Recently I was speaking to a younger friend about date nights and how he and his wife are able to keep the habit going. We also spoke about the challenges everyone has at the 30 something stage of life because of their busy-ness. It means we have to find someone to watch the kids, feel guilty for asking then find something to do that doesn’t cost too much, then make reservations if that’s what it takes or decide on a restaurant and finally after kissing kids, making sure everyone is fed and bathed head out the door without too much tugging and guilt about going. Sound typical? Yep! I remember those days. But yet, When I looked up the information about Dating your spouse and the benefits I found that it really is worth it. Here’s the site. Lots of great information there. http://nationalmarriageproject.org
First of all it’s really good for communication. If you are out on a date WITHOUT the kids you tend to have better focus on your spouse. It’s so easy to get distracted by little ones calling Mommy or Daddy or tugging at your leg etc. But date nights give an opportunity for the two of you to sit down enjoy and meal and talk like two adults. When you’ve had a chance to do that you tend to share things more readily and you are more likely to remember everything you need to share. Even as an empty nester I love it because it takes me away from all the “stuff” I need to either do at home on my phone or with other people. I need to focus on my husband just as much as anyone else does.
Second we tend to have some lulls in our marriage after a few years. We are so focused on other issues, like work or politics or whatever occupies our time that our marriage because hum-drum. We don’t feel the need to make things happen for a date night. we are nice and comfortable in the relationship and there are more pressing things.
Thirdly, it’s so easy for us to grow apart at this stage. Kids, work and other get us focused everywhere but on the marriage. Sometimes we need a bit of time just to touch base. Check in and Do a couple check-up. Now that’s a hard one. But if we stay close it’s easier to say the hard stuff. We don’t want to let the walls build up so that there are subject that are taboo.
Fourth, we need to have some fun! If we aren’t having fun together, who wants to stay together? Keep finding the things you have in common. I know that my husband I started cycling after the kids were out of the house. A dream I had always had, but put off till the kids were grown. We now get out on the road and just enjoy that time. We also love to have conversations about politics and dream about the future. Where we will retire, where we travel next what we want to do to help others. But it’s fun! I get very sad when I hear my friends talk about their husbands as grumpy and not fun. I’m choosing to have fun no matter what.
Fifth, you want to be there for each other when the physical part of the relationship slows down, but it just doesn’t happen, you have to build the trust and build communication. It’s so nice to have someone you know will be there for you when life gets tough.
Sixth, life is hard enough and when you have a best friend to go through it with you , your life expectancy is much better. We know that women live an average of 3 years longer if married and men 7 years longer and they are healthier. I just wonder if it’s this oxytocin thing going on. Kind of neat how God’s got it all planned for us to be in a monogamous lifestyle to the end because it really helps us to enjoy it so much more. Life is just not as lonely as it could be.
In other words, there are just too many good reasons to be intentional about your date night. Keep it going even when the kids are gone. Hopefully you will set the example for your kids and their marriages. Marriage is important in all stages of our lives. Go out and enjoy your time together! Oh and by the way, grocery shopping is not a DATE!