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Friday, May 2, 2014

dating and marriage

A week ago I woke up in a huge, comfy, fluffy, 6-pillows hotel bed. I took the longest shower ever, without anyone bugging me. I then ate a long breakfast where I actually spoke to my husband, like talked, instead of got cut off from hungry kids. It was awesome!

I wrote more about how my husband took me out on a fancy date night away for our 5 years wedding anniversary here:

It's so important to spend quality time with your significant other. It's so easy to forget that you matter to each other when you are so caught up in taking care of the kids. 

It would be awesome for you to go out on an overnight date with your partner. If you are ready to do that (I know it can take you a while to be ready to leave the kids), I highly encourage it. Here's the thing though, sometimes you don't have time, money or energy to get a sitter and go out. That's OK, as long as you do something with your partner, it's great.

If it's easier to just stay in, here are some ideas for you:
  • Weekly, have dinner together at home after the kids are in bed. Eat together to actually talk together. Have salad or a snack with the kids eating dinner, then after they are in bed eat your meal with your partner.
  • Get some ice cream and sit on the deck outside. 
  • Take a walk together, even if the kids are in a stroller. 
  • Play a board game.
  • Watch a series show on Netflix, only watch it together so you keep caught up with it. 

Or if you have time to go out try one of these ideas:
  • Grab coffee and drive around looking at cool houses you'd buy if you had more money.
  • Go out for a movie and popcorn. 
  • Grab dinner at the Mall food court. 
  • Take a walk on the beach.
  • Hang out at an arcade just for fun.
  • Go bowling.
  • Walk leisurely around some shopping plaza or some beach shops.
There are TONS of date night ideas on Check it out!

The point is no matter what you do, make sure you do something.

For us, we've been doing monthly date nights out of the house. We do it around our anniversary day (17th) of the month so that it reminds us to plan it. We are lucky to have lots of babysitters in grandparents around, so we have to just plan ahead a bit to ask one of them to help out.

Every time we have a date it's difficult to get out of the house and not be exhausted... but we love it once we're out! We feed the kids early, put them in pajamas early so it's one less thing the sitter has to do and we read stories together like we would at bed time until the grandparents arrive. Then all they have to do is play or watch a movie together before putting the kids to bed. Easy!

We never do Friday date nights out. It's too hectic after busy work week. The kids are exhausted so don't act as well for sitters, and they miss us. So we try to do Saturday nights instead, we're all much more rested and in better moods then. 

If we ever have months or weeks where we just can't seem to get out of the house, or if we have zero money to go out to dinner or do something nicer, we just plan a date night IN! It's not as fun as leaving, but we still count it.

We watch TV or a movie together. We make a special meal on the grill or order Chinese food. We talk in the hot tub. Sometimes we've worked on a house project together while chatting about our work week.

Whatever it is, just do something fun and meaningful together to keep you connected.

Sometimes all we need is some time together to catch the other up on our work busy-ness or to discuss if we're going to sign up our son for soccer or which car needs an oil change. Not fun date night conversation, I know, but honestly sometimes just having space and time away to really process and talk about things like that is important, too.

Your children are not the only ones you should be putting effort into or taking care of. They aren't the only ones who need quality time with you focused entirely on them. Your partner needs your patience, support, encouragement, and funny laughter also! 

It's OK to leave the kids home. I swear my kids have more fun with their grandparents than with us. And if you're lucky with kids who go to sleep early, you could plan date night out while they are asleep. You could go out during nap time even if you wanted a day time date while the kids aren't awake. Whatever works, just make it happen! You'll be happy that you did.

I swear that being more connected to your partner helps you be a better parent. I'll share more about WHY and HOW a strong relationship helps you to be greater parents in the next blog post.

What are your date night plans? How often do you get out with your partner? Where is your favorite date night out spot?

If you haven't gone out in forever, ask yourself why not? And then figure out how you can make it happen, even for a short time.

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