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Our Date Nights Were Getting Miserable, Here's How We Changed That

Photograph by Twenty20

We’re a month deep into 2019. For me, this is about the time each year when I notice I’ve totally bailed on my over-ambitious list of New Year’s resolutions. Like that cleanse I apprehensively said I’d do in January. Yeah, that didn’t happen. My closets aren’t any tidier, nor have I read a book a week. But there is one resolution I made that I’m hell-bent on not jumping ship on this year: better date nights with the hubs.

You see, something happened to my husband and I along the way from dating, getting married and adoring our time together. What happened was children, stress and never-ending to-do lists. I started to notice that my precious nights out with the hubs started to suck. And by suck, I mean they were getting miserable.

Instead of having fun, we’d use the time to circle back on what was going on with the kids, work or pent-up complaints about one another. The stress of life with kids was ruining all the fun. So, at the close of 2018, I decided to prioritize having fun with the hubs — sure that rotten date nights were a sign of a rotting marriage.

One of the things I noticed my husband and I did really, really well was prioritize our kids. We always seemed to have the time and energy for our kids' interests, play dates, highs and lows. But what we weren’t doing very well was saving some of that energy for ourselves — and for each other.

I missed having fun with the guy who’d always been my favorite person to hang with. So, where were we going wrong? What were we doing to tailspin our time together? I decided to examine what and where we were going wrong — and how to fix it.

It requires some restraint, but I noticed a vast improvement in our time together.

First and foremost, I noticed our date nights were often spent talking about family business and kid stuff. Me, I like a break from parenting. Being a mom is not my sole identity. Yet, my break was being spent filled with kid talk, schedules, summer plans and logistics. I declared that fun time with my husband was going to be free of kid talk unless absolutely necessary.

I also decided our social time wasn’t the time to talk about deep-seated resentments, that fight we had last week or the thing that annoyed either of us about the other. In any long relationship, tensions will come up, but we didn’t have to let them come up all the time. Now, serious talk gets tabled for another time. It requires some restraint, but I noticed some improvement in our time together.

Finally, I decided to shake things up. We didn’t always have to go to dinner — together or with other couples. If there’s a show I want to see, I get tickets. If there’s a great comedy show coming up, we’re going. Anything to mix it up and keep us from feeling like we were doing the same old thing with the same old person.

I can’t speak for my husband, but from my point of view, there’s been a vast improvement. We’re having more fun with each other and not coming home after a night out regretting having paid for a babysitter. I’ll probably never tackle that cleanse, but I feel like I’m dating my best friend once again.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

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