In the early years we were enjoined in stern tones to keep date night sacred. It must happen each week regardless of budget. We must not talk about the kids. We must get out of the house to reconnect.

Blah, blah, blah. Here’s what we’ve learned so far….

The first time we paid a babysitter $100 because we had gone out for dinner and a movie that we had paid another $100 for, our eyes were opened, my friend. And we switched things up.

Here are our guidelines to successful date nights:

  1. Do something that will allow us to have conversation. Movies quickly got skipped. This week we drive 1.5 hours to hear a talk of the hidden history of black Catholics in America.
  2. Think of the budget before planning the date. In the lean budget years, our date was Bill bringing home ice cream from the commissary and we would sit on the couch and talk. I was pregnant and he was in the Army so being physically lean was less of an issue.
  3. Talk about what it important. Date night was *the* best time for us to get on the same page about discipline. All of our early discipline decisions, decisions we still hold to, were made on date night.
  4. Don’t forget that God is the third spouse in your marriage and include Him. It took 15 years or so for us to get there, but I was grateful someone planted the seed. For the past several years we had a committed Eucharistic Adoration hour on Friday nights. At first we swapped weeks (we actually had an argument once over whose week it was!) or went as a family. But eventually we became the parents of teenagers and we would leave after dinner, spend 8-9pm at Adoration reading and discussing the Sunday Gospel, praying and even talking about marriage and family issues with the clear awareness that we had invited Christ into the conversation. On the way home we picked up ice cream and continued the conversation until bed. Those years were very, very blessed and we miss having that opportunity.
  5. Grow some nice teenagers of your own who you can trust to watch your younger kids. We figured this out when the kids were young and parented to have lovely teens. And we do. 🙂