How to Prioritize Date Night
I know you’ve heard it before, but I think it's worth repeating: We should all make time to date our significant other. But, like, why is it so hard to go on a date? I want date nights. I actually REALLY want them. Life just gets in the damn way. On Friday nights, Ammon and I often find ourselves looking at each other and asking, “why didn’t we even think of going out?!” Sheesh.
Making It HappenI think the key to regular date nights is taking the time to prepare a few days in advance. For those of us with young kids, that means planning for a sitter. Bleh! Getting a sitter is something I loathe doing, so it’s our main date night hurdle. I have a few ideas for making it easier though.
- Make it a habit. If you make planning date night part of your routine early in the week, it’ll start to come more naturally.
- Make it a game. Sometimes Ammon and I set a timer to see if we can find a sitter before times up. You could even turn it into a competition where the first person to find a sitter wins. Make the prize for winning worthwhile!
- Babysitter swap. Do you have friends with young kids, too? Alternate watching each other’s kids each week so you each get 2 date nights a month. Get more friends involved and set up a system that allows you even more date nights and less babysitting nights.
- Schedule in bulk. Try planning out a month or more at a time, where you ask each resource you have to babysit only once.
- Change your date night. We tend to think of date nights as Friday or Saturday evenings, but maybe that doesn't work for your schedule. Try planning it for a weeknight or during the day sometime. Date night can happen anytime!
Babysitters aren’t an option at the moment? I totally get it. I've been there. Not having a babysitter is actually how we started having our car dates. My best advice for couples who can't get out of the house is to plan a nice evening together at home. Once the kids are in bed, share a favorite treat, play games, watch a new movie and snuggle, take time to just talk.
Making It Count
When Ammon and I plan in advance, we tend to put more thought into what we want to do on our date. Take out and a movie at home is a favorite of ours, but after a while the connection is kind of lost, and we end up going to bed without really talking or connecting at all. Doing things that bring us closer to each other is so important. It's what keeps the foundation of our partnership and our family strong.
Here are some of my favorite things Ammon and I do to rekindle the flame between us. Maybe you’ll find some new ideas here.
- Make a reel. You’re probably thinking, “No way! That’s silly!” But no, it’s freaking fun! There are a million ideas out there and you don’t even have to post it, it’s just a way to get silly together.
- Have a picnic in an unusual, quiet spot. Eating and talking is always a good idea. You can even bring a list of questions to ask your partner - I have one here.
- Take a hike or a walk. Be sure to take breaks to talk, or sit down and have a heartfelt conversation at the top.
- Do something hard together. Something you can plan for, train for, work toward. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but accomplishing something hard together is very rewarding.
- Make love. More couples need to have more love making sessions. I think a healthy sex life is not the norm and it makes me sad. Sex is such a tricky subject sometimes, but honestly just doing it is half the battle. You deserve to feel good and so does your partner. If you’re not enjoying it, spice things up. Try toys or lingerie. Take the time to learn about each other’s bodies and the things each of you like. Learn about your own body so you can communicate your needs better. I highly recommend following Kristin B. Hodson if you're interested in expanding your knowledge about your sexual health. She's a licensed sex therapist who shares a valuable information daily.
- Go fishing and make out in a private spot.
- Go to a sports game and go all out. Paint your face, wear the jersey and get into it!
- Play Guess who “The Abi Way.” Learn how here.
- Go for a drive, because it forces you to chat. Or just listen to music and jam out. Here are some good playlists.
- Write down all the negative things you have been feeling or want to release and have a bonfire - burn the paper!
- Frisbee Golf or normal golf, not even kidding. It’s so fun, even if you have no idea how to play.
- Rent a hotel room for the night or go on a weekend trip without the kids. If that's out of the budget, send the kids for a sleepover at grandma's and enjoy the house alone together.
- Join a league - bowling, softball, volleyball, whatever it is! It’s a set thing you get to do weekly that is fun for both of you.
- Take an art class together. No kidding, throwing pots can be super sexy, haven't you seen Ghost?
- Give each other massages or get a couples massage. Trust me, it’s worth every second.
Feeling stumped on ways to connect with your SO? Maybe you feel like your interests are too different. You're not alone. I think that's a common concern for couples. A while ago I found the coolest worksheet in the back of the book His Needs, Her Needs (a fantastic book). The worksheet lists a bunch of recreational activities, along with an interest scale for you to mark for each one. Print two copies, so you and your partner can each fill one out, then compare your responses and find the areas where your interests align. It's a great jumping-off point for finding activities you can enjoy together.
I know taking time to connect with your lover can be hard and annoying and sometimes monotonous, but honestly, good relationships take work and time. Small moments can turn into lasting memories when we prioritize making time for those moments. Looking back on our relationship, my favorite memories have been the times we connected in simple ways. I want to do it more.
I want to hear your thoughts on dating and connecting with your partner. Are you having regular date nights? How do you make time for it? Are there other ways you and your partner like to connect? What hurdles do you face? How do you find common interests to connect over?