By: Annie Osteen – These days, everyone is busy. Everyone. Not only are adults racing around trying to pack a month’s worth of agendas into a week’s time-frame, but children are also forced to keep up at the same pace. Friday night comes along and everyone, including the dog, is tired. You want nothing more than to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and catch up on your Netflix shows.
Oftentimes, however, an important event – one that every married couple should seek out – gets left off the calendar week after week. Date night. What is it? When was the last time it saw its permanent place on the busy agenda? Date nights are those times when a married couple, regardless of their years together, finds some time during the week (or month) to reconnect. If you’ve ever asked a friend if they have date nights with their spouse, you may hear the cliché “we don’t, but we should” or “we just don’t have any time.” I generally smile and nod when I hear that but the truth is that most people will make time for what they feel is important. People make time for Facebook, they make time for the gym, they’ll even make time to watch Netflix. But making time for your husband or wife? Well, there’s no time for that? And quietly watching Stranger Things while sitting next to your spouse doesn’t count. Sorry.
My husband and I, for a long time, had a routine in which he and I would do our date nights almost exclusively on Saturday nights. It became a running joke on our street when a neighbor would ask what we had planned for the upcoming weekend and then they’d remind themselves that our Saturday nights were reserved only for one another.
As our kids got a little older, our schedules changed, their schedules changed and life shifted directions a bit. Therefore, our date nights took a brief hiatus. Dwight and I could generally sense when we needed a date night and it came at times when we were spending too much time in the throes of “life” without relating as a couple. We became a little more irritable, stressed and simply not connecting as a couple as we had in the past. Without realizing it, date night became a protective barrier from any deterioration on our marital foundation and we quickly added those nights out on our calendar once again. Sounds silly but it’s not. Dating your spouse promotes communication, commitment, stability and well, the feelings that you should still feel towards your spouse, even after kids come into the picture and a busy, hectic life takes over.
Date nights don’t have to be a candlelit dinner at an expensive restaurant. You’ll leave hungry, poor and disappointed. Sure, if that’s your style, go for it. But for Dwight and me, we are as casual as it gets. We will generally go to a restaurant, sit at the bar, watch whatever sport is on the TV and catch up on us. Oh, and there’s one rule: no talking about the kids. Why? Well, because we could have stayed home for free to do that. When a sitter is involved (i.e.money), we want to make the most of our time together. Plus, our lives revolve around our kids. Date nights are simply for us.
Every couple is different and that’s okay. However, at the end of the day there will be no more baseball games to coach or dance lessons to carpool to. The kids will eventually leave the nest leaving only the original two at home once again. If you and your spouse have dated while your kids were growing, then the nest won’t feel so empty. It will return to a place and a time that existed before children came into the picture; a time when the second part of your life begins.
When the days get long, the mood feels stagnant, and the assembly-line feeling of responsibilities take over, and a date night is the optimal defense for remembering why you and your spouse got together in the first place. It’s a time when the focus is on each other just as it was in the beginning.