Some of my favorite nights ever are the date nights that I have with my husband. As insane as life gets, whether the budget is fantastic or terrible, whether we “have the time” or not, Jose and I try to make it a priority to go on a date and have that time together without the kiddos. I wanted to share 7 ways to make date night happen regardless of your budget or busyness. For my husband and I, it’s really important!
Because before there were kids, there was US.
When the kids go to college, it will be US.
I’ve watched so many people have children and literally put their love lives completely on pause. Not for seconds or minutes or even days or weeks, but for YEARS. Then the kids go to college and there are two adults who barely know each other. I strongly believe that if mom and dad are happy and the marriage is healthy, the kiddos will feel the ripple effects of that. I know many who idolize their children to the point where their children consume every aspect of their lives above all things and anything else (even God). There is no room for anything or anyone else. Friendships dissolve and more. I don’t want to be that way! So I’ve decided I won’t.
I’ve faced judgment and even criticism sometimes, because God forbid if you are having fun without your kids, what kind of person even are you? Um, a human being who likes to have fun without her kids at times so she can pee in peace and have dinner without sharing.
Plus, it’ s SO FUN to continue to go on dates and do things together one on one. It keeps the romance alive and reminds me of our early years all over again. Stolen kisses, inside jokes, laughing together at something when we’re supposed to be serious. This is the stuff that my kind of love is made of!
How do you make this possible, especially if you have kids?
- Put it on the calendar. Once it’s on the calendar, it’s a priority! Make it one.
Put it in your calendar like you would put an actual appointment. Treat it like you would treat an appointment with a client – except your spouse is even more important! Time with your husband or wife is a worthy investment in your marriage and should be prioritized.2.
2. Have a group of reliable sitters at the ready.
Vary your sitters so you have options. We don’t like to put all of our eggs in one basket. That being said, we don’t just let anyone watch our boys. Typically it’s my mom, my mother-in-law and two reliable college age girls from church who work in the Sunday School program at our church. My boys love their sitters and are familiar with them. In the same way,
3. Don’t use your budget as an excuse.
It’s really easy to write off date night because it’s not in the budget. Trust me, been there before! However, date night can still be fun and free. There are a ton of resources and ideas available on Pinterest. Some of my favorite things to do:
- Watch a movie: rent one through iTunes, watch for free on Netflix, TV. I have even borrowed movies from friends – talk about budget friendly!
- During warm weather, lay a blanket in the backyard, put on the firepit: talk, listen to music, stargaze, ask silly questions.
- Read together: call us dorks, we love to read books together. We pick out a book we both want to read and go through it chapter by chapter.
- Game night: we don’t do this as often, but back in the day we would play board games and get really competitive. Scrabble and Bananagrams were favorites.
- Park: Going to a park, walking the trails or riding bikes while having a conversation is relaxing and easy to do.
- Free Events: Look up what’s free in your area and you would be surprised!
4. If you can’t go out, date night in.
I’ve already listed a few ideas/suggestions that have worked for us. Feel free to borrow one or suggest one in the comment section!
5. Swap babysitting services with another couple for date nights.
We are in a bracket where a lot of our friends have babies/toddlers the same age. This is something we haven’t done but would be willing to do! I think it’s a pretty easy way to score a date night and to add a couple to your babysitting catalog.
6. Push guilt aside.
I know a lot of parents suffer from this! I think mom’s especially feel this type of guilt. Parents who feel awful for doing something without their children. I am NOT that parent, but if you happen to be, then realize this: it’s okay to have a night of fun without your kiddos. It doesn’t make you a bad person. A relaxed, happy, set of parents are better parents for their children.
7. Make FUN the priority.
Don’t get worked up over what doesn’t go right: keep in mind the primary goal of date night with your spouse is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. I remember the days of dating during high school and the college years. I could literally be sitting next to Jose doing nothing, but the fact that we were together was just so NICE. As adults, life has only gotten more hectic as each year passes. It’s a beautiful thing to have fun and be reminded of where it all began.
My husband planned this one. After an obsession with Heartland, he took me horseback riding because I fell in love with horses.
Sunday afternoon date.
This date night we planned in advance. We bought concert tickets as our Christmas gift in December but the actual concert wasn’t until April 1st.
Couples date night out. This was something planned about a month in advance which gave us an opportunity to plan a sitter and budget accordingly.
A day at the beach is fun, cheap, and my favorite!
Even though the pictures you see are pictures of us actually going out – there are plenty of times we stay in! I guess I just don’t take too many pictures of those times! Ha!
These are some of my suggestions but I would love to hear some of yours! What do you and your spouse do for date nights? How often do you try to make date nights happen? Comment below!