In August, we’re focusing on relationships in The Organised Life Project. We’ll firstly be focusing on our marriages (or the significant relationship in our lives, whether you’re married or not) and then on friendships. This week, we’re looking at why you need a weekly date night, and how you can fit one in to your busy lives.
What’s the point of a date night?
In the first few years of a relationship or a marriage, you really can focus on each other. You can spend hours over dinner, go out to watch a film, spend whole weekends just hanging out. You probably have very few commitments and it’s easy – comparatively – to have a date night.
I actually feel that when you have children, it changes your relationship hugely. You move from being able to completely prioritise each other, to prioritising someone else. It feels like every single second is taken up with the minutiae of daily life. Your identity changes: you go from being a wife to a mother. From a desirable woman to a milk-producing, baby-producing vehicle (or that’s how it sometimes feels). There’s less Agent Provocateur and more Mothercare.
A dedicated date night is one of the few chances you have to be solely wife and husband. You can focus on each other. It’s a chance to reconnect, to check in as adults rather than just parents.
I believe regular date nights, whether at home or out, are really important for your marriage. They help you to see your husband or partner as the person you fell in love with, rather than just the other person responsible for doing the washing up. It’s a chance to have a proper chat rather than snatches of conversation between nappy chances and meals. Put simply, a regular date night is vital for your relationship.
How often should you have a date night?
For most of us, the thing we are really short of is time. I know that’s definitely true for me, tying to juggle work, children, housework and a blog. Yet it’s through spending time with my husband that I really fall in love with him.
So I aim for a date night once a week. I’ll be honest, we don’t always make it. It’s usually at home – I’d say we go out only about once a month. But once a week, we try to have a meal together after the kids have gone to bed, and then do something – watch a film, go for a drink, or even just chat – together. We try to put our phones down and actually listen to each other!
Realistically, we can’t afford to go out once a week. Even if we could afford the cinema/restaurant/gig, we couldn’t afford to pay the babysitter! So we probably go out once a month. The other weeks, we stay at home.
What should you do on a date night?
Er… Well, this is entirely up to you! For us, we like to have a meal without kids (yes, a takeaway counts), and then do something together. It’s partly about having the time to focus on your marriage and partly about not doing the everyday jobs. That’s why Friday or Saturday nights are ideal.
You might like to look at some date night subscription boxes, or have a look at date night ideas on Pinterest. We’ve really enjoyed having a Date Night subscription from The Spicery but we do like cooking. We’re also partial to a Dine in for £10 deal.
You might theme your date nights. One couple we know did Alphabet Dates – working their way through the alphabet with themed date nights. It’s always nice to challenge each other to organise a date night, but don’t let it become a chore. It’s so important just to be together.
What about going out?
Of course you should go out if you can! One of the best things we’ve been able to do in the last few months is to find a babysitter who we can pay. She’s an older teenager, really loves the kids and is often more available than other mums.
I actually really prefer paying a responsible teenager to babysit. There’s much less obligation, and she’s much more flexible than our friends would be. But of course, if you can set up an arrangement with another couple, or if you’ve got grandparents who will babysit, take them up on the offer.
So this week, your challenge on The Organised Life Project is to schedule and plan some date nights. Put them in your diary. Book a babysitter for once a month.
Enjoy your date nights!