I’m eating my words.
Last week, in our discussion on distinguishing between needs & wants, I pointed out how date nights are a need for this marriage (& all marriages, for that matter) & how in order to save money it had been suggested that we trade babysitting with another family, & how, hahahaha, I would never do that, because hahahaha, who would seriously watch all of my kids plus theirs??
Well, turns out, I have a friend who actually offered, & so, this past Saturday we did it. And you know what? It was amazing.
Joseph dropped off the kids (minus the baby) & we had a date at home.
For you single or childless friends (or even those of you with just a baby), this may not sound so exciting. But for us, it was like being at a bed & breakfast. No shouting, wrestling, whining, jumping, throwing things down the stairs. Sheesh, my kids sound like monkeys, don’t they? We put on some mood music, ordered takeout, talked (& maybe some other stuff too, but that’s none of your beewax). It was relaxing & fun, & we connected. All for the price of the takeout.
Not having to pay a babysitter really does make a huge difference. And when we picked up our kids, by all accounts they had done really well playing with the other kids. We’ll be watching the couple’s kids this weekend, & I have every expectation it will go swimmingly. And as much as I adore our teenage babysitters (& giving them an opportunity to earn some cash, because, hey, I’ve been there & I know what it’s like to want/need money as a teenager), I also really really love saving money.
Some people wonder why I’m crazy about dates. Like, it’s my soapbox issue. The funny thing is, our dates are not really a big deal. I mean, we don’t do anything too creative or fancy or out of the ordinary. They mostly involve food, & always involve talking & touching.
Which brings me to my main point: why you need to date your husband.
Setting a date, getting ready for the date (like, changing out of those yoga pants & combing your hair, putting on a little lip gloss), & actually going out somewhere, anywhere, makes it a ritual. And the ritual of making time for each other is important for many reasons. Here’s why.
3 reasons why you & your husband need dates:
1) It puts your relationship on the level of: super important. Think back to when you were dating pre-marriage. You wanted to look sexy, you wanted to be coquettish, alluring. I know what it’s like to wear workout clothes all day, to be covered in spit up with not a shred of makeup on my lovely face. It doesn’t feel sexy, it doesn’t feel alluring. So going out on a weekly date gives you every reason & excuse to dress up a little & relive some of those young love days, & you’ll both be the happier for it.
2) You need couple time. Just getting into a space, away from kids, away from work, bills & the day to day will allow both of you to open up, relax, laugh, talk, & reconnect.
3) Every good marriage is created by the little things. Of course going out on a weekly date isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not going to compensate for nagging, disrespect, or neglect in other areas of the marriage. But it is one of those really important pieces to the marriage success puzzle (remember my 5 ways to make a good marriage better post?). Going on dates on a regular (weekly or bi-weekly) basis is one of those things that helps keep the marriage “firm.” Think of it as toning for your love muscles.
So what constitutes a date?
I’ve heard from my nieces that people don’t “date” anymore, they “hang out.” Such a shame. Call me old-fashioned, but I love dressing up & feeling feminine. If you are old-fashioned like me, you know what a date is, but just to refresh our memories, here’s how I would define it. A date is a mutually agreed upon event in the future (ie. requires some planning) that will involve you & your significant other. Other people may be on the periphery, for example, like at a sports game, or even a party. But, the key components are you & your spouse. Dressing up is nice, but not required, especially of course if you’re doing something sporty. But ladies, put your sexy face on & pull out those genteel manners. Your husband will love it.
And on a last note, while we’re talking about sex, oh wait, I guess we weren’t (but now that I mention it, sex ain’t a bad part of the date either!), Meg, over at Meg in Progress has a pretty spectacular post about why she hopes her kids will wait to have sex. (You should read it, especially if you’re a parent.)
Have you ever traded babysitting before? What are you fave frugal dates? What do you think a date is, or should be defined as?
Thanks for coming to bring joy today!
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