Start a Date Night In–Part I

 

FIve Reasons to Start a Date Night In

When we started this tradition, my husband was in the middle of opening his business and also working a second job. There were only two nights a week that we had more than an hour to spend together, and we brainstormed ideas for how we could really make the most of the time we did have together: Our weekly “Date Night In” was born. It has been so awesome for us as individuals and for our marriage that I am thrilled to get to share it with you.

In Part One, you’ll find five reasons to commit to a weekly Date Night In, and the follow-up Part Two post you’ll find the rules my husband and I follow for our at-home dates. Why should you and your spouse start a Date Night In routine?

  1. Sanity – Adding a new baby to the family is challenging, whether it is your first child or your fifth. Babies are so very dependent on their parents, especially in the first year. When parents add a child to the mix, it can be hard to maintain a sense of individuality within parenthood. Becoming “Mommy and Daddy” can easily take over, causing spouses to feel disconnected from the individual they were before the baby came. Don’t feel guilty about needing some “me” time, despite how much you love being a parent! It’s okay, even necessary, to protect your sanity by accessing who you are as an individual. Who better to remind you that you are both Mom, Mama, or Mommy as well as a beautiful, brilliant woman who is fun to spend time with than your spouse? Making Date Night In a weekly tradition will help you both carve out time to focus on yourselves and your marriage. Bonus? Boosting your sense of self and security in your marriage will help you as a parent as well.
  2. Prioritization – A Date Night In routine sends a clear signal to both spouses: You are my priority. When your husband sets aside that work assignment and wakes up early to finish it the next morning, the message is clear. Work matters, but there is time for you. It matters to me that we connect enough that I can set these things aside. When a wife turns her ‘guilty pleasure’ show off and logs off her social media accounts, it tells her husband the same things–it matters to me that we spend this time together, and I will gladly put you first. When children are added to a marriage, it can be a challenge to feel like your relationship comes first. Couples may agree that the marriage comes first and is top priority, but the day to day of changing diapers, feeding babies, and playing blocks can make it harder to see specifically how the marriage comes first. A weekly Date Night In is an intentional commitment to prioritizing your relationship with your spouse.
  3. Flirtation – Parents need to flirt with each other! Married parents become a team, each spouse contributing time and energy to meet the needs of the family. It’s a necessary component of marriage, right? Spouses need to work together to get through the day, pay the bills, work toward goals. Dating prior to marriage, however, doesn’t really look the same. There is a lot more time together just build around recreation – dinner out, parties, movies. Spending time together recreationally allows spouses to get back to that part of their relationship. Parents can and should still do these things out of the house, but typically the frequency drops of when children enter the picture. Having a weekly date night at the house when the children are asleep carves out time for recreation. Game night, a special take out meal, recreation of a favorite activity from the dating years–these types of at-home dates encourage spouses to flirt and be playful with one another.
  4. Intimacy – A weekly Date Night In routine provides a consistent opportunity for emotional and physical intimacy. Raising children is hard work, and those early years of parenting includes a lot of time committed to nighttime parenting as well. The reality of the time commitment to parenting means that finding time for intimacy is harder to do once children come along. To maintain a healthy level of connection with your spouse, intimacy in its different forms is essential. Date Night In is a weekly opportunity to do what my husband and I call “emotional check-ins.” We have a chance to ask big questions–How do you feel about work? What are your goals for this year, and how are they going? What has been challenging for you lately? And because we’ve set time aside to focus on each other without distractions, we are capable of being good listeners and having higher quality conversations. Setting aside time for Date Night also allows for more time for physical intimacy, another component of marriage that often requires intentional prioritization and open communication once children are added to the family.
  5. Growth – Being in a lifelong committed relationship is an opportunity for both personal growth and marital growth. A consistent weekly Date Night In is a way to make steady improvements in communication and unity. Giving each spouse a chance to refocus and regain a little sanity, keeping the relationship a top priority, and setting aside opportunities for healthy flirtation and intimacy are all benefits of Date Night In that will allow for growth in marriage.

Do I have you convinced? Look for a follow up post for the “rules” of Date Night In, as well as future posts with Date Night In ideas for you and your spouse! If you can’t wait for my follow up posts and want to get started immediately, check out The Dating Divas for ideas.

Claire Dodge is a wife and mother of two toddlers living in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. She is a Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth instructor and helps her husband part-time in his prenatal and pediatric chiropractic office. She loves all things natural living and attachment parenting, and loves to get lost in books, yarn, and a good run.

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