The necessity of Date Nights (or spending time together) for parents

Marriages take work. No one tells you that when you get married. There are compromises and fights along with the good times. And one thing that a couple needs to do – whether they have kids or not – is to continue dating.

OK, so maybe you don’t call it dating after you are married. But you spend time together much as you did when you were dating. You go to the Home and Garden show. You go out to lunch and a movie. You go shopping for new furniture. The point is you spend time together.

But too often when a couple has a child, gone are the hours spent alone together. A baby changes all of that as you adjust to life with this little creature who demands so much of your time.

In order to maintain your relationship as a spouse, you need to make time for your significant other. It is too easy to just get caught up in daily life and sometime neglect the connection you have with your spouse.

Before Jase was born, my husband and I could eat whenever (and wherever) we wanted. We could go to the store at the drop of a hat. But when Jase was born, some of that spontaneity was gone. No longer could we just jump in the car and go. There were supplies and a stroller to grab. And there was the baby’s eating and napping schedule to take into account.

As time progressed, we added Lexie to the mix. And while our spontaneity died down, we still made time for an occasional date night and let the grandparents watch the kids as we headed off to the holiday office party or a Spurs basketball game.

But now that the kids are in elementary school, more time is consumed with their activities, and evenings have given way to homework and bedtime schedules. And in this mix, it seems our date nights have been reduced to almost zero.

The need to spend time as a couple and nurture our relationship is of course just as important now. So my husband and I have become committed to actually planning some dates. Many times we meet for lunch while the kids are at school, and we don’t have to find a babysitter. But there is still the need to get away in the evenings or on the weekend.

Recently, we spent our time away from the kids researching some home-improvement projects we want to do to the house. No it wasn’t a romantic afternoon, but it was nice to be able to sit in a restaurant and talk without interruption.

I have been trying to keep my eyes open for events around town that we can try out – the comedy club, a weekend festival, a concert or convention that might interest us. In fact, we just bought tickets for a Broadway Across America show, Kinky Boots, that will be in San Antonio in January. We also plan to hit a few Spurs games in the next couple of months.

I definitely can see the benefit of spending time together. We get to reconnect and focus on our marriage. We get a break from our kids because as much as we love them, it is nice to have some time away from them even if it is only for an evening.