I’ve heard that there are couples who have date night every Friday. Legend has it there are grandparents who hang out with their grandkids every Saturday so that a couple can hit the town and be romantic. I’m sure it’s an urban myth, but I’ve even heard whispers that some couples have a babysitter booked every Wednesday, so that they can spend time together.

These engagements, while lovely I’m sure, seem about as elusive to me as missing socks and random tupperware lids. In theory, they should be there. In reality, they’re just not.

I used to dream about Friday date nights and covet the time ‘those marriages’ had each week. I used to picture the wedded bliss that resulted, obviously, from spending this time together. “Their dates are probably perfect and romantic and the food they eat fancy and the wine a perfect pairing”, I would imagine. The husband would gaze into his wife’s eyes as he pushed her hair back and simply state how he can’t fathom how he got the affection of his wife but he thanked Jesus every day that she was his. #blessed

So, I’ve spent some time considering date nights. And the reality is that we could never really pull them off in our world.

Sure, we have them. Sometimes. Of course we could have them more if . . .

  • we planned like crazy people,
  • rushed around the house to get ready,
  • spent cash we don’t have, so we can be out

and then come home frustrated with each other because on our date we are still just us and not those ‘other people’ who have the aforementioned dating ideal which results in their  blissful connection.

I’ve learned some things along the way, though. First, coveting is bad and I should probably stop wishing my marriage looked like someone else’s because the truth of it is, I don’t want anyone else’s marriage – I want mine.

Second, date night (while awesome and wonderful and so important for YOU!) isn’t the end all happiness maker for us.

See, we’re sort of homebodies and our schedules keep us out of the house a lot. This means that come Friday night, we cringe at the thought of dressing up to head out – again. We love our home and we want to enjoy it. We want to get comfy and relax and curl up on our  couch.

Third, we don’t talk our best out in public. While I know that the words homebody and introvert just have you thinking we’re about the coolest people on the block, it’s the truth. So when we’re out in a noisy restaurant, we don’t thrive on the action surrounding us nor all the other people like an extrovert might. It just doesn’t foster our best selves.

Instead, all the busyness and people make us, well. . . a bit cranky. To be honest, we much prefer our steamy mugs of coffee, in our quiet space, where we don’t have to pause for a waitress, or distraction. We can just keep with our conversation. .

We like ‘the coffee shop’ – the one we’ve created in our own home. Couches cozied up by the fire, candles lit on the coffee table, our own choice of music, and a fridge stocked with salsa, just a few steps away.

So what have we really learned about date nights?

We’ve learned that the term date night simply means a time to connect. A time to set aside other things: work deadlines, home projects or the stress of anything else we have going on. Connecting means pausing long enough to look at each other when we’re speaking, not talking over each other because of a time crunch, asking questions that take time to answer and really listening.

We learned that ‘date nights’ for us are better at home. Better in a place that makes us happy and better because this is where we connect our very best.

When we started date night in, we realized no one was stressed about:

  • leaving a child with the sniffles,
  • the cost of the dinner,
  • or frustrated at having to find parking,
  • or worrying about the expectations of this big night!

Instead, we feel no pressure, no stress and no frustration when we stay home. But we still need a specific time to connect.

For us, ‘date night in’ is a perfect way to connect, without pressure. We like appies and drinks by the fire, with lots of catch-up talking. Connecting about our week, our interactions, the things that upset us, or make us practically giddy. It could be playing a game together. Reading a book aloud. Curling up in each others’ arms and relaxing while our favourite music plays.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t have to be elaborate to be a date, it has to be us. It doesn’t have to compare to what other couples are doing; connecting needs to be something we find enjoyable. It doesn’t have to happen every single week on a specific day but it does have to happen.

The priority? Find a way to connect in your way, on your budget, in a way that makes you and your spouse comfortable and happy.  #UsConnecting.

Date night doesn’t have to be a myth. It can happen for you if you make it your own. I can help you with this. With those socks and tupperware lids? You’re on your own!

Written by Rhonda Fast

Rhonda Fast

Rhonda is a wife + mama, minimalist + adventurer, writer + dreamer,
broken + redeemed.
She works both for FamilyLife Canada as online content manager and at home to keep her marriage thriving, her three teenage boys fed, and her floors kept crumb-free. You can learn more about her spirited life by checking out her blog or visiting her social media sites.