Solving the 6 Reasons Why Your Marriage Doesn’t Have More Date Nights
Problem #1: “We don’t have a babysitter.”
We totally get this! We have always lived far from extended family and are incredibly choosy about who we let watch our children. Here are some solutions we’ve used to solve this issue.
Solutions to the “no babysitter issue”:
1) Trade time regularly with another couple.
We did this for a good 5 years. We would simply choose two days each month–one where we would watch the other couple’s kids, and one where they would watch our kids. We keep it simple and flexible by agreeing to watch the kids at the house of the couple that went out. If we had a new baby, the baby would come along and sleep in the pack and play. And sometimes we would bring our own kids along so that it was like a party for everyone!
2) Go on a double date with another couple and have your kids hang out at their house (with their older kids or, with a babysitter they know).
Our kids love this scenario and are actually excited for us to go out because they know they will have a blast too! If the other couple has hired a babysitter, we just make sure to pay the babysitter extra to watch our kids too.
3) Ask others for names of trusted babysitters.
We have asked other families from church, friends from work or even neighbors about who they’ve hired to watch their kids. Right now we are super lucky to have a babysitter that lives down the street from us! But we would not have known about her if we had not asked around.
4) Consider having an at-home date night (after the children go to bed, or another room in the house while the kids are occupied or napping).
At-home date nights can be really fun! Of course they’re not quite the same as leaving the house together, but at-home dates still allow for time alone to talk and enjoy each other (and thats really what it’s all about, right?). Host a picnic in your backyard, bring food in from your favorite local restaurant–you get the gist. The at-home date is a great solution, especially in a pinch.
5) If you have only one child (and he is very small), consider taking him with you on a date.
This was our lifesaver when our kids were super little because all of our kids were breastfed and none of them took a bottle. None. So when they were tiny (and nursing frequently), we’d simply keep them in their car seat or stroller and bring them into the restaurant with us. We would plan the date around the child’s nap or nursing times so that he would sleep while we were out. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it got us outside the home together during those seasons of brand-new-babyhood (when we really, really needed a date).
6) Ask extended family to watch the kids while you’re visiting at their home.
While on your next out-of-town family visit, see if you can plan one night away as a date night where family members can watch the kids. This isn’t a regular solution to the date night issue (and obviously not one to take advantage of), but it’s a great solution that we’ve called upon if we’ve really needed some time out together. We’ve found that both our kids and extended family enjoy this option because they get to have one-on-one time together too (which they also crave)!
Problem #2: “Dating is expensive! Our budget is too tight for us to go out regularly.”
For the past 7 years, our family has worked hard to stay debt-free. That means that we pay cash for everything and that we live on a budget. Let me share some tips we have for keeping expenses down on a date and for making room in the budget.
Solutions for inexpensive dates that stay within the budget:
1) Make it a cheap or free date.
Go for a hike and bring sandwiches from home. Choose a fast food option instead of a fancier restaurant. Make homemade coffee drinks and bring them with you as you stroll through a local nature preserve. Be creative!
2) Budget for dates each month in an envelope.
Date night money is one of those non-negotiatable things in our monthly budget, and we simply take that amount in cash and place it in an envelope at the beginning of each month. Here’s the cool part–the money is always there when we’re ready to go out! And if we happen to skip a month (or use less than normal for that month) then it really adds up for the next date!
3) Take advantage of discount movie theaters and early bird dinner prices.
Nearly every community has some sort of “dollar theater” and/or special pricing times for local movies. Some cities offer free summer movies too. We also keep our eyes open for those restaurants that offer happy hour prices on food, or that give discounts on certain days of the week.
4) Watch for special online deals on local attractions or restaurants.
You know those local deals you get in your inbox, right? What if you purchased a few and set them aside for future date nights? It’s a great way to try a new place together (and to save a few bucks along the way)!
5) Participate in “group date nights” planned by a church, etc where babysitting is free or provided at a cheaper cost.
Sometimes a local church, mom’s group (or even your child’s sports group) hosts an activity night where the kids enjoy pizza and fun time together while parents enjoy a time out. This is often offered at a lower rate than if you were to pay a babysitter to come to your home.
6) Consider an at-home date (perhaps one alone in your bedroom with candles and the lights down low?)
Stay-at-home dates are an inexpensive option to hiring a babysitter. Perhaps your budget only allows for you to go out every other month, so on those off-months you set aside a time for an at-home date together.
Problem #3: “My husband and I are so busy. We want to go out, but honestly we forget about it because we already have so many other things going on.”
The “way-too-busy” syndrome is something my husband and I can fully relate to! I am always trying to gauge our family’s “busy” meter and make sure that we haven’t overcommitted ourselves. Here’s some ideas we’ve used to keep date nights front-of-mind and a regular part of our family calendar.
Solutions for making date nights part of the routine:
1) Pick a day of the week or a certain day of the month that is reserved for date nights.
For us, this is one or two Friday or Saturday nights a month. But I know couples who have their date night every Thursday night, or every Tuesday night. Really, just pick what works for you!
2) Plan a date around certain events in your week/month (every Sunday after church, the night after your husband gets home from a business trip).
Honestly, right now, we’re kind of doing a combo of both number one and number two. We do try to get out at least once a month on a Friday or Saturday, but we especially make it a point if my husband is going on a business trip or has just returned from one.
3) Ask another couple to keep you accountable.
If you’re finding that you need help in making date nights a priority, try asking another couple (or even another mom friend) to ask you about it regularly. Maybe she needs help in this area too and you can both encourage each other!
P.S. When you set dates up as a regular habit, they will be easier to remember and you’ll want to go out more (because you see the benefits in your marriage)!
Loving these ideas and tips? I’ve got three more common issues that keep us from having regular date nights with our spouses, plus 11 ideas you can use as solutions!