Not since the Rolling Stones sang “time is on my side” in the free love age of the 60’s has time really been on anyone’s side.
In the cacophony of commitments to work, family, scheduling the kids’ stuff –school work, summer camps, birthday parties, field trips – and more, who has time for “date night?”
But here’s the thing. Time slips by, a month turns into a year, the kids go into the next grade, and the dates on the calendar just fill up with everything but a much needed and deserved rendezvous for you and your spouse. What can you do?
The experts all agree date nights are important to preserve and protect a relationship–whether married, singles, divorcees, or empty nesters.
Dr. Bonnie Jacobson warned that parents’ over committed busy lifestyles can cause marital conflicts, so, “date night is as essential as oxygen for a marriage.”
A recent study revealed that new mothers who spend less time with their husbands than before they gave birth, are more dissatisfied with their marriage.
The touted study “The Date Night Opportunity”, showed that couples spending time together at least once a week made a big difference in their experiencing enjoyable and quality relationships.
Few and far between, are couples who have eked out date nights. “I forgot about how we met and fell in love through all those picnics on the beach he used to plan–he always surprised me with a perfectly adorable and delicious basket. I forgot until we managed to put it back into our lives as a weekly date. That man can make me laugh, just like he used to.” So said Marta, sighing over something valued put back into her life.
So How Do Other People Do It?
Think about a date for both connecting and relaxing. Connecting helps to revive your intimacy. To bring that connection back, Family Counselor Ziva Abrams recommends a daily date for just a 10-20 minute conversation at an agreed time. Talk about light things, observations, experiences, not disappointments or criticism. Each person takes a turn talking while the other just listens, enjoys and relaxes.
Couple Gail and Mort offer their plan of action: We decided to make a date night every Saturday night, with a part 1 and a part 2–because we realized two things we were missing. Part 1 was something physical, intimate, and part 2 was something enjoyably interesting or fun for us both.
Now, admittedly, we’re not always able to do both parts, but as long as we get to one of the parts, it keeps up going–and wanting more! Gail plans a great play date for their children on Saturday that goes on through dinner, so dinner time is a perfect time for part 1, and then, after the kids are asleep, we have part 2 at home. Many times we’re lucky to get a sleepover for the kids, and then we get to go out for part 2.
Some moms schedule regular play dates with another couple at alternating homes so that each couple has the opportunity for a date night.
So it’s long past time to take some playtime together. Date night (or day) doesn’t have to be dinner and movies either, have a jar of all the wild and silly things you once loved to do, and ideas of new experiences that you’d like to get to.
Whether it’s going to a painting class together, doing a chocolate tasting night, or karaoke night… just make the time for a good time!