Problem #4: “When we do go out, we always end up doing the same things which can get boring. Also, sometimes we don’t know what to talk about (besides our kids)! Help!”
My hubby. He’s the sweetest guy, but oh-my-goodness he can also be Mr. Quiet (especially after a long day of business phone calls and meetings).
Here’s what we do to keep the conversations lively (and the dates fun and interesting).
Solutions for those times you don’t know what to do or say on a date:
1) Get a book of date night conversation starters.
We’ve really enjoyed using this list of 90 date night questions that’s part of the Strengthen Your Marriage Bundle. Seriously–the bundle includes this list of questions plus 3 other powerful marriage resources for only $13.50 (50% off)!
2) Keep a marriage board on Pinterest that’s filled up with great date night ideas.
What things would you and your husband like to do on a date? Create your own marriage board with both your “someday” date ideas plus the ones you could do now (P.S. Follow my boards here to see what ideas I pin!)!
3) Switch off planning each month.
If you plan once-a-month dates, perhaps you could share the planning: One month you plan, the next he plans. Actually, this can also make date nights even more fun because you can each keep your plans a surprise!
4) Consider seasonal dates or dates where you explore activities related to that season.
There’s something magical (and quite date-worthy!) about doing seasonal activities with your spouse, such as looking at Christmas lights or driving to see fall foliage. It’s a great way to get a breather together, especially when you’ve just come out of a busy season or you’re about to enter one (Thanksgiving/Christmas, anyone)? Here’s a list of 80 fun fall family activities (that could also double as date night ideas).
Problem #5: “Our child is really young and we can’t really leave him. We’re also not ready to let anyone else watch him yet.”
Oh my, we’ve dealt with this! Especially after our first baby. He was just so little and we were afraid to let anyone else step in!
However, after the second little guy was born, it became clear very quickly that this mama definitely needed some time with her husband to remember that she wasn’t just a child-watching, milk machine up at all hours of the night. We got super creative in how we fit date nights in. Here’s how we handled it.
Solutions for date nights when your babies are really little:
1) Plan an at-home date night after the child is in bed or during nap time.
This is probably the easiest solution. While it’s true that a baby’s sleep schedule can sometimes be unpredictable, most babies quickly fall into enough of a rhythm where you could loosely plan a time for a date. Again, have fun and get creative with your at-home dates!
2) Go outside for a walk/hike or to a place where you can push the baby in a stroller or carry him in a backpack.
We’ve done this multiple times. When our babies have been really little (and are at the wonderful stage where they’re happy to stay and sleep in their carrier/car seat), we bring them in a restaurant with us and simply have them sit in the car seat. Most often our kids would just sleep, or they would nurse quickly and then sleep.
Either way, it got us out of the house and remembering that we needed to not just nurture a new baby at this time but also our marriage.
3) Consider leaving the child for short bursts.
I mentioned before that none of my four kids ever took a bottle. I enjoyed nursing, so this wasn’t a huge problem.
Except for our second child. He was over 10 lbs at birth… and ate every 45 minutes around the clock for the first 8 months of his life. Seriously, I could never ever feed this kid enough (and now as a ravenous 11-year-old he continues to prove to have a non-stop metabolism). Because of this, date nights were very, very tricky.
Our solution was to take a series of “short bursts” as date nights. We’d leave for 45 minutes, come back and feed the baby, and then leave again. Our dates weren’t especially glamorous during that time, but they gave us the much-needed chance to leave the house without him and to spend time as a couple.
Problem #6: “Right now our marriage isn’t in the best place. Honestly, going on a date would be awkward.”
We all go through periods where we deal with little (and sometimes monstrous) marriage issues. These can easily rip the delicate connections we have with our spouse, and honestly, going on a date is the last thing we’d want to do together. Here are some ideas to consider.
Help for those times when your marriage is strained:
1) Start with just 15 minutes a day of chatting.
Sometimes, especially if there is conflict in a marriage, the idea of spending several hours alone together can be downright overwhelming. Start by building a 15 minute habit each day of chatting together (read more about this simple habit that can change your marriage here).
2) Reserve date nights as “neutral” zones where you don’t talk about difficult topics.
Sometimes marital issues are long-term and take months of ongoing discussion to work out. We’ve had periods like this. During those times, we’ve called a “date night truce” and agreed to not bring them up while we’re out together.
3) Think about what dating activities you used to do before you got married or back when your marriage was more peaceful.
What did you used to enjoy doing together? Could you do any of those activities again? Again, start building a list of date night ideas and fun activities (you can get a good start by looking through my boards here and here.)
4) Consider counseling or asking another wise couple for guidance on what you’re experiencing.
If your relationship is really strained and suffering, never be afraid to ask for help from a trusted friend or counselor. You may also want to check out these 5 signs that your marriage is headed for trouble.
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