Basic rules for date night with your spouse

I asked my husband for an appointment for the next weekend. He paused for a second before saying yes. That was weird. Why did my own husband pause when I asked him out? I was trying to figure out what I meant by “Would you like to go on a date next weekend?” Your guess is as good as mine as to what he thought I meant. Clearly, we don’t do this often enough.

For my husband and I, dining alone in a good restaurant doesn’t happen much. Experts say that date night should happen once a week. The children of those experts must be in college. Or maybe they never had children. What. I imagine if my husband and I can reconnect in a romantic setting once a month, we are doing quite well. Anyway, we are not high romance boys. Buying ice cream at Dari Hut and taking it home to surprise my husband at night is fun with a nice enough touch of romance. For me personally, it’s about the time we spend together, not what we’re doing, that matters.

For our next date night I have everything planned. I have all my outfit chosen. I lined up for Grandmom & Poppy to take care of our two girls, ages two and four. I made reservations at a restaurant that has tablecloths and a piano bar. We are both looking forward to it, but I have to say I am feeling a bit nervous. Since we don’t spend a lot of time together alone these days, I thought it might be a good idea to establish some “ground rules” for our date. These rules might also help you if you spend more time in Family / Mom and Dad mode than in Romance / Husband and wife mode. These are the rules that I came up with:

1. Set a pre-established time to talk about “business”: children, home, finances, work, etc. When time passes, stop.

Okay, so what issues does that leave? Do you remember what it was like to date your spouse? Before you had children? Before you lived in the same house and shared every intimate detail of each one’s clothes and other personal habits? No? Join the club. To start a conversation, you may need to do some homework. Read a book so you can share the plot about the salad. Find an interesting story to share. Ask your spouse about his favorite restaurant as a child. Or what was your best Christmas / Hanukkah / birthday present? Or what was your favorite part of your honeymoon, you could even bring some photos to jog your memory. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you know everything. There is still much to discover.

2. When one of you goes off course (which you probably will), the other should gently guide the conversation toward further partner discovery. If you say, “That little league game was great! I was so proud of the way Johnny caught that fly.” She can say, “I’m proud of him too. I’m also proud of the great dad that you are. The first time I was proud to be with you was when …” See? A smooth transition away from the kids and back to your memories.

3. Flirt with each other. Use your non-verbal messages in that “come here after dinner” way. Why not? You are married after all!

4. Order dessert. Forget about your diet. Enjoy a little. It’s not that you do this all the time. Don’t order the fruit cup with a splash of Grand Marnier cream, unless you live in Alaska, it’s late winter, and you miss fresh fruit, or that’s what you REALLY want.

5. Laugh.

6. Tomato from the hands. Share a few bites of each other’s dinner. Look at each other. See # 3 above.

I hope that you will soon have the opportunity to apply these rules with your spouse. If you don’t have your next date night planned yet, this is your chance to plan one. Do it right now while you think about it, even if you have to plan for it for a couple of weeks in the future. Then you will have something fun to look forward to and some rules to help you enjoy the night when it arrives.

© 2007, Felicia Slattery.

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