“Plan the date of the month.” That’s what my calendar pops up to tell me at the beginning of each month. Do you date your mate? I remember when our kids were babies and a wonderful, older couple we know advised us to date each other every week. As parents of two under two-years, we couldn’t understand how that was even possible. Even if we had the funds for a night out and childcare each week, we didn’t have the energy!
Still, we took that advice to heart. (Anyone who is happily married after 60 years is worth listening to!) In those early years of parenting when time and money were so short, we often chose to eat dinner together after the kids were in bed. We’d light a candle, play a little music, and most importantly, have uninterrupted conversations.
As the kids have grown, dating each other has gotten easier to do, but still it doesn’t just happen. Life gets busy. The kids have activities and sleepovers and school. We have work and housework and yard work and volunteer work. A date each week really would be lovely but is still more than we can manage. But, a date a month? That’s actually very realistic for us.
So on the first of each month, my Google calendar reminds me to get going on a plan. Without that prompt to make it happen, dishes and lawn care and business travel would run together until months go by without having time to ourselves.
Sometimes my husband lets me know he’s planning something, but otherwise I handle the planning. This started a few years ago when, rather than giving my husband a Valentine’s gift, I committed to making a year’s worth of dates for us. It was such a gift to us both that I continue planning, and I don’t mind because I enjoy figuring out the details each month.
I look at our calendars and find a few dates. I check out events and activities we might like to do. I line up childcare. And most importantly, I put it on the calendar. In ink. Well, not really in ink because it’s a Google calendar, but…we have a pact that only illness can cause a change in plans!
Our dates range from an hour for dinner out while the kids are at a birthday party to a long weekend getaway while the kids stay with grandparents. We’ve done lots of free and cheap things, and occasionally we spring for something super special. The point is that we keep doing this. We keep dedicating time to one another, and we keep having experiences with just us two. We all know the saying that we make time for what’s important to us. This is important to us, to me, to our kids.
If you don’t date your mate, I hope you’re inspired to start, even if it’s just going out for coffee! And if you do date regularly, I’d love to hear about your favorite date destination! I need ideas for February!