Before we had kids, date nights came naturally. We didn't have to prepare weeks in advance to arrange a babysitter or find a grandparent to host a sleep over. At the drop of a hat we would head to our favorite restaurant or go see a movie. These days it takes a lot of preparation to have a kid-free evening with my husband.
After we had our first son, we almost never went out for dates. We were too worried about something going wrong if he wasn't with one of us. We learned that ordering take-out and watching a movie at home with our little third wheel was better than the stress of figuring out an escape plan for an evening. It wasn't until after we had our second son that we realized what a marriage saver the occasional date night is.
Marriage is not easy. Add in a kid or two (or five) and it makes it even harder. The disconnect between you and your spouse becomes greater and time alone is more rare. You find that the only way to communicate without interruption is through text or email. This might work for some people but it was not working for us. We found ourselves in a situation that took us back to the drawing board. We decided it was time to start dating each other again. In fact, we made it a number one priority in our marriage. Let me tell you, it was a total game changer.
We aim for two date nights a month but we have been able to make a few more than that happen. The dynamic of our marriage has greatly improved and we feel so much more connected. Having a few hours together to catch up on our lives outside the house has improved our relationship in a huge way. It also allows us to give our kids more attention when we are all home together because our marriage doesn't feel so neglected. They say you can't pour from an empty cup and I have found this especially true when it's the marriage and parenting cup we are talking about. I feel like a better Mom when I have a more solid connection to my husband.
Now, with that said, date nights do not need to be at the fanciest restaurant in town. It can mean picking up Chick-Fil-A and eating it in the Target parking lot and if you're lucky, a little stroll down your favorite isles at Target would be an added bonus! We are loving hitting up brewery's in our area and trying out local restaurants. If hiring a babysitter isn't in the budget, ask a friend if they want to do a date night swap. You trade off taking each other's kids for an evening and everyone wins. The kids get a fun night with friends and you get the alone time you need. Local churches usually offer a date night daycare once a month for a very reasonable price so make sure you check there too!
It isn't easy to get these special evenings scheduled but believe me, it is so worth it!