Simplifying Date Nights!

Let me preface this by saying that I know some of you may be new to the dating scene and others may not have the slightest interest in dating. That being said, this post is geared towards those of you who have been there, done that, and are well into your lives with your significant others. Whether that be your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, significant other, etc I want you to remember to ALWAYS keep dating the one you love. So many of us get so wrapped up in our work lives, our kids lives, or just our daily routines that we forget to pay attention to our love lives. Ok that sounded sappy and cliche but it’s still true!

Why keep dating after marriage/committing?

Better question, why would you ever want to stop? Let’s think about this logically…when dating you try to think of new and different things to do together, you spend time talking (and, more importantly, listening!), and you put effort into how you look and what you plan. Once you have committed to spending your life with the one you love that’s when dating should really start. By then, you know your partner better than anyone and your partner knows you (likely) almost as well as you know yourself.

I want to..I really do..but…

Date nights are soooo easy to excuse away. I won’t lie, it’s not an easy thing to do and especially challenging once kids are in the picture. I beg of you to think that the more challenging it seems then the more likely is is that you NEED it more than anything else. If your schedule is so packed you claim to not have time, if your kids are in too many activities, if you don’t have the money to spare because life gets in the way, those are all challenges and obvious signs that you deserve a date break 😉 Now that you recognize the signs, what are you going to do about it? Make excuses or make it happen?

Let’s start by breaking down those common excuses. Schedule is too full and no time to waste on dating? Dating isn’t a waste, it’s time set aside to spend with those you love and it’s necessary to healthy relationships. As for the schedule issue, trust me when I say that I get it, I really do! But are you really so busy that you can’t spare maybe two hours a month? Think about how much time you spend checking emails, Facebook, Pinterest, playing games on your computer at night and on the weekends. Now think about the last time you talked to the most important people in your life and that was your one and only focus. To talk and to listen. Do you maybe think you could find the time now? I bet you can.

This next excuse is geared towards those of you with kids. Let me start this section by saying that, as a mom, there is nothing more important or as special in my life as my child. Now let me continue by being my usual blunt and honest self, kids can consume your life and it’s not always in the best way. I say that with all the love in this entire world for my child! But, there is absolutely nothing wrong with missing a practice here and there. That’s right, I’m officially a bad mom for thinking that let alone saying it and putting it out there like that. But seriously, get a carpool situation figured out and take advantage of that hour and a half to spend quality time with you S.O. and/or your other kid(s). This can be especially beneficial when you get to the stage in life where you have kids in multiple activities. The parents of your kids’ friends are likely wanting to do the same as you so why not work together and alternate driving to and from practices/rehearsals/after school activities? Or take advantage of the grandparents wanting to watch their beloved grandchildren one night or afternoon and take some adult time for yourselves. Believe it or not, the world won’t end and kids survive under the supervision of other adults who are looking out for them.

Speaking of date nights at home, those are the simplest fix to the money challenge. Think you can’t afford regular date nights? Pssssh think again! Redbox movie or anew Netflix flick, favorite snacks, lights out,and snuggling under your favorite blanket together=priceless. Walking around a different part of the city than you are used to and taking candid photos together=free but surprisingly fun. No money to fly to exotic beach destination for a week=no problem! Pack your bags when gas is cheap and get in the car with no destination in mind. Stop where and when you feel like it and spend time talking and listening while you see where you end up! Have a favorite high end restaurant you’ve been dying to try but can’t afford? Put a few dollars aside each month in that date night fund jar and splurge a couple times a year. There’s something about a special meal and high quality food (and/or great drinks) that brings people together and they make memories as well. Notice I’m focusing on one on one dates so far but the possibilities are endless for family date nights too. Set up a tent outside and make s’mores and read stories, have a make your own pizza party at home, get a day pass to a nearby state park and spend the day experiencing what is has to offer, go on a bike ride and bring a picnic lunch or stop for ice cream cones on the way back (way less money than a family meal eating out but so much fun in kids’ eyes), go to the farmers market and walk around then stop at a park on the way back to let the kids burn some energy…you’re getting the picture by now I hope?

How do you keep dating consistently?

Now that you have workarounds to the challenges, take it a step further and make a plan. I’m not talking some unrealistic like date night every Saturday because this is real life and that’s never going to pan out. Look at your schedule, your honey’s schedule, and your kid’s schedule(s) and see if there are any times that are usually free. I’m a huge advocate of family dates and one on one dates with your S.O. Both are important to your dynamics and relationships. Set realistic goals to have one (or both if applicable) kinda of dates on a regular basis and make yourself accountable. Write a sticky note, hang something on the fridge, put a monthly reminder on your phone or email, do something so you are visually reminded and can’t ignore it. Personally, I set monthly reminders on my phone and my work outlook calendar with reminders one week before and the day of. That way I think about it at least twice a month and make myself figure out when it can happen.

Another big tip I recommend is not focusing on it having to be a date night or a set day of the week. It also doesn’t have to be ultra romantic or expensive. It’s 2019 people, dates can be bowling or pool on a Wednesday night for an hour and a half, a brunch at 10am on Sunday morning, a weekend getaway road trip, a goal of trying a new restaurant or making a new meal together once a month, a trip to a new park/playground/soccer field/ice skating rink/shooting range, a visit to a local brewery with the S.O. or trip to an apple orchard or berry/pumpkin patch with the family, go to a concert or local fair, or even take a random class to experience something different together (cooking, self defense, archery, pottery, painting, etc).

Possibilities are endless and restrictions have no place in talks of date plans! Check blogs of people in your city and check local websites to see what people recommend for new ideas. Check Yelp and ask around at work or church or library or the coffee shop to see what restaurants or road trips people suggest. Keep it interesting and you will want to keep it going on a regular basis. Now what are you still doing reading this? Get rid of your excuses, set your (visual) reminders, and start jotting down thoughts and making plans for your soon-to-be date “nights”!

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