Life is all about learning as you go. Want to know the biggest lesson I’ve learned since getting married almost four months ago?
I never really considered “dating” my husband. I mean, we live together and do most things together on the weekend. Isn’t that dating? No, eating stir fry on the couch while binge watching your favorite TV show together does not qualify as a date. I know, that’s basically our favorite thing to do at home. And why not? It’s relaxing, easy, cheap, and we’re together. But over the summer I learned that defaulting to this every 8 p.m. on a Friday night may be setting us up for disaster.
Why disaster? I have three reasons for you:
1. Stress Dumping
A side effect of Ryan and I not seeing each other all week is that we don’t have the option to gradually catch up or vent about our days. Most couples can unload about work stress or any other anxiety to each other over a casual dinner every night. They can also casually fit in the occasional nag, like “honey, I really wish you wouldn’t leave your breakfast dishes out”. But, Ryan and I don’t have that luxury. All our stress from the week gets piled up. Additionally, I know I have resentment about this stress getting piled up. It all comes to a head on Friday evening at some point. Instead of simply being happy about being together, we’re dumping all of this negativity on one another. We’re discussing bills, work, family issues, groceries. How boring!
Since we don’t see each other during the week, we put a lot of pressure on the weekends. We want to make sure that our time together is the best damn quality time we can have. When I feel pressured or over excited I tend to have minor breakdowns. Think of a four-year old at their birthday party.
We got stuck in the routine of eating at home in front of the TV. The drill was: 7:30: go for a walk and talk about our week. 8:00: have dinner and watch TV and have a drink until bed time. 12: crash. It was comfy and relaxing. As we were trying to save me, we were so happy over how much mula we were putting into savings each week. Over a few months I gained about 6 pounds. The black lacy nightgown I wore around the house all summer turned from “kinda sexy” into “oh god this is the only thing that fits right now let me be!” We weren’t developing our relationship, we were, simply put, being slobs.
Why are date nights so vital to the success of a marriage? I give you 3 reasons :
1. Putting value on communication
On a date, you have the opportunity to really communicate with one another. You’re not simply re hashing your day and complaining about your boss. This is your time to continue to develop a deeper understanding of one another – to continue to be one another’s best friend. This is important, because you are both bound to change through the years. I know that I want to grow side by side with Ryan – sharing my thoughts and perceptions rather than grow apart.
2. Allowing time for romance
This is a new trick that works for me; whenever I feel like I’m being a little moody, selfish, mean during quality time with Ryan, I pause and think to myself “Would I act this way on a first or second date?” It sounds so simple – but be overly kind, try harder, and take the evening to the next level. Whether this simply means choosing real pants over yoga pants or surprising your spouse with their favorite meal or reservations. Impress one another!
3. Strengthen your commitment as a couple
By setting specific romantic time for you and your spouse you a cultivating a strong sense of togetherness and commitment. You are making a point to put one another first. It has been proven that spouses that spend a lot of couple time together enjoy a higher quality relationship, lower stress, and are markedly less likely to divorce.
When you look back, it all makes perfect sense. However, life does tend to get in the way. Since August, Ryan and I have made an effort to schedule special date nights at least twice a month. As we discuss having a baby in the somewhat near future we put together a “before baby bucket list” and we’re having fun setting aside couple time.
What are ways that you have found to make sure you keep the romance alive and schedule couple time in your busy schedule?