The Importance of Being Earnest (When Planning Date Nights)
My partner and I love to go on dates. We committed to ourselves (and our relationship) when our boys were about 2 and 4 years old that we would regularly have alone time together¦focused, scheduled, kiddo-free alone time. And we haven’t looked back.
Our date nights are the stuff of legend¦well, to us anyway. In the process of committing to ourselves and making date night happen, we have shared our habit with friends through idle “what are you doing this weekend chatter and Facebook status messages.
Much to our delighted surprise, we have inspired friends to put dates night on their radar screens, if not yet their calendars. And that just rocks, because I am convinced without our dates I wouldn’t realize the truly incredible and interesting evolution my partner manifests everyday. It is literally because of date nights that I can wake up everyday and meet him for the first time again with fresh eyes and renewed loving curiosity. That is an awareness that I am proud to have had a hand in sharing with my friends.
For us, date night recharges our relationship energy and has become an irreplaceable cornerstone of our relationship. To implement Operation Date Night, we did have to overcome a number of hurdles and smash a few myths to make it happen in earnest. The following notions are just a few of our insights that I share as unsolicited advice to you:
1. You deserve focused, alone time with your partner.
You don’t just deserve it; it is vital to the health of your relationship. Becoming parents is a significant stress on a relationship. The intensity of a newborn, the shifting into parental roles, the general increase in stuff to get done, all these and more contribute to distraction from how awesome you know your partner is. You need time to look into each other’s eyes again and recognize that your lover is in there despite being busy at work or awash in baby toys. Having a planned, kiddo-free time ensures you have the perfect opportunity to reconnect.
2. Date nights don’t magically happen\’they require planning.
You can wistfully imagine and talk about it all you want. But until you commit, schedule it and arrange for childcare so you can get away, it won’t happen. So do it! You already know you deserve it and it is 100% necessary to the health of your relationship, so make it happen. Put it on the calendar and find that sitter. Not even finances can get in your way.
3. Date nights can cost little or nothing.
Finding something fun to do could be an elaborate dinner out or a pricey comedy show. Or it also could be a free concert, a relaxing stroll downtown, a trail run together or hitting the museum on “free day. As far as childcare goes, make regular arrangements with family or trade days with other new parent friends and alternate weeks out.
4. Always have a date night on the calendar.
No matter who is babysitting (or “kidsitting as my boys now insist) never cut them loose until you have another date scheduled, even if it is six weeks hence. Having a date night on the horizon is pure bliss and occasionally your handhold in sanity.
5. Save the family business discussions for family time.
Date night should be just that DATE NIGHT, not time to figure out next month’s bills or negotiate work schedules. Dates are fun, remember? Not wanting to micromanage your alone time together, but this guideline is worth sharing. Time together on dates is time to get to know who your partner is today. What is she reading lately? What interesting topic did he hear on the radio today? What fun activity might you plan for next date night? Focus on each other.
Therein lies the key: focus on each other. Date night doesn’t have to stop after you’ve arrived home and relieved the kidsitter. You’re so lucky! You get to take this hottie lover home with you! Take time to pamper each other with massages, kisses, sexy time in bed¦but no pressure. The idea is to foster curiosity for one another just as you would a new lover.
We all evolve over time, even those of us who are partnered. Partners who maintain curiosity for one another through the challenging phase of new parenthood emerge on the other side still knowing who their partners are. It is often the necessary redirection of energy toward the kiddos and parenting that interrupts the partner relationship. It does take conscious, mindful and proactive actions like date night to reclaim the focus and energy for the lovers’ relationship.
So make it fun! Ask your lover out in style. Send a sexy note to work in his pocket. Drop her a seductive text at lunch. Do it with a bit of fanfare. I’m sure your lover deserves it. It’s time to court all over again. Happy Date Night!