Date nights after you get married are different. I know, I ALWAYS say that, but they are. And they are even more different after kids come along. I loved this article that my friend Annie wrote the other day about date night and prioritizing your marriage. I commented at the end of her post that 90% of our dates happen as family dates, with the two of us doing something together after the kids are in bed. And although I will count that as a date night most weeks, because we're making an effort to spend quality time together and do something outside our norm, it's still really nice to get out of the house without the kiddos and not have to worry about any of that while we are together.
No matter what you decide to do for date night or where your date night takes place, there are things that you can do to make your date nights greater. Planning an activity that's different than your daily routine and setting phones and other technology aside so you can focus on each other are just a couple of things that you can do. The four tips below are simple but will help make your date nights just a bit more exciting, like they were when your relationship was first starting out.
Ask each other out
With our busy schedules, date nights are usually planned in advance and we often know what we're going to do for our date days in advance. Sometimes I miss the days of spontaneously being asked on a date and the excitement leading up to that night. Even better were those nights when Joe kept what we were doing a surprise until we got there (or made plans on the fly, I'll never know which). I still look forward to planned date nights, but it's not quite the same if you know what I mean.
One thing that we do in our marriage is switch off weeks for planning our dates. Doing thins means that we can calculate well in advance when it is our week to plan. We can purchase tickets for events, plan something seasonal or put together something more extravagant. There is also no rule that says that we can't steal each other's week if we have a fun date activity that falls on the other person's week.
I've been known to plan my date night activities months in advance, then ask Joe to go on the date with me a week or two before. This summer for example, our community theater is presenting 1776, a musical I know we'd both enjoy. I looked at seating availability and our general schedule a couple of months ago and asked Joe if he'd be up for a Saturday afternoon date while the kids are napping one week. I'm purchasing tickets, arranging for childcare and then a couple of weeks before our date, I'll present the tickets to Joe and ask him if he'll be my date to the show!
A year or two into our marriage, you would usually find me wearing my comfiest clothes when Joe and I would go out on a date, especially during the winter. My hair was often pulled up into a bun and I never bothered to freshen up my makeup. I wasn't treating date night like the special occasion that it was.
Fast forward to today and date night is one of the only times that you'll find me all fancied up with full makeup, my hair done and wearing my favorite outfit. Being home with the kids for the majority of the week, I'm usually wearing those comfy clothes. I can more easily get down on the floor to play and I don't mind if my clothes get dirty throughout the day.
Date night is my favorite opportunity to make myself up. It makes me feel better and lets Joe know that the time that we are spending together to connect and work on our marriage is important to me!
Pick out your favorite outfit, do your hair in a way that you know your spouse loves and put on a little bit of lipstick. Date night will feel more special if the two of you are dressed like it is a special occasion.
Share an extra long kiss
Remember the days before you were married, when you hated to say goodbye at the end of the night and would steal kiss after kiss? Now date night ends and one of us is taking the sitter home, we're putting kids back to bed, we go on with our normal lives, etc.
Steal a kiss, or two, or three on the doorstep when you get home from your date! You can obviously still end your dates in other ways ;) but make sure you end every single one with a long, passionate kiss!
Thank each other
When you were in the dating phase of your life, after you'd go on a date with someone, what was one of the first things that you did after your date? I don't know how they did it before cell phones, but when I was in the dating stages, I would text my date half an hour after they dropped me off at home or the next day and thank them for taking me out.
You can do the exact same thing in marriage! Thank your spouse after you get home from the date and tell them what your favorite part of the night was. Thank them the next morning during breakfast and let them know that you can't wait for the next date. Send a text after the weekend is over and you're both back at work, thanking them for the date night fun and letting them know that you wish you were back on that date instead of at work.
The more we make date night a priority, the more it strengthens the relationship that we have with each other. Date night is a great way to continue to get to know your spouse. Date night also provides an opportunity to set aside your adult responsibilities and have fun together. Revive date night in your marriage and enjoy being each other's spouse, rather than just partners in life.