When you are in love, spending time together is a no-brainer. No one has to tell newlyweds to be obsessed with each other. Then years of marriage go by….you have kids, a career, a mortgage, PTA meetings, soccer practice, the dog has a Vet appointment and…….who are you again? It is so easy to become awesome roommates and forget that you started out as lovers! So how do you keep that spark alive? The secret is to date each other like you’re never going to stop and never want to stop. You and your hunny need to stay in “the zone” to keep things tight.
Our marriage is cursed with a common American problem: we are super busy. If we weren’t careful, we could go all week without really looking at each other. And we just refuse to have that be our love story! We decided years ago to carve out time in our schedule on a consistent basis for just us. We adjusted things in our budget to make date night a priority. We’ve maintained a list of great babysitters. We have made dating each other a priority. And you guys, my hubby is reeeaallly cute. So this is so not work to keep it up!
Enter our secret: Zone Dating.
Zone One: Daily. One sweet couple from our church encouraged us years ago to find a way to connect on a daily basis. They had developed a practice of the two of them sitting on the couch when they got home from work and spending 10-15 minutes filling each other in on their day, no interruptions allowed. This established two precedents: they cared about the mundane details of each other’s day and the kids understood that Mom & Dad’s relationship was something that was protected.
We repeat their example by hanging out, uninterrupted, in the kitchen when we both get home from work before we dive into dinner, homework, bath time, etc. If our kids try and interrupt, they are asked to come back when we are done. And you know what–everyone is ok. Our kids have a 100% survival rate so far during our “us time.”
Zone Two: Weekly. In this zone, you are looking for low-stress, inexpensive ways to have an uninterrupted date at least once a week. This will look very different depending on what season of life you are in. This year our kids are in a weekly evening scouting program, which means we have a standing dinner date every week. The chances of a child interrupting us during a Wednesday night dinner is very low–unless they figure out Uber.
When the kids were younger, our weekly date night looked more like putting the kids to bed just a bit earlier and ordering a pizza while we watched a movie on Netflix. Or meeting at the dining room table once a week with Whitey’s ice cream so we can discuss the book we are reading together. Or putting the kids in strollers while we walk around the neighborhood, talking. However we did it, we found a way to connect in a more relaxed way once a week.
Zone Three: Monthly. This last zone is the best because it is the most fun! This is the date night that you plan weeks in advance and make room in your budget for. This is the event you are both pumped about and looking forward to. Maybe due to finances and sitters, you can only do this every other month instead of monthly. That’s ok, the point is that it is scheduled!
Look for fresh ways to have new experiences together. A concert, a movie, a new restaurant, a comedy club. Whatever you would have done when you were dating (NO GROCERY SHOPPING!) For extra fun, take turns planning the date and make parts of it a surprise for the other person.
Continuing to date each other is a choice. But it is a choice you will not regret making, because the return on your investment is priceless. Your person loves you and knows you more intimately than any one else on this planet. They deserve your undivided time and attention! Lean in to your relationship and decide with us to #savedatenight
Struggling with the slow fade of marriage and needing to speak to a professional? Call South Park Psychology and ask to be scheduled with Rebekah Clark, LCSW:
Need some creative date ideas? Visit this local resource for some ideas:
Learn how to make date nights doable.
Remember why it’s important that you’re putting your marriage first.