How often do you plan at date with your spouse? Once a week? Once a month? Never?
Do you actually block off time in your calendar each month to date your spouse?
Who plans the dates? What do your dates look like? Do both you and your spouse enjoy the activity or do one of you feel slighted in your dates but you never say anything about it?
When you are on your dates what is your conversation about? Kids? Money? Schedules? Dreams? Adventures?
Let’s face it, we can all come up with excuses for why we are not dating our spouse regularly. Here are some that have been part of our marriage.
We don’t have anyone to watch our kids. For over 10 years, we did not have any regular date nights as we did not have child care for our 4 young children. We tried our hardest to sneak in moments at night or when my husband would get home from work early. Most of the time we were exhausted and just trying to make it from one day to the next.
How to Overcome This Excuse – Be bold and ask people for help. If we could rewrite those 10 years, one of the things we would have done differently was ask for help. Pride is a terrible thing. We never wanted to burden anyone with taking care of 4 kids—heck it was hard enough on us and they were our flesh and blood.
Since we did not have family around we made a deal with a few of our parents that twice a year they would take our kids for an extended weekend. Each year around our anniversary they would watch our kids for a couple of days and also over the 4th of July. As they got older a WHOLE week!
We don’t have any money. We lived for many many years pay check to pay check. There was no extra for anything so paying a babysitter or spending a lot of money on a date night was out of the question.
How to Overcome This Excuse – Ask for experiences (dates) instead of gifts for a birthday, Christmas, or anniversary. Who needs more stuff anyways. Pinterest is also a great place to find date night ideas that are inexpensive. I have my own Pinterest board to help with creative ideas that don’t cost a lot of money. Another trick I have used, is that anytime a $5 was in my possession, I would tuck it away in an envelope. After awhile that money begins to add up for a night out on the town!
I always have to come up with the ideas of what to do. Ugh, yes. We have had so many conversations of “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” When we did come up with something it always seemed to be the same thing—going out to dinner.
How to Overcome This Excuse – Write out your 3 favorite dates on a piece of paper and then share it with your spouse. This idea was inspired by a recent date night we had with In It Together . (They host great date nights!) Take turns planning the dates nights.
We can’t find time in our schedules. It seems that everyone is always “busy”. We seem to fall into the busy cycle all the time. Our schedules are packed and we are exhausted.
How to Overcome This Excuse – Find out what is taking up all your time. This is a topic we could write a whole blog on. Here are some of the things that take up a majority of our time;
- Cleaning – for me it was particularly dusting. I got so sick of doing this that I went through the house and determined which shelves served no purpose other than holding stuff. I look at our furniture and which pieces were unused and took up space. We sold it all! We also got rid of carpet in our living room and replaced it with hardwood flooring because I was sick of vacuuming white carpet every day.
- Work – I used to work all the time. I didn’t have any boundaries. I had to make a commitment to myself, my kids, and my husband that after dinner I would not be on my computer/phone unless absolutely necessary.
- Cell Phones – This is a big one for Michael. After a long day, he likes to zone out on his phone. It is his way of relaxing but this soon started to creep into the first thing he does in the morning, what he does when he gets home and what he does when the kids go to bed. This is something he has to keep in check and something that I gently have to remind him is taking away his time from experiencing life.
- TV/Movies/Sports – I could honestly live without any of these (Ok maybe not movies, I do enjoy them once in awhile.) However, for Michael these are things he enjoys. He knows that watching sports can be an addiction for him which is why we do not have cable. Setting boundaries is so important with these things.
- Kids Activities – We often say no to events or parties our children are invited to—and they haven’t died from not being involved in something!
- Household Chores – Owning a house is work. It seems we always have a list of things to do around the house. To overcome this we look at ways to simplify. This can be from getting rid of stuff to letting go of our expectations. We also learned that chores chart for our children not only create life skills for our kids but they also take the burden off us for having to do everything.
Over the next couple of days, block out 30 minutes with your spouse and talk about how you are doing with dating one another and ways you can improve. A thriving marriage just might be one date night a week away!