When we were dating and newlyweds, appreciating each other, spending special time together, and going on dates was easy. But now, we have 3 kids. Sometimes it feels like we’re in the thick of it. Life is busy. So what was once an easy date night is now, planning a babysitter, planning what we’re doing on our date, getting our acts together to get out the door, and spending a ton of money in the process. We KNOW we need date nights and time together but the stress of doing all of that just doesn’t feel fun.
So how can we date our spouse without all that stress?
Put him first.
Wait hold up! You probably didn’t expect that to be the first thing I said right? I get it! As a mom, I sometimes wish Joe had even just the awareness of all the balls I’m juggling on a daily basis. I wish he just even understood where I could use a little love, assistance, and attention. But let me be honest with you….selfless love will win every time. When you can shift your focus from “how can he help me” and “how can he show love to me” to “where can I love him” and “how can I help him” not only does your attitude shift, but the more you focus on loving him, he’s going to feel loved and then in turn reciprocate.
Be the proactive one. Don’t wait for him to start showing you love first. If you want your marriage to grow, you take the responsibility. Ask yourself “how can I love him more.” I guarantee you….if you continue with this perspective and attitude, your marriage will grow.
Find out his love language.
Know what ways your husband feels love the most. If he loves words of affirmation and you’re giving him tons of physical touch, you’re going to be left wondering why he doesn’t feel loved despite feeling like you’ve shown him love. I love the book 5 Love Languages to learn about how we are all different. We all receive and give love differently. When we can understand that, we can love those closest to us in a way that actually fills their love tanks.
For years, Joe would help out with dishes, laundry, or the like and later wonder why I still felt so disconnected. When we talked about it, it came to light that he felt like he was showing me love by helping out around the house. While for me, I felt like helping out was something I sort of expected in a partner. For me, feeling loved came in small gifts or words of appreciation. Making that subtle shift was huge. It’s about getting clear on what impacts each other the most and being intentional in those spaces.
Show up in the small ways.
Piggy backing off the love language piece, you don’t have to do major date nights in order to show love to your spouse. Often a simple kiss as he leaves for work, or a love text to let him know you’re thinking of him, can do wonders for his love tank. Showing up consistently in these small ways (as long as it aligns with his love tank will help a ton!).
Make a habit of asking yourself every day to identify one way you can show your spouses love.
Do date nights in.
In May 2018, I hosted the More than Mom Summit, where I interviewed a bunch of amazing women. Ashley Willis shared some great ideas about how she and her husband Dave navigated date nights when they had young kids at home (5 to be exact!) and didn’t have tons of extra cash.
Joe and I have also subscribed to getting a date night in the mail each month. It’s so fun to have a box show up each month with a date night already planned out. We can put the kids to bed and then spend a little 1:1 time. I think this is key. We legit have tons of stuff going on in our lives. But what we focus on grows. What we don’t focus on wastes away. You have to make your marriage intentional if you want it to continue growing.
Put it on the calendar.
Don’t leave connecting with your spouse to chance. Put it on the friggin calendar! Make it a priority. It’s only going to happen consistently if you are intentional about it. So schedule it in. Hold this time as sacred time. If someone calls and invites you to an event and you look at your calendar and it’s date night, you don’t cancel on your spouse. These are important times. Treat them as such.
So tell me…
What day are you going to add intentional time with your spouse?