When I tell people that Brad and I haven't missed a single date night in the three and a half years that we've been married, they think I'm lying. Sometimes they flat out tell me that there's no way.
But there really is a way. I mean, we had a date night two days after I gave birth. It was super simple and a stay-in date night, but we made it happen.
And I'm going to share my secrets with you today. And the main secret is that there really isn't a secret. We just do a few simple things to make it happen.
Make the Commitment
First and foremost, you both have to make the commitment. When we were first married, we both promised that we would always make date night happen. No matter what. Every week. With that commitment in place, it is much harder to just brush it off. You both have to be on board with this. So I guess I should probably mention the why of date night. It's easy to just say "we're married now, we're good." But I would actually say "we're married now, date night is even more important." After marriage, things get busier. You will both have a lot on your plate and you might go for days without really reconnecting. And then kids join the family and as wonderful as they are, you lose the little alone time you once had. So for me, a weekly date night is a minimum. And why? We need that time to reconnect. We need to catch up on the week and get on the same page. We need time without the distraction of the kids, work, studies, etc. We need time to just slow down and hold hands. So make the commitment!
I get it. Spontaneity is exiting. It's attractive. It's fun. But there is nothing worse than getting to Friday night and realizing that date night just isn't going to happen. One of you has to work late. The kids have a concert/ball game/project. You have another obligation. Planning ahead can avoid this hurdle. We like to sit down and see if Friday Night is available for date night. Generally speaking, we have set Friday Night aside for our date, but we've learned that we have to be a little flexible sometimes. If Friday night at 7:00 just isn't fitting, find a day and time that will work. Which brings me to my next point.
Think Out of the Box
Date Night doesn't have to be a 3-4 hour long thing every week. While that would obviously be the ideal, there are weeks that just doesn't happen. It also doesn't always have to be dinner and a movie. If you're in a super busy week, try some of our Date Night Ideas for Busy Weeks. You might have to have a breakfast or lunch date rather than a dinner date. You might have to catch a quick dessert on Tuesday night. You might have to have a stay-at-home date night once you get the little ones to bed. You might even have to make something that could be mundane into a date night. Have to go grocery shopping? Split the list in two and see who can finish the fastest. Then have a treat together. Have to wash the car? Change into some old clothes and get your work done and then have a water fight. Anything can be turned into a date night if you make it special and different. Just because Friday night at 7:00 isn't available doesn't mean that you have to skip out on date night.
Get Creative with Sitters
Most people figured that our date nights would end or drop lower once we had our little one. But for us, it was even more important to make it happen every week once we were parents. So here are some of our ideas for what to do with the kiddos:
Pay for a traditional babysitter.
Swap babysitting with friends... you take their kids once a month and they take yours once a month.
Have a stay at home date night once a month.
Mooch off of family who adores your children.
Generally speaking, we do 1 date a month where we pay a babysitter, 1 a month where we swap, and 2 stay at home dates a month after our little one goes to bed (it's all about that alone time). And when we're visiting family, we definitely take them up on their offers to watch the baby... if you don't abuse that option, they will keep offering!
Basically, find what works for you with the little ones, but don't make them an excuse. Even if you only have 30 minutes to spare in the week, make it a date night.
Budget it In
Give yourselves a date night budget. Even if you can't afford much, give yourselves a little something. That demonstrates that it's important to you and that you are going to invest in your relationship.
Well, there you have it. My ideas for making Date Night happen every week! Like I said, it can be tricky. While we always shoot for Friday Night, sometimes it just doesn't happen. The key is finding at least a little bit of time in the week where you can mix up your routine, do something different and fun, and spend some quality time together just the two of you!
If you have any other ideas, I'd love to hear them in the comments! How do you make date night happen every week?