Do you have a ‘date night’ with your spouse?
We used to go out on ‘dates’ when we were going out and engaged. We’d go out for dinner or to the cinema if our student loans could stretch to it, or we’d cook or bake for each other or go for a walk. Time alone together. Lovely.
A couple of years after we got married, a couple we knew told us that they had a date night because they were so busy with seeing friends, church commitments, study, etc that they could go for weeks without spending any quality time together. At that stage that wasn’t a problem for us, but soon after having our son we realised our need of a date night, too.
Our evenings were filling up with admin, house-hunting (at the moment), housework, sport, church commitments, etc so we decided that we would make sure one night a week was our date night. We made it a week night because the weeks can be so busy and fly by, it’s nice to have an evening to stop. Plus it means we don’t feel guilty about seeing friends or family at the weekend. Our date night is generally a Thursday but it can be flexible, so long as there is one night that we can spend together.
Some of our friends spend some time discussing the good points and bad points of their relationship over the previous week. We’re not that structured but we are not allowed to do any admin once our son is in bed. We might enjoy something nice to eat, sometimes we watch a film, sometimes we talk about things that need talking about. We rarely do anything that’s specifically romantic! Occasionally we’ll play a board game and if, my parents are visiting, sometimes they babysit and we go out for dinner.
Setting this time aside is really helpful. If you need to talk about something that is important but requires a bit of thought beforehand, it’s great. You know Thursday is coming up and can prepare. For example, when our son was nearly 18 months old we started talking about when we might be ready to try for another baby. It was a topic which required a lot of thought, talking and prayer.
It’s also just helpful to know that you have one night in the week when you can spend time together, (hopefully) uninterrupted. It doesn’t mean you have to end up in the bedroom (sorry to my now cringing parents), it’s just time together. Once kids are on the scene you realise how precious that time alone together is because most of your awake time is shared with them too!
So if you don’t have a date night and feel like you hardly see your spouse and are overwhelmed with busyness, try one. Get the diaries or smartphone calendars out and work out one night next week that you can spend together. It doesn’t have to be flashy. It doesn’t have to be romantic. It can just be eating a meal together with no distractions or watching a film you really want to watch. The key is quality time together!