Follow The Stir

Staying Married With Kids

Love & Learn

How Date Nights Can Save Your Marriage

by Kristen Chase on December 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM

In defense of the date nightI'm the first one to admit that I don't always practice what I preach, particularly when it comes to date nights and getaways with your spouse.

In theory, I think that married couples' romantic get-togethers, along with a few other things like saying "I love you," are not only awesome but necessary for a healthy relationship. But in reality, they are pretty tough to execute, especially when you've got four kids, a traveling husband, and family that lives hundreds of miles away.

But when my husband and I do get the rare opportunity for a night away from the kids, we seize it. And wow, has it really changed my perspective on how it affects a marriage.

As much as we enjoy going out together or, better yet, staying in a hotel without the kids, it's amazing how easily we can talk ourselves out of it. And worse, relegate those times to special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, if we're lucky.

I'm not going to completely blame our lack of alone time on the fact that we don't have family nearby to help us out. But when I see neighbors and friends with grandparents who take the kids for the weekend or pop over so they can go out to dinner, I think of how lucky they are. Going on dates is definitely a much bigger challenge for us. For one thing, babysitting is expensive! And as much as I love the idea of a babysitting co-op, which a few of my neighbors do, there's just no way we can burden someone with four children.

Then there's my husband's schedule, which generally takes him away from home about half the month total and definitely complicates matters. Usually date nights can't be planned that far in advance, so finding a sitter is many times a last-minute scramble.

But this time, the stars aligned, and my mother-in-law was already coming to town to help my husband with the kids while I was away on business. So we figured, why not take advantage of the free childcare, go to his work holiday party two hours away, and stay overnight?

Trust me, leaving my children with my mother-in-law is a bit of a scary prospect -- not for safety reasons, thank goodness, but more for what they might hear come out of her mouth. Also for what she'll feed them, which, by the way, turned out to be cinnamon buns, ice cream cones, and a ton of candy.

But hey, while they played their video games for three hours straight (as my son told me with great excitement), and they ate more sugar than they probably have in a very long time, we got a chance to get dressed up, enjoy the company of other adults together, and sleep in until 8:30 a.m.

I can't remember the last time that's happened.

And yes, while the extra sleep alone was worth it, the time we spent together just made us much more tolerant of each other, and much more patient with our kids.

So now instead of waiting for opportunities to present themselves, I'm going to make them. Not just budgeting for the date nights, which I'm planning to put on the schedule at least once a month, but the overnight getaways too. They might not happen as often as I'd like, but damnit, I'm determined to make them happen more than once every eight years.

When's the last time you had a date night or an overnight getaway with your spouse?

 

Image via Simon_sees/Flickr

Filed Under: marriage

Comments

7
  • CaliG...
    --

    CaliGirl925

    December 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM
    My husband & I get a "date night" once to twice a month. But, it IS easier on us b/c my parents live in the same town as us. So, we are blessed to have them take our 2 kids overnight. My husband is my best friend, & we have a blast together, no matter where we are. But it's great to have "us" time, even if we spend the whole time talking about the kids! LOL
  • gridi...
    --

    gridironsmom

    December 11, 2012 at 9:34 PM
    We have two kids, our best friends have four kids. We trade date nights and overnights.
  • Cel7777
    --

    Cel7777

    December 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    My hubby will often just suggest we drive somewhere and stay at a hotel overnight, just for the hell of it. I'm always happy to oblige. But we're lucky to have family close-by, my mom in particular, who is more than willing to watch the kiddos.


  • Angie...
    --

    AngieHayes

    December 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    My kids have never stayed the night with anyone, not even my own parents, they don't want to do that.... :(  I just have to resort to the 14 year old down the street for a couple of hours, but I would love a nice little vacation away from home, and kids!


  • Corri...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Corri Cole

    December 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    We so need to do this.

    We haven't been on actual date-date since April.  Wandering around Costco for a couple of hours with (only!) the baby strapped to my chest while the older kiddos were in school's as close as we've gotten.

    Don't get me wrong - it was oddly fun.  
    We goofed off and joked while strolling through the aisles and stocking up on cat food and cereal, but it's not a night out together.  Now that our baby's taking a sippy cup (she resolutely refused pumped milk in a bottle), we'll be able to remedy that.  


  • David
    -- Nonmember comment from

    David

    December 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM
    I stumbled across your site doing a "date night spouse" google search. My wife and I have a 3 yr old boy and a 4 month old girl. My wife and I have not been on a "date night" in 8 months. We have family that can take care of the kids, but I think she is afraid to leave my daughter because she is addicted to breast feeding. I've already told her a few times we should go out to dinner or a movie or just anything alone! She's not into it. It seems like she is a mother first and a wife second. I don't know what to do. This is taking a toll on my patience.
  • Cathl...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Cathleen Holmes

    February 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM
    My husband and I have 3 little girls and feel like pulling our hair out most days. We have a standing sitter and a pact to do 2 date nights EVERY week. It has made our marriage even better in so many ways! Most people say they can't imagine ever being able to make that time commitment work with their weekly schedule. It is honestly no harder than making your gym schedule work once it's a part of your routine. Figuring out date night time is a heck of a lot better than figuring out divorce lawyer time!
1-7 of 7 comments

To leave a comment, log in as a CafeMom member:

Log In

OR, use our non-member comment form: