I was talking with my climbing group the other day, and I had mentioned going on dates with my husband. Both of my friends have significant others as well, so the conversation turned to how going on dates can be important and fun to a relationship.
My husband and I are very blessed to have so much family in town that can watch our son. We do a lot of things as a family, but we never want to lose sight of doing stuff together as a couple. In our fast paced culture, it can be easy to just fill our schedule and never get time to take a breathe. We try to do dates a couple times a month, even if it’s just doing a quick lunch during his lunch hour.
How does a date differ from just hanging out? My husband and I are involved in many different friend groups and communities. Between church, work, school, AWANA, climbing, and board games, we literally can fill every single night with an event (and we often do). However, this can lead to severe burnout, especially for an introvert like my husband.
We have therefore learned to say no to things and to make sure we schedule in 2-3 dates a month to get that quality time. To me, a date is specifically taking time to spend with your significant other, focusing on quality time. For this reason, we avoid movies unless it’s Star Wars. We want to spend face to face time together. When we were younger and didn’t have a kid, we saw movies a lot. But when you get just 2-3 hours every few months to go on a one on one date, we aren’t gonna waste it staring at a screen.
We also have needed to vary our dates. Going on a climbing date is loads of fun, but then we finish off the night absolutely exhausted, instead of recharging our mental, emotional, and physical batteries. So we try to do a climbing date or a lunch date or just a walk at the park date.
I understand that not everyone can do dates out, but even just carving out an hour at home when the kids are in bed can be beneficial to your relationship! Also, build your community around people who support you and your family. If you have kids, find friends or family who can watch your kids for a bit so you can catch a break. It does actually take a village to raise your kids. More on that in another blog post.
Even if you don’t have kids, go on dates with your spouse! Even people without kids can fill their schedules so much that they don’t take time to spend together. My husband and I love going on dates, especially because as a dating and engaged couple we were long distance. We wouldn’t see each other for a few months at a time, and so every date was so special. We have now carried that into our marriage.
One more note: your don’t have to do something crazy big every time for a date. Sometimes all you need is some coffee and a walk in the neighborhood. Just taking the time to spend together, especially without screens is vital to a relationship in this uncompromising social media driven world.