You and your sweetheart finally tuck the children into bed, you sit next to each other on the couch and hold each other’s hands. Ten minutes later you’re both snoozing away, completely exhausted from the hustle and bustle of the day’s events.
Trust me, my husband and I have been there before.
Life changes drastically after having children. There are new stresses, craziness, and moments where you’re left scratching your head, wondering, “what in the world were those kids thinking!?” Yet, some of your funniest moments and fondest memories are just beginning.
All too often, though, it’s our spouses who become neglected in the daily life of caring for the children, the house, and taking care of all the other responsibilities we have. We think that they’ll always be there, and over time we turn around and wonder why they’ve changed, what happened to our relationship, and so much more.
What needs to change is the thought process of dating. While you have small children especially, for a period of time, you will need to redefine the meaning of “dating”. Don’t panic, I have you covered with these 5 tips that myself and many other young couples use.
Are you ready?
Dating with Kids Doesn’t Have to be Hard: 5 Tips
1. Specific Day & Time
Set a specific day and time during the week that you and your sweetheart can look forward to. And yes, depending on employment, schooling, and life, this date will change from time to time. The key to success is setting a specific schedule.
My husband and I currently have Tuesday night as our date night. We both look forward to it knowing that we both set this time aside and nothing is going to interfere. * Bonus tip: if you have small children, make sure the baby monitor is nearby to listen for tiny voices. Also, it helps if you set a “bedtime” for yourselves so you can function a little bit the next day. (Our kids are asleep in bed by 7:30 p.m., and we give ourselves a 10 p.m. bedtime.)
* Bonus tip: if you have small children, make sure the baby monitor is nearby to listen for tiny voices. Also, it helps if you set a “bedtime” for yourselves so you can function a little bit the next day. (Our kids are asleep in bed by 7:30 p.m., and we give ourselves a 10 p.m. bedtime.)
2. Keep Trying
Don’t give up, your marriage is important! If you find that one night a week isn’t working, or if you have a newborn and all you want is sleep (I don’t blame you), find something that works for you.
The quality time you spend with your spouse might be during the children’s naptime, before the kids wake up in the morning, or even during the day.
Experiment with you and your spouse’s availability and write down what works and doesn’t work. This process will take time, but I promise it’s worth it once you find your new norm with dating your spouse.
3. Quality – Not Quantity
My husband has been in school full-time since the beginning of our marriage. He’s currently finishing his Masters and applying to law school. Plus, he works full-time so I can stay home with our children. Needless to say, we don’t see much of each other, especially when school is in session.
Although we aren’t able to have our normal dating (go out, eat a meal, watch a movie, do something fun and silly) like we use to, what we have found is quality always ranks higher than quantity.
We have also found that those small moments where we are communicating and laughing have a greater (and happier) impact on our marriage and relationship. Don’t misunderstand, we love watching and quoting movies along with silly YouTube videos. But, we have found, when we focus on the passive time together (such as movies) we aren’t nurturing our relationship.
* Bonus Tip: purchase some 2-player board games or a deck of cards. Or have a date night at home for free.
4. Daily Events
What are you doing daily to help strengthen your marriage? What is your spouse doing? Are you taking the time to give each other a quick kiss on the cheek as you pass by?
Always make sure to take the time to do those small and simple things. They might not seem much, but they don’t take a lot of time either. Yet, they will make all the difference in your marriage.
Some things you can do is make sure to give each other at least one hug and kiss a day, say a prayer together (just you two) either in the morning or evening, leave little notes for one another, give each other words of affirmation in passing (just to list a few ideas).
As long as you’re doing these simple daily things, you will find your marriage being strengthened.
At least once a month (if possible) go on a date as you did prior to having children. If you have family living nearby where your children can have some “grandma and grandpa” time, you’re very lucky.
If you don’t have family nearby, other ideas to find a babysitter include doing a monthly exchange with another young couple. Decide the specific dates ahead of time so both groups can plan their schedules, but you watch their kids while they go on a date, and the favor is returned.
If there is a particular adult your children look up to from church that you trust, consider asking them if they would be willing to watch the children. There are many people who are grandparents without grandkids nearby who would love to help.
As in all cases, make sure you and your spouse discuss potential people, ideas, and make the decision of who to watch your children a matter of prayer and serious inquiry.
Dating with kids doesn’t have to be hard, but you do have to be creative. Your children won’t be small forever, they grow very quickly. But, as you do your best to date your spouse and try to nurture your relationship, you’ll find yourself falling in love with them all over again.
What do you do to date your spouse with small children running around? Leave a comment and let us know below.
Micah Klug is a wife, homeschooling mother to five children, and author. She teaches time-tested solutions to help parents remember what matters most in life, including strengthening their home, faith, and family relationships. To learn how a child who grew up in an authoritarian home is now creating an environment of peace and joy in her own home visit this page. If you want to contact Micah, send her an email here or email [email protected]