Married, but dating

I have a confession to make.
I love dating.
I love my husband, I really do.  But, I think one of the reasons why we are happy today, is because we agreed we would continue to date even after we got married.
It’s been 9 years, and it still thrills me to get dressed up for a date.  To sit and have dinner without the distractions of kids.  To watch the sun set and dream about the future.  And then go home, together, to our sleeping children and messy house and all the responsibilities and tasks to accomplish and know that we are in this together.
You see, he’s more important than my job.  More important than any other friendship in my life.  He’s more important than my very long bucket list of things to experience.  Even more important than… my kids! (Gasp!) 
We realized a couple of years ago that “mommy and daddy” were only going to be good at this parenting thing if we had a good marriage first.  And together we are teaching our kids that it’s not only ok, but a really good thing that mommy and daddy want to get away by themselves.  We are building stability and hopefully a good example of what it means to have 1 – a healthy family and 2 – a healthy marriage.
And it’s hard.  I know.  Especially when you have really young kids and babies.  Between keeping the budget in check, and feeding schedules, and the inevitable guilt for leaving your children in the care of someone else, it’s easy to watch the weeks and months fly by without a single date night on the calendar.  We’ve been there.  That’s why we established an early bedtime for our kids from the beginning.  We knew it would mean earlier mornings, but it also ensured that by 7:30 we would have a few hours in the evening to ourselves.
Here are a couple of ideas if you feel that getting “date nights” is, next to impossible:

  • Get up together in the morning.  If your kids sleep late anyway, get up and have coffee, eat breakfast or workout together.  Or just sit and chat.  Catch up.  Plan your day or your week.  Enjoy the quiet of the morning.
  • Plan for morning or lunch breaks.  Sometimes leaving kids for bedtime with a baby-sitter is just a recipe for disaster.  Make everyone’s life easier and plan for whatever time of day works for you.  Maybe you can take a morning off to go workout or shop.  Or maybe meeting somewhere for an hour for lunch is easiest.  It’s not about the time, or the place— it’s about making it a priority.
  • Be active, together.  A lot of couples find the cost of a gym membership worth it, if it includes on-site childcare.  It might just give you a chance to take a class, go for a swim, or work out – together.
  • Enlist the help of family and friends.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Ask for a couple of hours of baby-sitting (especially if someone has already offered!)  You don’t always need a 6 hour date night.  Sometimes 2 hours is all you need to reconnect.

It’s worth it to be creative and make the time for each other. Otherwise you’re going to be the empty-nesters who sit across the dinner table from each other and one day ask “who are you?”  “what do we have in common?” and “why are we still married?”  Sad to say.  Hard to hear.  But truth none-the-less.

Your spouse was around before your kids were even a thought (for most of you).  And after those sweet little angels are off on their own, your spouse will still be there.  Why not commit to keeping that romance, that love, that spark – alive? It’s way easier to keep a fire going, then to start one from nothing.