Schedule a Regular Date Night With Your Sweetie

Self on 04.04.11
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Photo Credit: Katie Morton

It was the dark ages of my daughter's infancy. My life was marked by an extreme and ever-increasing sleep debt. The need for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation expressed itself as a pervasive throbbing in both my emotional and physical selves.

I knew that I looked like the caricature of a harried new mom: weight gain, dark circles, overemotional, and starved for socialization, yet too anxious to enjoy it. I wondered what my friends said about me behind my back. I wondered how my husband felt about "the new me."

For most moms of poor sleepers, this could describe the early days of new-babyhood. For me, it was month eight.  

My Momma Always Said: You Need Date Night

What I felt I could do at that stage was to carry on and enjoy my daughter every day by caring for her and laughing with her. She lit up my days and, unfortunately, darkened my nights by her refusal to sleep through. The idea of actually leaving the house with my husband for a romantic date seemed pretty far down my priority list at that point.

I hadn't even bothered to find a good babysitter, and so for the past eight months, our nights out had been limited to the few times that our parents could babysit at night. My mother always said how important it is to maintain the romance and to get out of the house together without the kids, both for regular dates and annual vacations. So she made it happen for us, whether I knew how important it was or not.

During this rough period, my parents came for a visit, and they urged my husband and me to get out alone to enjoy ourselves while they babysat. Frankly, I was so tired from the daily mommy grind that I wasn't even sure I wanted to go out. Sleep sounded better.

That Loving Feeling

My parents insisted we get out, and so I ditched my mommy costume of stretchy yoga pants, a t-shirt and eau du graham cracker. After minor deliberations - my wardrobe was limited with my extra padding - I chose a short dress with kitten-heeled boots. I was reminded of what it was like to actually feel attractive, and it was glorious.

Over dinner, red wine loosened our lips and any coyness and introversion we might customarily harbor was banished completely for a few sacred hours. My husband and I connected that night over intimate conversation that ran the gamut from our childhoods to our inherent natures and psyches. It was a far cry from our usual superficial chatter about (single people, plug your ears) napping and diaper contents.

I was getting to know my husband on a deeper level I didn't comprehend was possible before. Something happened that night to renew those old feelings of when we were first dating, when butterflies reigned. I still feel the glow of being madly in love and completely infatuated with my dear husband, and I can't wait for our next date.

Paradise Lost: Normal and Inevitable or Tragic and Preventable

Before I had a child, such a scene as a couple eating over candlelight and a white tablecloth seemed pleasurable, but not overly special, important or unusual. Now, with our daughter at home, a nice dinner out alone with my hubby has taken on new meaning: that our marriage is thriving, happy and healthy.

Don't get me wrong; we've never been "on the rocks" or felt as if there were trouble brewing between us. In fact, I think we've felt pretty darn great about our marriage, even without the typical trappings of romance such as dates. It felt innocuous and completely normal that the romantic stuff hit the backburner. We've been tired and busy. Isn't that the way of marriage once kids arrive on the scene?

Or is it?

Establish Date Night to Keep the Spark

Maybe it's a bit dangerous to let date night fall by the wayside. Maybe we weren't as connected as I thought before our night out. Time goes on and people grow and change, and if I don't stay on top of what's happening in my husband's world, will I still know him, really and truly know him in five years?

Now I'm beginning to realize that as the years slip by, it could be possible to lose touch with my mate if I'm not careful. If we don't preserve our relationship and make that extra effort to connect, then those butterflies could be gone forever.

I didn't grasp what my mother was saying about the importance of date night until I felt a spark flare and glow that weekend. I felt like a wife and a woman again, and it was exhilarating.

Katie Morton is the founder of The Monarch Company. Get a FREE copy of her eBook, 10 Steps to a Blissful You, to get started on developing extraordinary willpower for life.

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