Learning how to keep dating your spouse after having kids can be tricky at first. It’s easy to get caught up in it all. All the long nights, dirty diapers, and cranky kiddos make it a whole lot easier to forget about having time for just the two of you. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have the giddy excitement about each other that you used to have. It doesn’t mean dating each other is impossible. It just means it takes more intentionality and a little more creativity. Dating after kids can’t always look like fancy dinners and extravagant gifts. It doesn’t look that way for us and we often enjoy our laid back dates even more!
This post is all about how to keep dating your spouse and getting back the giddiness even amongst the craziness of kids!
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How to Keep Dating Your Spouse
My first date with my now husband, I no sooner had closed my apartment door than I was dancing around my apartment giddy about the potential of a life with this man. It turned out we both felt equally as giddy that night and with all the excitement in the world, we got married about a year later. It was easy to make each other a priority and to maintain that giddy excitement until our first baby was born. We got caught up in the exhaustion in the beginning and then we got complacent.
It was harder to schedule time for just the two of us so it often got forgotten. Luckily, we both felt the change and we both wanted better for our marriage. Over time, we’ve found ways to make our marriage and each other a top priority. I’m sharing these 10 tips to help you keep dating your spouse knowing that many parents (new and old) have fallen into this trap and I hope that these help you avoid it or get back to your giddy selves.
1.Schedule at Least One Date Night at the Beginning of Every Month
Dating your spouse requires well… dates. Scheduling a date night at the beginning of each month and setting aside money to do something special together is the best way to make sure that it happens. It may feel weird at first to schedule a date weeks in advance, but doing so assures that your date night is a priority and that it does not get forgotten. Plus, you get to look forward to it for a few weeks ahead of time! If you don’t schedule it, you may find that months go by without one. Life gets busy with kids and if you aren’t intentional to set up date nights you will end up unintentionally doing nothing.
2. Write Your Spouse a Love Note Just Because
There are few feelings better than when I wake up to a sweet note from my husband on my bedside table. It makes me feel affirmed, appreciated, and loved. I love when he says nice things to me too but it is extra special when he takes the time to write it out for me. However, too often men are only on the giving end of these small romantic gestures and never on the receiving end. So I challenge you to write your husband a quick note today. It doesn’t have to be pages long. You can even use a sticky note or the napkin in his lunchbox.
3. Turn Simple Errands into a Date
Dating your spouse may look different now with kids than when you were dating as girlfriend and boyfriend. You have more responsibilities and more in your schedule to work around. But expectations are the only thing that get in the way of the simple things in life becoming amazing dates. Anything can be a date if you shift your attitude and expectations! If you go to a store like a Sam’s Club to do your shopping, stopping at the cafe for a snack is a great way to turn an errand into a mini date. And if your kids are with you, you can all get a little treat together cause luckily they are super cheap! If you don’t shop at a store like this, stop for coffee along the way or a quick treat and talk together for even just a few minutes.
4. Work Out Together
After I had my first baby, getting back into shape was hard and my husband was my biggest cheerleader. I can still remember a particular night, where we were taking turns doing a timed mile while the other one walked the stroller. I was on the other side of a pretty large street doing my run and I heard him yelling, “Get it babe!” That’s probably the only time I’ve ever smiled while running. But all that to say, working out together is a great way to bond with each other, grow together, and push one another to be the best you can be.
5. Schedule a Weekend Getaway Without Kids Once a Year
This weekend getaway will look different for every couple. If you want to travel across the country (or out the country) and you have the means to do so, go for it! For others, it might be getting a local hotel for a night or two and dropping the kids off with grandma and grandpa. Whatever it may be, quality time away from your kids is SO important for every marriage.
6. Create Boundaries for Cell Phones
I decided to include this one because this is something my husband and I recently discussed in our own relationship. Cell phones are a powerful tool, but they are time consuming and can be a big inhibitor to dating your spouse. So cell phone boundaries are an important way to ensure you get quality time with each other. You can even buy a cell phone jail or this beautiful custom wooden “unplug” box to keep in your home. Cell phones can go in the box all evening and be checked briefly before bed, just during dinner, or they can go in the box for a designated amount of time that you guys can spend together. (This is also a great idea for family time if you have kids old enough to have cell phones.)
7. Don’t Feel Pressured for Date Night to Be Super Fancy
Dating your spouse doesn’t mean you have to go to a five star restaurant every time! Some of our favorite date nights have been “fancy like Applebee’s on a date night” or even “fancy like Little Caesars on a date night.” We decided to have one of these simple date nights for our anniversary this year because we had just moved and were both too exhausted to do something crazy. My husband was in the middle of the Hard 75, so we couldn’t have alcohol either.
So our anniversary dinner was a Little Caesars pizza that we walked with the stroller to go get and champagne glasses filled with chocolate milk. We still look back on that anniversary and laugh and reminisce. It’s not about what you are doing, but who you are doing it with and the memories you are making. Don’t let the stress of planning for a fancy date night take away the fun. It’s okay to have laid back date nights sometimes.
8. Try New Things Together
When you first start dating, every date is spontaneous, fun, thought through, playful, and new! Once you get married, it’s easy to fall into predictable patterns. You go to the same place for coffee, the same fast food restaurants, the same sit downs, the same walks, the same activities over and over again. Changing things up a little every once in a while can bring back some of that spontaneous fun from dating and bring you both closer together. And if it turns out terrible, you can laugh about it together later! Some of our dumpster fire dates are some of our favorite memories.
9. Leave Your Spouse a Secret Note to Meet You
Leave your spouse a note on the door when they come home telling them to meet you somewhere. Don’t tell them why or what you will be doing. Make them curious until they finally come to find you. They can meet you anywhere, out in town or in the house. Use your imagination.
10. Surprise Your Spouse with Something They’ll Love
This can be anything! Show up at their office with their favorite coffee and donut, make their favorite dinner or dessert, rent their favorite movie, or buy them something they’ve been wanting but wouldn’t buy for themselves. Buying your spouse something that they love shows them that you’ve been listening, you care, and you want to make them smile.
This post was all about how to keep dating your spouse even amongst the chaos of kiddos and the many responsibilities of life. Every couple goes through stages struggling to find time to keep dating each other, especially with kids in the mix. But, never forget that your marriage needs to be a top priority in order for you to be the best parents and the best example you can be for your kids. So be intentional, make it a priority, and get a little creative with your dates! Know that you aren’t the first couple to struggle with this and it’s also completely possible to have an incredible dating life amongst the chaos.