Date nights are supposed to be the nectar that feeds our relationships in the face of our busy lives and consuming kids.
Unfortunately, they are often a disappointment and leave us wondering if we can ever experience the joy we once knew.
This week’s video explores the reasons why date nights fail and what you can do instead to revive the joy and love in your relationship.
Watch more videos at Full Frontal Fatherhood.
Here’s a transcription if you’d rather read:
Date nights are a wonderful idea, but the reality is that they often leave us disappointed. We come from work. We are tired. We eat food and perhaps have a drink. Which makes us even more tired. We sit and talk about the kids. Maybe once you get home you have sex, but it really isn’t enough to feed the relationship in the way that we need in order to counterbalance all the intense things that come with being a parent.
Fortunately, there is one thing that you can do instead that will really support your relationship to thrive. For my wife and me, it has been a wonderful godsend in the face of all the challenges of being parents. I honestly don’t believe we would be a happy couple if it weren’t for this.
Our trick is simply to regularly have overnights. We go somewhere novel, even just a cheap hotel. Some place where we do not have to look at the dishes and the laundry. Someplace where we can just enjoy each other. There is the space to take a nap, so we can get over our tiredness. And there is the time to really talk, connect and deal with any emotional issues that might be there. Or just chitchat about anything that is going on in life.
We can just enjoy each other without the normal stressors. We do not have to worry about the kids being in the other room and the laundry that is piled up on the dresser next to us. Somebody else can bring food, while we are able to rest and sleep well and wake up in the morning and once again connect, perhaps even have sex again.
I am surprised almost every time how much my wife and I can enjoy each other when we have this type of carefree space. Sadly, amidst all of life’s stresses, I forget how truly delightful she can be until I have this kind of spaciousness. Without these times to really play with one another, our partners and relationships tend to feel really mundane.
Good sex requires the space to really connect. Not necessarily with a deep conversation, but with at least the time to settle in and arrive into the moment. When we used to date our partners, there was the warm-up of going out and talking and walking and sharing about our lives. All of the planning for the date, time to connect and build up of the connection supported really great sex. Having a planned overnight is the perfect way to recreate that experience.
A Couple Tips
Ideally, find another family with a similarly aged child or children so you can do swaps. Each family can get a regular overnight that is planned out months in advance and you do not have to pay a ton of money for child care.
One thing to watch out for is to make sure not to go to the same place every time. Research has shows that it actually makes a significant difference to go to novel settings each time. In a novel setting, our body releases more oxytocin and we are more likely to feel alive and connected to our partner. Simply pick a hotel that is different each time and go to a new restaurant.
Do not get in a routine that’s comfortable. Routines lead to a sense of deadness and cause relationships to go flat. Instead, find new little adventures. They do not have to be extravagant, but they will enable you and your partner to relive the joy you once knew.
Thank you for joining me for another episode. I would love to hear how you do date nights. Please join the conversation below and I will see you next time for another episode.
Julian Redwood, MFT