The Importance of Date Night

Zach and I had only been married for three months before Zoey was born. At the time, we were living in a house he had bought with a friend. That meant that, from the very start of our marriage, we were sharing a house with another adult unrelated to us and adjusting to being brand new parents. We never had a chance to get used to being married and all the work that comes with that before we had to put ourselves aside and focus on the needs of our offspring. Knowing this, we have always made date night a priority. We may be new parents, but we’re also newlyweds and our marriage has to grow just as our family does.

For a long while there we were living off of only one income and the budget was very tight. We did date night every other week and found a lot of cheap or free things to do for our dates. We take games like Fluxx or Bananagrams to a coffee shop and play together while we share a hot chocolate. We go for walks through parks, farmer’s markets and neighborhoods. We sit in a cafe somewhere with a computer and dream together about the kind of house we want to buy or build someday. An oddly high number of our dates end with us at Target (totally my fault).

One of my favorite things that Zach and I have always liked to do together is read a book out loud. Most often it is a fantasy book of some kind (which we both love), and many times one geared toward young adults or children. When I was pregnant with Zoey we read the entire Spiderwick Chronicles out loud to each other, complete with fun character voices. It was great.

Before seeing each of the Hobbit movies, we read the book together (the sections that each movies would cover). A couple weekends ago, we started our date off at Starbuck’s with gift cards we had received over the holidays. Curled up in comfy chairs by a fireplace we finished reading the middle section of the Hobbit to the point we thought The Desolation of Smaug would cover. Then we went and saw a late showing of the movie. I have to say: Peter Jackson is an idiot. The movie is only like the book in the absolute loosest following of the plot. There are plot inconsistencies, characters showing up that are never mentioned in the book (Legolas???) and there is so much CGI I felt like I was watching a video game the whole time. Not to mention that Peter Jackson seems intent on making the movies into action films that completely defy all laws of physics, probability and believability.

In short, the movie sucked. BUT. It was still a great date. I loved spending the time reading together with Zach. I loved that we had so many uninterrupted hours together. I love that, even though we both agreed the movie was terrible, it was another thing in common that we could talk about. I love having something besides our kids to talk about. I love that Zach’s sister offers to babysit every week for us so that we can afford to have this bonding time together. I love that we are both committed to these date nights.

How about you – do you and your loved one do date nights? How often? What do you like to do? How have your date nights changed since having kids?

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