Dating is different when you are married. When you are single, you date to get to know each other, to have fun, or maybe just because it’s something to do on a Friday night. Dating shouldn’t stop when you are married, but it isn’t the same at all as when you are single.
Dating when married (and let’s just lay this out here, I’m not talking about dating *other* people, I’m talking about dating your spouse!) has a different purpose and it might even look different. I guess I shouldn’t speak for all couples so I’ll just stick to sharing about my experience with my husband.
Before we were married we spent a lot of time together. We were in college and we would have lunch together and we spent nearly every Friday and Saturday night together. Usually dinner and a movie. Sometimes it was dinner at home with a movie at the cinema. Other times it would be dinner out and renting a movie to watch at his house. There were a few college hockey games and several times we went to the theater. (I was a theater major and I got comp tickets to every performance. The man was stuck going to plays even if I couldn’t sit with him.)
When we were married, things were different. We had bills to pay, he had a career to develop. Children arrived sooner than we planned. Spending time together just for the sake of spending time together ceased. We discovered though that we still enjoyed dinners and movies and as long as there was only the one kiddo we managed to do take out and movie rentals.
As the children grew into preschoolers and toddlers spending time as just the two of us became nearly non-existent. We did not have anyone to leave with the girls and we would not have been able to afford a babysitter plus dinner and a movie. Taking the children with us to dinner and to a movie was not an option and certainly not a date!
We finally hit on something that worked well for us. Friday night became date night. It just didn’t look the same. When the girls were really really little we put them to bed just smidgen earlier than “normal” and we’d stay up later than we usually do.
As the girls got older they would stay up later as well *but* they were allowed to watch a movie in another room or to play quietly and mom and dad would have a special snack and watch a movie or a couple of episodes of a TV show on disc.
That plan doesn’t work anymore. If we try to watch something, we usually have some daughter or another go “oh you’re watching Big Bang Theory/Bones/House” can we watch too. And they’re old enough so we can’t use the “no, you’re too young” excuse. But now that they are older it also means we can go out. And we do. Sometimes we go to dinner. No not dinner and movie. Just dinner. It gives us a chance to talk. Someday it might just be the two of us again and we have enough entertainment that now we just want to make sure that we’re not drifting apart. Sometimes we have boring talks as we figure out some solution to some problem and sometimes we talk about books we’re reading or articles we’ve read. We discuss those taboo subjects of politics and religion. Sometimes though we go out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. And the girls? They encourage us. “Hey mom and dad, you haven’t had a date for awhile, why don’t you go out?” I think it’s because they want to play wii or watch netflix without mom and dad around but I’ll tell myself it’s because they care about their parents relationship and want to help sustain it.
Check out this week’s letter!