|Date Your Mate|
Date Your Mate
By Renee Taylor Negin
You know him—the guy who comes by for dinner, who wrestles around on the floor with the kids, whose socks occasionally fail to make their way to the hamper—your husband. You see him from time to time as you both reach for the morning coffee and in between after-school activities. With work and kids and busy lives, it’s easy to forget you and that man are supposed to be partners, lovers and friends.
A weekly date night is a great way to put life aside and reconnect. Making time for one-on-one with your spouse is essential for your marriage and for your family.
It is not always easy to date your mate; there is the sitter to consider, the cost of going out and making time in your schedule. Make date night a priority. Here are some suggestions for making it happen:
Go out and play. Date night does not have to be dinner and a movie. Participating in hands-on activities allows you and your husband to communicate and have fun. Go rock-wall climbing, play a round of miniature golf or browse the shelves of a great used book store.
If dinner and a movie is your choice of an ideal date, then do not sit like strangers in the dark. With your husband’s arm around you, and a kiss here and there, you can recreate the romance of your dating days.
Smarten up. Sign up for a continuing education class together at your local community college. Find a mutual interest, whether it’s Photoshop, ballroom dancing or history, and dig in. Walk to class holding hands. A class together provides the added bonus of an automatic commitment—you have paid for the 8-week class, so you might as well attend.
Have a sunny date. Dates do not need to take place only in the evening. Meet for lunch every Wednesday, go to a flea market on a Saturday morning, leave Grandma with your napping baby and catch an afternoon ball game. The important thing is your time together, not the time of day.
Start at home. If you can not get out for date night—your sitter bails, or you are tight on cash—do not call off the date. Instead, make a special evening at home. Curl up together and read aloud to one another (a book of poetry, a novel, or your old love letters), flip through an old photo album, play a board game, or snuggle up and sip some wine by firelight.
Follow the Rules. Set guidelines for your dates. Commit to one date a week and do not break it. If it were a meeting at work with your boss, you would find a way to get there—give your partner the same level of importance.
Limit the time you talk shop. Set aside the first fifteen minutes of your date for talk about kids and house, or agree to only talk about them on the ride to your destination. If your budget does not allow hiring a sitter and paying for the date, find a friend to sit with the kids and take turns sitting for each other. Find a college student who might be willing to charge less in exchange for doing her laundry at your house and a home-cooked meal.
Find a date destination that does not cost money—visit an art gallery, take a walk on the beach, or break out the roller blades and head to the park.
Whatever you do for your date nights, just do it. Your marriage will thank you!