Love in the Time of Motherhood: Dating Your Spouse

2288595733_ed82b645cf_zI have three children—the oldest finishing up the second semester of her first year of college and the youngest enjoying (I do use that term loosely), his first year of middle school. Yes, they are older children now. Not only are we past the days of having to find a sitter, on most weekend nights our kids are so busy with their own schedules that we find ourselves suddenly alone. On a Friday night. In Target. Why are two grown adults who finally are free of kid-schedule constraints spending a Friday night in Target? We have forgotten how to date.

After more than 20 years of marriage, our dates are not only few and far between, but our conversations are centered on our kids and their activities. Our kids have become our common ground and now that they are getting older and enjoying time on their own, we have to reconnect—not as parents, but as husband and wife.

As we head into Valentine’s Day weekend, here are 4 tips I have for learning how to date your spouse again:

Create a Date Night

Creating a regular date night means you will not unexpectedly find yourself in the aisle of Target discussing mouthwash just so you can say you stayed out past 9:00 PM. Growing up, my parents had a standing date night every Friday night and although we cannot be certain that every Friday evening will be free, we do plan at least one evening (or day) each week where we go on a real date. Take turns making the plans and, when it comes to getting ready, do that separately so it really does feel like you are seeing each other for the first time that day.

Do Something New

In order to avoid an evening of kid-filled conversations, spend at least one date night a month doing something completely new. This could be trying out a new restaurant, taking a cooking class or going to a comedy show. Not only will this give you lots of great conversational topics, but the two of you will reconnect over discovering something new. My husband and I have decided to spend one Saturday afternoon a month exploring a new neighborhood in Chicago (we are suburb folks pretending we are cool enough to some day move to the city). We are seeking out restaurants we like, shops we want to visit—it gives us the opportunity to see what our life will be when it really is just the two of us at home.

Touch across the Table

I am not a touchy-feely person, however, when we were dating I can remember getting goose bumps when our hands would accidentally touch or he would gently put his hand on the small of my back as we walked through a door. Unfortunately, in the days of parenthood, those touches are few and far between and date night is the perfect time to be reminded of their importance. Touch hands across the table at the restaurant, hold hands while walking into the movies, rub his shoulders after a long drive. No big public displays of affection—this isn’t for showing others, it’s for reminding each other you are still in love.

Send a Text

My kids are all about texting. My husband and me? Not so much. However, on days leading up to date nights, we will often send quick little texts about the date: “Can’t wait to try that restaurant”, “Look at these great shoes—perfect for date night.” Sending little reminders about your date will build the anticipation for both you and your spouse. It’s a great way to connect even during a very busy week of work and family obligations.

As we head into Valentine’s Day weekend, what are some of your great date tips?