and let down by him. As with all things, a little heart to heart and real communication I was able to express my thoughts in this area and we were able to move forward but still with a huge learning curve for both of us.
In our journey I learned, sometimes the hard way, that I needed to adjust my expectations to our reality.
I used to think it was his responsiblity to plan our date nights. He is supposed to woo me. I was crushed when another week would roll in and once again no date night. I took it personal because if he loved me enough, he would remember, right. That mindset had to change if I didn’t want to end up a bitter old wife. We decided to take turns planning our date night. One of us plans the night the other gets the sitter. So far that has worked the best for us.
I expected weekly date nights but it wasn’t happening with all that we had going on. After three years of trying weekly date nights we realized we are not weekly date night people. So we decided that twice a month worked best for our schedule.
I thought date nights involved going out. It never dawned on me that we could have a date night in. Either after the kids went to bed or we could drop them off at the sitters.
I expected special nights not dinner and a movie dates. Quickly I realized our budget nor time could manage “special” date nights. I must admit I hate movie date nights (don’t worry he knows and we only do that maybe once a year). It can be whatever interest both of you or a date night catered for him or you. It doesn’t even have to be at night it could be during the day.
It is important to set some guidelines for your dates as you discover your preferences but be flexible. For example, as I mentioned above I don’t do movies as date nights. But I will do a movie night for him if it’s a movie he has been dying to watch.
Why date each other?
Marriage is an amazingly beautiful and hard journey to embark on. I think back to our most challenging “phases of life” and I can’t even imagine walking through the “torrential storms” alone without him. So hand in hand we move forward sometimes at each others throat, sometimes merrily skipping through life but most importantly always trying to enjoy our little blessings. I don’t think I would be able to say this if we had not stopped to reconnect and nourished our relationship along the way.
I was reading a blog and basically she said she didn’t believe in date nights but when she went on to describe what she did it was dating her husband. So if you’re against using the term “dating my spouse” then call it something else but don’t stop making intentional time to connect just because you’re against the term “date nights” or leaving your home to connect.
One of the most important lessons that I learned early on in my marriage was this,
“Marriage and parenthood are filled with “phases and stages” so learn to blossom in them.”
I pass this on to you because some of you maybe in a challenging phase or stage of your life right now. I encourage you to grow in the midst of it because there is beauty and strength to be found. Don’t wait til the baby gets out of the nursing stage, or she doesn’t cry anymore when you leave her, or when he’s not so tired from work, or when you’re not so exhausted from being pregnant, or…… There will always be excuses, seize the day. When you don’t have the energy to seize anything, give yourself grace and keep plugging along. Here are some post that encouraged me by real women who have had their share of struggles.
Reason #2 – You need each other. Not just a roomie version but you need to make intentional time for your friend and soul mate.
Reason #3 Your children need to know that you make time for each other not just them.
Reason #4 When we stop working on our relationship we start growing apart.
How to make it work?
Dating our man is NOT for the young newly wed couples who are madly in love and go out every week because they don’t have kids who sap all of their energy. Moms and dads it’s for us too! Do what works best for you and stop comparing your relationship with others. Get ideas from others but don’t try to out do what your bestfriend is doing or your neighbor who blogs about all of those amazing date adventures.
Let’s get started!
- Decide what works best for you: Once a week, twice a month or once a month. Be realistic!
- Get your yearly calendar out and plan them (don’t worry you don’t need to plan details just put down DATE NIGHT) for 6 months ahead of time. Use the stickers below to help you out. Don’t let anything get in the way of your date night. And don’t change it unless you have consulted your spouse before hand.
- Decide if you are going to take turns planning or if one of you is going to be the date planner. Don’t just assume they will do it. If you’re taking turns right down whose turn it is next to each date.
- You will need a monthly calendar that you regularly look at. For us it’s a large calendar and it’s in our kitchen. I bought it at the teacher supply store and laminated it. We write all of our monthly activities on it.
- Babysitters: If you don’t have sitters, start asking your friends who they trust and recommend as a sitter. I used to be a part of a babysitting co-op and we took turns babysitting each others kids so we wouldn’t have to pay for a sitter.
- If one of you is forgetful get permission to send them a reminder or two right before your date. If both of you are forgetful find a reminder system that emails you automatically to remind you.
- Don’t throw out the idea if it doesn’t work out for the first few times. Try again it takes some getting used to especially if this has been unexplored territory.
- Be flexible.
- Your dates don’t have to be a grand adventure or a fancy meal with a serenade there is definitely room for some fun and out of the ordinary dates but don’t exhaust yourself planning. Look your best even if it’s a ball game date. Remember your goal is to connect with each other and spend quality time with one another.
- Set up a rule that you won’t spend all of your time talking about the laundry, the kids, what still needs to be done or changed. If you do need to discuss this because it’s your only time then set a time limit. Take 10 minutes to discuss this and don’t bring it up again.
- No distractions! No texting, answering cells or kids. Yes, we love them and they know we do but date nights are about connecting with your spouse. If you want to set up a family date night on another night we have a list of wonderful ideas for you and the kids! This year we decided to start a date night with our children. A one on one time with Mom or dad.
What kind of dates should we go on?
You can find things you both like or want to try and enjoy those activities together. Read the same book together and then gather to discuss. You can decide to make your date night a night about your spouse and do the things they like to do. For example, watch a sappy chic flic or a night of fun filled sex. It can be a Date Night In, but no kids allowed. It can be a lunch date or picnic. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy but make sure you spice it up once in a while. You will find lots of great ideas here on our series from the other 19 mom bloggers sharing their date traditions and activities.
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These Date Night Stickers are from a wonderful site Dating Divas. Stop by there to print out your free set!
The other lovely bloggers joining in this series are (to see the schedule of post go here): Kids Activities Blog, My Nearest And Dearest, Pleasantest Thing, Play Dr Mom, Glittering Muffins, Inspired By Family Mag, Mama Miss, Life At The Zoo, Toddling Into Madness, Sense of Wonder, Educators Spin on It, Little Aritsits, Home Learning Journey, Frogs And Snails and Puppy dog Tails, Pragmatic Mom, The Good Long Road, Mamas Like Me, Kids Stuff World , Toddler Approved and Adventures in Mommydom
Other post you may enjoy:
Loving Your Man When It Hurts Series -Real Women Sharing from all stages of life
DIY Paper Bag Lanterns for a quick romantic dinner
DIY Valentines Day Photo Holder – Simple and Beautiful