Before I had children I always heard the phrase “children come first”. Then I started reading books on marriage and the common lesson repeated over and over was “marriage comes first”. So which one is it? The kids or you? As selfish as this might sound, you and the well-being of your marriage must be a priority. Why? If mom and dad aren’t happy, the kids aren’t happy. If mom and dad don’t show love and affection towards each other, neither will the kids. If mom and dad aren’t mentally and physically fit, neither will the kids. Success starts at the top. If you want to have a successful family, then mom and dad must be successful in love, marriage, respect and friendship.
Important Tip for Fathers:
“The most important thing a father can do
for his children is to love their mother.” – Unknown
Important Tip for Mothers:
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect says, “The wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs – respect.”
Haven’t you heard people say “My husband and I were madly in love when we got married. Then we had children, focused 100% on the kids, and then my husband and I drifted apart”?
When was the last time you had a “date night” with your spouse? (Translation: a night alone without the kids) If you want to maintain a happy, healthy and well-connected marriage, it is critical that you have a date night with your spouse at least once per month (twice per month ideally).
Dates do not have to be expensive. First, to avoid paying a babysitter, find a family in your area with similar age children and do date swaps: You babysit their children while they have a date night, then they will babysit your kids while you have a date night. It’s free! Since my friend Tasha and I started babysitting swaps, I have not paid for a babysitter in two years!
I recommend finding an activity that creates communication and bonding between you and your partner. Don’t sit in a dark movie theater for two hours.
19 suggestions for a fun date night:
- Go play mini golf
- Go on a picnic
- Go bicycle riding
- Go to a quiet, romantic dinner together
- See a stand-up comic
- Go to a concert of your favorite band
- Go to a professional sporting event
- Go to a kite festival
- Do a volunteer project together
- Go to a spa together
- Go on a walk, play tennis, snow ski or some other physical activity
- Go to a wine tasting
- Go canoeing
- Go swimming or to a water park
- Rent a boat or jet skis at your closest lake
- Go play bingo
- Take a cooking class
- Go zip-lining
- Join a sand castle making class
In a nutshell, do something fun or romantic which will bring back the memories of why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place. Re-connect. Tell old stories. Laugh.
Whenever I get agitated with my husband, the first question I ask myself is “When was the last time we had a date night?” and the answer is always, “Far too long ago.”
Schedule a date night! Go get your calendar. Call your spouse right now. Yes, right now. While you are reading this article, dial his/her number. Now schedule a date (without the kids)! Mark your calendar for future dates – it will completely change your marriage!
Were you like me and always heard growing up “kids come first”? What do you and your spouse do to connect and get alone time? What date night budget tips do you have to share?
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