Are you making excuses?
How to overcome date night challenges.
When you first met, you were wrapped up in each other. Work, kids, bills, life…they were either not there or took a backseat to the excitement of getting to know each other. Congratulations! You made it past the getting to know you and fall in love with you stages. You entered the share our lives together with eyes wide open.
Now, you realize that the rest of the world is coming first. It is difficult to find time to nurture your relationship. The good news is with a little creativity, dedication, and effort, it’s possible to make time for togetherness and date nights with your spouse.
The even better news is that almost every couple faces or has faced what you are going through right now, so you are not alone! I am celebrating my 30th anniversary this year, so I know this dilemma very well. I am sharing with you my recommendations for overcoming date night challenges.
The honest truth is it has to matter. Your biggest date night challenge will be effort, if neither of you have made quality time with each other a priority. The amount of time, money, energy, etc is not important. What is important is the commitment to each other and spending time, connecting, together.
I wish I had a way for you to overcome this obstacle.
This is between you and your love-nurturing your relationship-remembering why you both decided to take on the world together-you both have to decide that is a priority.
Time and its shadow, energy, seem to be the number one reason why couples have difficulty scheduling a date night and following through and going out. We lead incredibly busy lives. I wrote a blog on parenting styles and one of them, Slow Parenting, talks all about how to deal with the busyness of parenthood.
There are many dates that can be quick, an hour at most. If you think about how much time you spend trying to “numb out” and scroll through social media or watch a show, you can find an hour. Remember the number one date night challenge is prioritize, once you have prioritized date night, if time is your obstacle, find quick dates.
Do you have the desire to go out and have time, but have no clue what to do? In 70 Date Night Ideas for Couples I went over my top recommendations in 7 different categories, quick dates is one of them!
It is also helpful if you find something you love, that is easy to schedule and do, and plan it for a regular time and day each week (or month if that what works in your life). If, for example, you cannot get out of the house easily, buy and install a dartboard. Every Friday night at 9:00 when the kiddos go to bed, you and your honey can play darts and listen to a special playlist. *This is actually something we did in our home…a lot. It was an initial investment of about three movie nights (no dinner), but provided many years of weekly date night. When our boys got older, this became a family activity night as well.
84 fabulous Date Night Ideas!
Is your love life..
stuck in a routine?
not a priority?
needing some new ideas?
- 112 Date Night Cut Outs
- 7 Categories: at home, quick, active, cheap, creative and romantic and sexy
- 12 fun dates in each category
- 4 blank cut outs per category *for you to add your own ideas
- Print on different colored paper to "cheat" and know the category
84 Date Night Ideas
12 Dates in each category!
Sometimes life is just overwhelming. If one person in the relationship is always responsible for the when we go out, where we go, and the details of how (like childcare), it can build resentment and tension.
Date night should be shared, fun, and something both of you look forward to. This is another reason I created the date night cut outs, each week or month you take turns drawing the date. The person who draws the date is responsible for all of the when, where, and how’s of that event.
This also means, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!” Remember that your partner tried hard to bring you a great date, don’t spoil it by being critical and they should do the same.
So often, the biggest excuse is, “We don’t have anyone to watch the kids.” I have been there! We never lived near family, so I did not have a grandma I could send the kids to. This also means I have thought my way around this situation.
- Become friends with other couples who have kids and have “swap” nights where one couple goes out and the other couple watches all of the kids.
- Find a “Parent’s Night Out,” most towns have them, where you can drop the kids off for a time, and go out. Usually this is very inexpensive or even free. Places to look for these events are churches, YMCA, and non profits. Many gymnastics academies, play gyms, climbing gyms, martial arts studios, and community centers offer Parent’s Nights at a higher cost, but they are available.
- If you only have one child, and you have a friend who also only has one child, share a babysitter. I do not recommend sharing a babysitter with more than three children; that is a lot for a teenager. I also do not recommend this if there is an infant. However, sharing a sitter can be cost effective if you both have second graders for example.
- Fun and games at your house. We had poker night at our house for 6 years. Everyone brought their kids. It was once a month. Everyone brought a “dish to share.” All of the kids were in the basement with pizza and a movie. There was one sitter, but all of the parents were available if anything was really needed. So, we split the costs of the food, the sitter, and the entertainment. The kids loved these nights. As adults, we had a lot of fun because we “got out” with other couples.
The important point is that you do not let childcare become a date night challenge. You figure out how to work around it so that you and your love bug are still feeling connected and having adult time and laughter together.
Let’s say you want to slip away for four hours for dinner and a movie. I believe the going rate for a babysitter is $15 an hour, so that is $60. Dinner for two, moderately, is $65. Because you ate dinner before the movie, let’s skip the treats at the theater, so it is just $20 a ticket, making it $40 for the movie. This rather ordinary date just ran you $165.
Money is a date night challenge for everyone. Even if people don’t talk about it, most people do the mental math in their head to see if the cost of the date is worth it. I am not a movie fan for dates; I like conversation. So, $165 is never worth it. I can always wait for the latest Marvel movie or whatever to be $5.99 on a streaming service.
I came up with 12 cheap dates that I enjoy in the Date Night Cut Outs. You can do this on your own if you want. Sit down with your partner and think of all of the things the two of you can do for free or less than $50. If your “cheap” threshold is less than that for a date, come up with dates for that amount.
The cost of the date does not determine the quality of the date.
You two, together, laughing, enjoying each other, this determines the quality of the date. You can do this absolutely free in your car in the driveway playing “This or That.” By the way, this is not one of the ideas I came up with, there are so many!
This has two parts.
Be present. Do not go to dinner or be with your partner and have your notifications on you watch on. Or have your phone vibrating while you “sneak” glances at it. You only get away, together, alone, once a week? a month? Make these moments matter and be present for your partner.
Try to leave technology behind.
On the other side…
If your partner travels or you are distanced, take advantage of technology. My son and his girlfriend were in a long distance relationship. He found two player games online they could play together. They would have a set time, Saturday at 7:00 PM EST, for example. Then they would get onto a game.
I, admittedly, am not great at technology, but I found this endearing and sweet. My son planned date night from across the country every week. He wanted to keep their relationship alive and a priority to both of them. I am certain that there are many ways to do this.
Connect everyday. This is not really a date. However, when you connect everyday, there is not so much pressure on the date night for it to be amazing. It will feel more natural to be together.
I do not think you should use date night to talk about problems or the kids. This means that everything you usually talk about at home, is probably off limits! When you spend time connecting each day, as adults, you find that you are able to talk about other things later. You have more things in common than the kids and whatever fire needs to be put out at that moment.
How can you connect every day with your partner?
I have so many suggestions for you in this area that there will be a new blog on just this topic next month-stay tuned!
It is easy to concentrate on the date night challenge we all face when life, kids, and lack of time gets in the way. Prioritizing and making time for date night is essential for a healthy relationship. Dates can come in all shapes and sizes, the important factor is that you two are able to connect and get some alone time. Hopefully, I was able to give you some ideas to clear your challenges and make your date night successful!
There are many kinds of joy, but they all lead to one: the joy to be loved.
The Never-ending Story