A: Every married couple needs a chance to recharge the old batteries or the marriage will wither and die. This is especially important after you have kids. Date Night is a good way to feed the beast (your marriage) and keep it healthy.
Date Night is not about Sex or even Romance. It's about remembering why you got together in the first place.
Q: But Dr. Aletta, we just don't have time!
A: I know. None of us do. It's like exercise, who has time for that either? That's why I had to put it on our calendars like an appointment. Plus I provide my husband with early warning signals like, "Three days to Date Night!" We used to schedule once every two weeks until we couldn't keep up and rather than let it go completely we decided a Date once a month was pretty good.
Q: Why should I be the one who always organizes our social life? A: I get this one too. I am the one who schedules Date Night because my husband is a Cancer and it takes a crowbar to get him out of the house. Why be resentful? He makes up for it in many other ways.
Q: We don't have a babysitter.
A: This can be a problem, especially if, like us, you don't have extended family handy to foist the kids on and call it 'Auntie bonding time'. We used many different solutions for this problem. Here are the best:
- We networked like mad asking if anyone knew a young, single, non-smoking, female medical doctor who would just love to sit our kids. When that didn't pan out I recruited a couple of girls who lived a few houses away. Canvas your neighborhood, church, book club, local high school counselors, friends. If you are nervous about leaving your kid, have the new babysitter over as a Mommy Helper while you stay close by, like a dress rehearsal. Another anti-anxiety step: Make sure your neighbors know when you go out (and have your cell number) so they can provide immediate help if needed.
- We swapped babysitting time with friends who had young kids like us. This worked really well because it was free and the kids got along great so there was no abandonment guilt.
- Whenever family comes to visit or you go to visit them, beg them to take pity on you and maybe they will watch your kids while you go out to play.
Q: What should we do? Dinner and a movie is so overdone.
A: Why knock a classic? Explore new restaurants. Visit an art theater that shows indy films or even films with subtitles! Drive to a neighborhood or town you've been meaning to check out. Go downtown! Be creative! Once my husband and I drove around trying to think of something to do after dinner. We ended up playing pool at a bowling alley where they had karaoke. It was a night to remember!
Q: Does going to a party with friends count for Date Night?
A: Only if you have one on one time built into the evening as well, like dinner for two followed by the party. PS. Shopping at the 24 hour grocery store doesn't count either. I know 'cause I tried...
Q: What do we talk about? My brain freezes beyond the last diaper change.
A: Another challenge! Eventually I discovered a trip down memory lane helps get us started. "Do you remember when we [insert pleasant, funny, loving, sweet pre-kids experience here]?" Or ask questions like "Who taught you how to ride a bike? What was it like?" "How did you learn about sex?" "What's your scariest experience?" And no fair answering in monosyllables. Give a thoughtful answer and toss a question back to your partner. That keeps the conversation going. PS. Silence, if it's relaxed and companionable, can be very sweet too.
Q: What do you do to recharge your relationship?
A: My husband and I are pretty easy (and cheap). We get a kick out of a good bottle of wine, a nice meal and a quiet table so we can talk and talk, catching up on all the things we appreciate about each other but don't have the time or can't say in front of the kids. No fireworks, just the warm glow of a seasoned fire. So corny and so nice.
Which reminds me. We never wrote down our rules for Date Night but if we did they would go something like this....
Rules For Date Night by Therese Borchard
Please share your Date Night challenges and adventures or questions. What do you do for Date Night? How do you solve the challenges and what rules do you have?
Photo courtesy E.G. Moran