I love a good date night out.
My husband and I would pretty much rather eat good food than do anything else so usually our food IS our activity – choosing something delicious and new. And then we’ll walk around a (free) museum or go to a (cheap) game and talk about the food we ate because those are the kind of people we are.
If I had to pick one regret from the early part of our marriage it would be that we didn’t consistently keep dating. We occasionally would see a movie. Rarely go out for something fun. Often we would walk, but it was more as an after thought after dinner or a way to stretch our legs when we worked too much.
Now, I often keep notes of things we need to remember to talk about. Spontaneous walks happen only with the whole family in tow. And we can’t even stay awake through an entire movie.
And I think back to when we were first married, and for all of the ways that we worked on our marriage, we didn’t learn to make date nights a priority until we were about to have baby #2. I came home from a MOPS meeting and suggested the idea of a set, at home date night once a week. You thought it was a crazy idea. But we tried it. And we liked it.
And then we decided we still needed dates out.
And nights away.
I don’t know about you, but do those things feel so hard to schedule? I can’t even put my finger on why exactly it feels hard to schedule but it feels like this whole thing to get out of the house for a date night out.
And that doesn’t even include the times it’s just not in the budget, because sometimes it’s just not in the budget.
We all know that marriage is more than the date nights. We also know that we all love the spark, and the getting ready, and the specialness of the date night.
So how do we get those things when we can’t get a date night?
How to Make Your Marriage a Priority When You Can’t Get a Date Night
Say Thank You
As moms, we know that much of our jobs are thankless. And truth be told, that goes for our husbands, too. Take some time to really see and notice him and tell him thank you. (Need some help getting started? Try these 10 Days of Thankfulness in Marriage prayer emails!)
Touch Each Other
Whether this is hand holding as you fall asleep at night, putting your hand on his arm while you talk, or a lingering hug, make it a point to make a physical connection.
10 Second Kiss
Kiss him like you mean it at least once a day. (And no I’m not saying you’ve got to start something but let him know he’s still your guy. Ok, also you can start something.)
Do Something Thoughtful
Think of a specific way you can serve him, like getting him a cup of coffee in the morning or making his eggs fried instead of scrambled, just because he likes ’em that way.
Spend Time Listening
I’m a talker by nature so I once made a rule that until he asked me how my day was, I could only ask him more questions about his day. Here’s what I learned – I learned that my husband, who may not seem like much of a talker, absolutely IS a talker, if I ask the right questions and show I’m listening to his answers. I learned how to really find out more about my husband.
Give Him a Little Gift
Ok, not every day on this one, especially if the budget is tight. But what about grabbing a little something at the grocery store to let him know you were thinking about him, like his favorite snack?
Spend Shoulder to Shoulder Time
Quality time doesn’t have to be talking time. Just be in the same room as him, interested in what he’s doing. Offer to help if you can.
Encourage Him as a Husband
Tell him something specific he did that made you feel loved today.
Put It On the Calendar
Putting our weekly date night on the calendar as the rule made it become the rule instead of the exception. After the kids go to bed on Saturdays, it’s time for us to do something together. Sometimes that’s a board or video game. Sometimes a movie or show. More recently it’s been enjoying a meal together, just the two of us, that doesn’t require refereeing.
Assume the Best About Each Other
Sometimes we just forget that even if everything isn’t perfect (and it’s usually not!) that our husbands agreed to be on our team for life. So believing they have good will towards you, even if they don’t say or do something perfectly, can go a long way.
Remember, It’s the Marathon
I’m actually pretty sure none of these will turn your feelings around in a day. But here’s what I know – every time that we choose to make our marriages matter, to make the a priority, to see our husbands, to focus on the good things, that more good things will grow out of it. It may mean pulling some bricks out of the patio when we only meant to pull weeds, but putting the bricks back in correctly will be for the better down the road.
Marriage is the long game, the marathon. It’s building, and practicing, and growing, together, over time.
Taking time to invest in it each day will give you more to draw from as your life together continues.