My life, designed by me.
When I hear the words ‘date night’ I cringe. Even though I am guilty of using the phrase myself occasionally. It sounds very unromantic and pre-planned. It sounds like a scheduled commitment with a total lack of spontaneity. It sounds like something couples who are so busy with other life commitments need to do at a fixed interval to maintain some element of social interaction with each other. Which, in a nutshell, it is.
Date nights have become the only means by which some couples have any social time together away from their homes. Modern life has become so busy that scheduling in a date with a long term partner has become normal; to ensure that it actually happens. We arrange the babysitter, we book a restaurant, and we go enjoy, catch up, pickup the child and come home and do it again in another set interval. It is almost like going through the motions.
Date night needs a makeover. Like the strange looking girl with the bushy eyebrows and unruly hair on a reality TV modeling competition, date night needs to be made over into something a little less frumpy.
Firstly, throw out the diary. Make the effort to just decide to go out together. No chance of a last minute babysitter? Go to a restaurant that has a playground and placemats for the kids to colour in. its not exactly a date but if the kids are distracted you get the chance for at least a little one on one conversation. The very act of being spontaneous will lighten your heart. The overall objective of date night is to reconnect with each other and keep communication flowing within a relationship. It really doesn’t matter if you occasionally take the kids along.
Secondly, if the art of spontaneity eludes you, for whatever reason, make Date Night more regular and more often. This works particularly well for those who don’t have to procure a babysitter. If you live and die by your schedules, either follow number one above OR schedule each other in at least twice a week. Even if it’s just take away with a glass of wine and the TV turned off and you talk about each others day for a little while. Removing the TV as a buffer and distraction means you can interact with each other and really get talking, again the objective being communication. It also develops a pattern of commitment to the activity and it will become a habit after a while. Then you won’t need to label it Date Night!
Lastly, make an effort. If you do need a babysitter plan ahead and get one for the whole night if possible. Bribery often works well in this situation! Book a nice restaurant somewhere you have never been before, be adventurous and resist the urge to go to the same place you have always gone. Buy a new outfit or get a haircut (guys and girls this applies to!). Try to ensure you can drop the kids off early and perhaps enjoy a nice bubble bath together before you get ready. Has it been an eternity since your husband zipped you up or helped you fasten a necklace or bracelet? The very act of a man zipping up a women’s dress or placing her necklace on her and fastening it can be full promise and an intimate act in itself. Don’t be scared to ask him to do it for you. The intent here is to break ingrained patterns of complacency within the relationship. Try to embrace the mindset that this is not just Date Night but a special night to spend just enjoying each other’s company away from the things that distract you from each other and revisit why you love each other.