I used to worry about the lack of date nights my husband and I had. I don’t anymore, and our marriage is stronger than ever.
I now realize that, for us, they aren’t necessary for a fulfilling marriage, and we are soaking up more time with our little ones because of it. No, we don’t do ‘date night,’ and our marriage doesn’t suffer one bit.
It’s hard not to compare my life to others on social media. Scroll through my various news feeds, and you are likely to find multiple “date night” photos. In days past, I wondered why my husband and I never scheduled date nights. Was something wrong with our marriage? I could count on one hand the number of times we had gone out without kiddos in tow over the last six years.
It’s not that I don’t crave alone time with my partner, because I do. The reality of the situation is likely rooted in the lack of family living nearby and the cost of a babysitter, plus dinner out, while on a budget. Frankly, I also just don’t want to spend much time away from my kids.
My arms might ache from nursing my son to sleep night after night, but I know, that one day I will ache for these very moments. The snuggle sessions. The adorable mealtime messes. Catching my husband’s eye across the room as we watch our boys interact with one another. I want to be present for all of it.
We did recently have one night away, an outing at which my husband and I were noticeably the youngest in attendance. While waiting in line for food an older gentleman joked with me—“Are you sure you are in the right place?” I was, sort of. The dinner conversation revolved around kids away at college and hilarious moments with grandchildren. As I listened in, I realized that if we are so lucky, my partner and I will have many, many date nights in the future — nights filled with sharing moments of days past with our sons.
I have also realized that our marriage has never been stronger. Since having children, I’ve exerted more effort to grow as a person—reflections which have nudged me to examine my role as a wife and a mother. I am learning to hold space for my husband as we grow with the flow of parenting together. In other words, working on myself seems more helpful for our marriage than sharing popcorn kid-free at the movie theater.
We still have important conversations and share solo time after the children are in bed. We have combined career interests and spend time learning with and teaching one another. We have a ton of fun together and with our kids. Watching my husband as a father has only grown my love for him.
I am not saying that we don’t argue or have issues to work on, because we certainly do. I also won’t deny that grown-up nights out can be a blast too…nor that I don’t occasionally daydream of them.
‘Tis the season of life my partner and I are in and we both agree that it works best for us. While date nights might be an occasional treat, the real work to strengthen our marriage happens in our commitment to growing into the best versions of ourselves that we can be, even around our children, each and every day.