You meet someone, fall in love, get married, and have a couple of kids. Before you know it, you’re sleep deprived, you’re working too much, you’re on opposite schedules just to make life work, and weekends are full of errands and kids’ activities.

When you stop to breathe for a minute, you realize you haven’t had a real conversation with your significant other in weeks. Everything has been about kids, or family logistics of who needs to go where and when. You are so bagged at the end of the day that instead of snuggling in for a little grown up time, one or both of you passes out on the sofa watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Scandal. (Or in our case, some science documentary because I’ve already passed out and Mr Awesome can then watch whatever he wants.)

Does this sound familiar?

You need to date your spouse. You need some time together, no kids, just the two of you. Where you talk about things OTHER than the kids for at least half the time. Yes, the kids will come up because it’s now the #1 thing you have in common and you love your kids, but try and talk about other things as well. It will be tough at first, I know.

Ideally it’s a whole evening involving a meal and an activity, but I get that not everyone has the time, and not everyone has convenient childcare options. If your parents or in-laws are nearby, ask for an evening. Or an afternoon. Or even just a couple of hours. Even if it’s just a quick walk for an hour while the neighbourhood high school student watches the kids, take the time. Once a week would be awesome but life moves fast and that’s not always realistic, so aim for at least once a month for the bigger, full evening date. Mr Awesome and I try and have dinner out once a month, and we’re still working on adding in some smaller dates in between.

Here are some ideas for date night (or date day):

  • Dinner and a movie
  • Go to a local coffee shop
  • Take a picnic to a park or beach
  • Play tourist in your own town
  • Go for a walk or hike
  • Explore a local shopping street
  • Go grocery shopping! (Sometimes without kids it feels like a date)

Or if you really can’t find childcare or you can’t get out for whatever reason, do date night at home! Once the kids are in bed, watch a movie or play a board game. Or…you know. <cue Barry White> If your kids are young enough to have a pretty early bedtime, feed them and then order delivery for the you of you once they’re asleep. Crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy the evening.

But if you are staying home, make it a PLAN. Talk it up during the day, get excited, text each other flirty little messages, have a strong coffee if you need to, but stick to the plan. Don’t get sucked in to your regular routine just because you’re at home. Don’t touch the laundry, or better yet, get it done in advance so it’s not there in a pile staring at you. Be all there for each other.

You need the time as grown ups. You need the time to reconnect. Some weeks Mr Awesome and I are likes ships passing by, me coming home from work as he’s heading out to a meeting. We make the time for date night as often as we can, to have fun, to enjoy each other and to be us as a couple.

Tonight was our 13th wedding anniversary. And in the interest of practicing what I preach, we went out for sushi and then a walk along the seawall. It wasn’t fancy or more than a couple of hours, but is was US TIME and that’s all that matters.

Just before we went out, we posted a quick video to my Facebook page about the importance of dating your spouse. You can check it out here: