Date Your Spouse: Tips for Making it Happen
When the subject of dating your spouse comes up in conversation I usually hear people (myself included) say something along the lines of, “we need to get better at that” or “we usually just stay in and watch Netflix”. Date night is a rhythm most of us enjoy and value but somehow when it comes to actually making it happen regularly, it seems easy for it to slip through the cracks.
Kent and Sharon Livingston have got it together when it comes to making dates happen. They have two small children and no family in town, and yet they still somehow manage to go on a date night once a week. I asked them for their tips on how to keep this rhythm built into their relationship, and here’s what they told me:
1. Keep it sacred.
Make date night one of your “big rocks.” Put it in your weekly schedule first, before you plan other things. Also, try not to move it around unless a true emergency comes up. The more you shift it around, the easier it is for it to fall through the cracks.
2. Put it in your budget.
Date nights are way cheaper than marriage counseling. It’s worth investing money in quality time and good memories with your spouse. Setting aside a certain amount to spend on date night in advance can also make it so you aren’t so worried about what you are spending on the date that you miss out on having a good time.
3. Get creative with child care.
Connect with friends to see if you can swap date nights. Consider doing a brunch date and dropping your kids off to play at someone else’s house for a couple of hours. If a friend offers to watch your kids for free, take them up on it!
4. Plan to plan.
Decide who is in charge of planning what. Maybe one person handles making babysitting arrangements and the other decides what you will do. Or maybe you alternate responsibilities. Just aim not to look at each other day of and say, “Well, what do we want to do tonight?” Instead, make it, “I’m so excited to do (blank) tonight!”
5. Get out of your house.
It’s easy to say you’re going to do a date night in and have it quickly devolve into a night like any other: worrying about your to-do list or checking email. The whole idea of a date night is for you to completely focus on your relationship and quality time together. Getting out of your house removes distractions and allows you to enjoy one another in a special way.
6. Keep it fun.
Don’t make date night the time to work through marital problems. It can be a time when you process your life and your thoughts with each other but it should be pleasant and enjoyable. If there is something you’re angry about, try to let it go for a few hours and work it out later. It’s amazing how much easier it is to resolve a problem with someone after spending an hour laughing with them!