19 Reasons You Need a Date Night
Why taking time away from the kids makes your relationship stronger.
When you imagine a perfect Saturday night, does it involve dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, streaming the latest Pixar movie on demand and tucking the kids into bed without any tears?
If so, it might be time to kick things up a notch in the date-night department. Remember when Saturday night meant checking out a new restaurant, holding hands across the table, gazing into your partner's eyes and talking the night away?
Once kids come on the scene, it's easy to let taking care of them take precedence over taking care of your relationship. But it's important not to let time with your partner take a backseat to family time.
"Date night is key for a couple because it helps them to continue growing as a romantic pair beyond their roles as mother or father," says Dr. Jan Yager, author of "125 Ways to Meet the Love of Your Life." And this mom of two practices what she preaches. She and her husband of thirty years made a commitment to have regular date nights. They found a sitter twice a week so they could go to movies, eat dinner out and take in an occasional concert or play.
"Having a relationship and not taking care of it is like having a car and expecting it to run even though you don't stop for gas," says Terri Trespicio, a relationship expert who has appeared on the Today Show and Dr. Oz. "Cars don’t work that way. And neither do people. You want a car to keep running, you must refill the tank."
Is your relationship is running on fumes? If you can't remember the last time you were alone with your partner (while both of you were awake, anyway) it might be time to refuel.
Here are 19 reasons to schedule a date night ASAP:
- You can't remember the last conversation you had with your partner that wasn't about poo.
- Your "regular" babysitter didn't know who you were the last time you called.
- You've had macaroni and cheese for dinner more than three nights in a row.
- You haven't seen any of this year's Oscar-nominated movies -- or last year's or the year before that…
- It's good for your kids to see you spending time together and modeling a healthy adult relationship.
- You just spent a fortune on your kid's dance recital costume, but can't remember the last time you bought a new top for yourself.
- You haven't bought a new lipstick since you gave birth.
- Last time you went dancing, the Macarena was all the rage.
- When your kids fly the coop, you're less likely to suffer from empty-nest syndrome, because you'll already be in the habit of having fun together on your own.
- You introduced yourself to the new neighbor as "Oliver's Mom."
- When that new neighbor asked for a restaurant recommendation, you drew a blank.
- You have no idea what to pay a date-night babysitter. (Check our calculator to learn the going rate for your neighborhood.)
- You have trouble picturing your partner without a child slung over his shoulder.
- Talking about your hopes, fears and dreams fosters intimacy that is so easily lost in the day-to-day of having young kids.
- Having a little parent-free time can help your kids be more independent.
- Date nights can spark that "falling-in-love" feeling from the early days of your relationship.
- Studies have shown that happily married people have stronger immune systems -- so less chance of getting sick.
- You'll remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place.
- You deserve it, darn it!
Still not convinced? "Think of time with your partner, away from everything and everyone else, as a non-negotiable part of your relationship and your life," advises Trespicio.
"Keep the focus on continuing to get to know each other better," says Dr. Yager. "Now that we are empty nesters, our date night tradition happily continues."
Want to get started? Try out these 101 Cheap Date Ideas.
Why do you need a date night? Share your reasons in the comments section below.
Elizabeth Nelson is a mother, writer, runner and personal organizer -- not necessarily in that order. She lives with her daughters in Brooklyn.