Matt and I are big schedulers and big J’s on the Myers-Briggs! However, every once in a while (more often recently with the addition of sweet baby number two) life just seems to get extra chaotic and one of the first things to go amidst the chaos is our date nights. It’s easy to make date night optional when life is busy. In light of the common challenges to our date nights, here are ten steps that have helped us make sure our date nights are (usually) happening!
1. Sync Those Calendars
Set up a time each month to sit down and look at each others calendars for the month to come. Brew up some coffee or tea to make this a sweet rendezvous. Maybe play some Ray LaMontagne or John Legend in the background to set planning mood.
2. Open up to New Days
Date nights don’t have to be on the same day each week. What are the days of the week that seem to work best for the upcoming month? Sunday evening may work best in the week to come. It may be that Thursday night works best three weeks from now. If you schedule babysitters or work with other families to watch the kiddos, then opening up your schedule may lead to more opportunities to have more date nights.
3. Travel Together
If we are traveling together, we try to arrange a date night while traveling. This provides some spontaneity and a change of scenery. Oftentimes, we have friends in different nearby cities who would love to watch our kids so we could go on a date. Since they don’t regularly receive requests from us it’s more of a surprise and less of an inconvenience.
4. Weekly, Every Other Week, or Monthly
We also try to have realistic expectations each month. Would it be better for us to have a date night every other week? Maybe one big extravagant date night for the entire month? We’ve learned that different seasons, call for different expectations. In the end, we aim for weekly but are flexible. For instance. May is our anniversary month, so we go all-out for a weekend or night and lay low the rest of the month.
5. Break out of the “Night” Mold
Have a date day, date breakfast, date lunch, or date midnight. With a six-week old so we’ve had a lot of date midnights recently.
6. Assign a Point Person
Set up a point person who will be responsible for planning each date night. This helps to cultivates initiative and takes some of the pressure of planning a date night from week to week. For this date night experiment, Matt has planned three each month and I plan one.
7. Work With the Yearly Calendar
Make the yearly calendar work in your favor. It seems that the natural ebb and flow of the year creates natural date night activities. Easter is coming up, how about painting some eggs together? Halloween, how about carving pumpkins together? Spring weather is nearing, how about getting some bikes and going for a bike ride?
8. Dump out the Box of Expectations
This was maybe the most helpful marriage advice we ever received, btw. We try to avoid looking around at how everyone else is doing. Every couple has different wiring, enjoys different activities, loves different experiences, and are in different seasons of life. What works for us may not work for others. We don’t schedule our date nights to keep up with those around us.
9. Flex your Flexibility Muscles
Plans fall through. Even with the most perfect Myers-Briggs J schedule, distractions pop up. Be a gracious spouse who allows flexibility and reschedule. We just want to say we tried something rather than trying nothing. If babysitter plans fall through, get the kids to bed early and try to recreate that amazing steak dinner you were about to go out and enjoy.
10. Spontaneity is a Great Friend
We’re rutty people. Meaning, we can get into ruts very quickly. Trying something new and different can always help bring a catalyst to lulling date nights. If it looks like a date night is never going to happen, then break out the Christmas lights, buy some romantic music, build a fort, and have a date night. Or if you don’t have kids, randomly take off on a drive to a destination and Priceline a hotel during your trek. During the drive, think up a few questions to cultivate depth. Let spontaneity become a friend rather than a foe.