Being busy is a badge of honor.
It means you’re successful, in demand, important, and indispensable. You have things to do and people to see. Maybe you have a friend you must schedule out six months in advance to have coffee because he or she is just that busy.
May this never be the story with our spouses. May we never get so busy that we can’t have a daily conversation and kiss, regular date night, and yearly overnight getaway. Our schedules can get cluttered with carpools, work projects, errands, sports events, church, and Netflix binges…while our spouses get the leftovers.
No more leftovers! It’s time for our spouses to get priority status, not just in theory, but in practice. When you think of the most important person in your life, your spouse pops to the top of the list. But in the schedule, he or she is often nonexistent.
Someone once told me that date nights are less expensive than marriage counseling (and more fun too). When you have time to regular connect with your spouse (phone free by the way), you prevent the arctic chill from settling between you. You have time carved out for laughing and remembering what drew you together in the first place. Date night gives you a break from the breakneck pace of parenting. Date nights are a bright spot on the calendar…so are you going on them?
Before you think I’m out every Friday night with my husband of 20+ years, let me tell you this is something we are constantly working on. James works as a realtor from his home office and I write from home too, so we see each other throughout the day. We don’t have to ask, “How was your day?” because usually, we know. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need a date night to get away.
Are you in a rut with date night, going to the same restaurant and ordering the same food each time? Here are a few cheap ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
— Hike down Memory Lane and walk that trail you used to when you were dating.
— Scavenger hunt: Have your kids come up with five random items to find at the mall. You and your spouse go out and take photos with those five things.
— Still have a drive-in movie place in your town? Time to go and snuggle again!
— Barnes and Noble night. Pick a book for each other to read.
— Have a candlelight dinner at home. Have your kids serve and make you dinner if they are old enough.
— Miniature golf, driving range, billiards, or bowling night.
— Try a class together: ballroom dancing, painting, cooking, exercise…
— Tourist night: go to the places in your town tourists usually visit.
Think fun. This isn’t time for a business meeting about finances or a crisis management session about your daughter’s Instagram account. Those important topics are for another time. Date night is about flirting, listening, touching, connecting, laughing, and having fun together.
I’m a big fan of the overnight date once a year or even quarterly. Being away from your kids for 24 hours gives you a different perspective and allows needed time to bond with your mate again. You can just go to a local hotel on a coupon…it can be a fairly inexpensive way to have a mini-honeymoon in your home city. In the busyness of everyday life, make time for dating your spouse. It will be one of your wisest investments.
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of several books including 31 Days to a Happy Husband and Parents Rising: 8 Strategies for Raising Kids Who Love God, Respect Authority, and Value What’s Right. Learn more at ArlenePellicane.com.