Family Life: Date Night
By Diane Burton
Remember when you went on dates? That special time between you and the one who is now your significant other? During those early days together you spent time getting to know each other. Then, jobs, children, obligations came between you. Eventually, you each get so wrapped up in “life” that the glow of new love begins to fade. It needs something before that glow goes out. Do you have time when it’s just the two of you?
As I tell people who say they don’t have time to read, write, garden, or whatever—make time. That’s right. Make time for the two of you. It may mean giving up something. That’s a matter of setting priorities. Making time for each other will bring you closer.
Try Date Night. Go out together like you did before you married. Have kids? Get a sitter. I can’t believe how expensive sitters are these days. I’m probably dating myself, but when I was a teen, I charged 50 cents an hour before midnight and 75 cents after. Of course, things in general were a lot cheaper back then. I understand the going rate (“in my neck of the woods,” as Al Roker says) is $10/hour or more. So, what do you do if you can’t afford a sitter?
Grandparents (or other relatives). Our grandkids love coming to our house when their parents have Date Night. In fact, when our granddaughter was in second grade and had to write a persuasive paragraph, she listed all the reasons her parents should go on Date Night so she and her brother could come to our house. Needless to say this grandmother thought that was pretty cool. If it’s a Friday night, they usually spend the night. Even more fun for them and for us. Otherwise, we went to their house where we got to sit the grandpuppies, too. But . . . What if the grandparents (relatives) don’t live close enough? Or they are not able to babysit?
Do you have a friend with kids? What about exchanging date nights?
My mom used to quote “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Find a way to be alone together. You both need that. In hindsight, I wish I’d taken advantage of my lovely in-laws more often. My father-in-law would call and say, “Your mother wants to see the kids. Don’t you want to go somewhere?” In reality, he wanted to see the kids. LOL They both enjoyed their time with the kiddos. I understand that better now that I’m a grandparent.
Okay, now you have someone to watch the kids, what do you do? Dinner and a movie? One or the other? What about an activity that doesn’t cost money? A walk in the park/along a beach/in a forest, window shopping (although some guys I know would groan at that idea), or . . . any suggestions?
If the kids are at the friend’s house, you could just stay home. But, you know what that leads to? One of you sees a chore that needs to be done. Dishes, laundry, a squeaky door hinge that needs some WD40. Or one of you will fall asleep on the couch watching TV. Then, you’ll just be back where you started. Doing things separately even if you are together in the same place. Best not to stay home.
With the exception of the movie, talk to each other. Engage in conversation. No one-word answers allowed. (Don’t make like a teen when asked about school who says “fine.”) Make certain topics off limits (e.g., job, kids). You’ll talk about those topics anyway. Do it at home. Pretend like you’re on your third or fourth date. What would you talk about? Hold hands during that walk or at the movies. Pay attention to your significant other. Look in his/her eyes. Really listen to what s/he says . . . and doesn’t say. Listen between the lines to what s/he is really saying.
Most of all, just like those dates of long (or not so long) ago, have fun. Enjoy each other’s company. Date Night is one way to keep love glowing.
About the Author
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
You can read Diane's "Family Life" column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.