It’s most often talked about by parents who either send their kids off to friends’ houses or hire a babysitter so they are free to go out to a movie or have a few drinks. It’s also talked about by parents of grown kids who are out of the house. It’s something that many of us don’t talk about and maybe we should more. Date night.
I don’t think date night has to be every week. I don’t think it needs to involve alcohol or going out to a movie. I also think that while it may be more necessary for couples, it’s something that one should do if they’re single too.
I believe date night is about reconnecting with someone. That person can be yourself or the person you’re living with. It doesn’t have to be your spouse of 25 years. When C and I were first living together, we had ‘taco night.’ Taco night was tacos and margaritas and a DVD movie. When we ran out of margarita mix, it was ‘tacos and tequila night’ and after we ran out of tequila, we kinda let date night run out as well.
It wasn’t that we needed the alcohol, we just didn’t really have ‘marker’ for that night where we put the keyboards and phones down. I tried a ‘no computer’ night thing. This didn’t work so well for us because, at the time, I was doing too much on Facebook with my page and my groups to not check the computer and it wasn’t fair of me to expect C to stay off the computer if I wasn’t willing to. I tried to restart ‘taco night’ but each of our lives kept getting in the way.
Date night now for us is not every week and not always the same thing. I do still try to find ways to make it happen even when he’s working a lot of hours, when we’re both stressed about the same things and different things, when we don’t have the money to go out for dinner. It’s a little easier than it used to be varying it because I’m no longer as terrified of crowded movie theaters or places I haven’t been to before.
For one of my friends, it’s just grabbing fast food and eating it in the car outside the house. For C and I, sometimes it’s going to a local casino (and spending their money – Comp dollars – to gamble with), or maybe he comes with me for an Ingress thing (which is often at a diner or part may be), maybe we go out to the movies, or maybe we put on a movie we know we both like and play the same game on our phones together, so we can talk about how good or horrible we’re doing and connect a bit that way… maybe it’s a night centered on intentionally going to bed before either of us are tired.
There are pros and cons to any idea for date night. If taking care of the house is a stressful thing for you or your partner, having date night outside the house can help them stop thinking about it for the evening. Unfortunately some ideas, like going to the movies, outside the house cost money and if money is tight, that could be stressful too.
I think it’s important to find the stressors and plan around them. If you need to get out of the house and you don’t want to spend extra money on dinner, you could pack dinner and bring it in the car with you to a park perhaps. Even if your car doesn’t make it out of the driveway, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the intention.
Earlier I mentioned I felt this was important if you were single as well. You don’t have to call it date night, however if you’re not living with your parents any more, chances are your life gets stressful for you too. It’s important to find things that aren’t part of your every day routine to connect with yourself and enjoy your life so you’re not just surviving it. You deserve to feel the joys of reconnecting no matter who you are connecting with.