14 Jul 12 Reasons Date Nights Are The Most Important Habit In Your Life
I’ll be the first to admit – it was a glorious, beautiful thing we had back in Illinois.
My husband and I both grew up there, and raising our own children within 15 minutes of nearly everyone that we loved was an absolute blessing. We saw both our families at least once a week – but often many days in a row for work, pleasure, or a lovely combination of both.
Anytime we needed support – our families were there.
At least once a week they would take the kids for hours on end – often overnight – so we could have some quality alone time. Many times, after a family dinner or daytime hangout, the kids would beg us to let them stay longer, just for the fun of it, and Pat and I would drive away wondering how to fill this delightfully unexpected alone time together.
We were spontaneous. We could fully disconnect, knowing that the grandparents had everything totally under control. We were free to be together – not as parents, but as adults, lovers, and friends.
Glorious and beautiful, indeed.
Then, last winter, we decided to pack up our lives and moved 2,000 miles west, to northern California, completely alone.
We knew our new adventure would be nothing other than a life-changing leap into the unknown – filled with magic, rebirth, self-discovery and the forging of a newer, brighter, more fulfilling life.
And that has proven to be 100% true. But I’ll be the first to admit…
Raising kids away from family blows.
It sucks the big one. And we’ve had to face this every single day since we left.
Anyone who has ever made a big move – especially with kids, moving away from families – knows just how challenging it can be in every area of your life. It consumes all of your energy for an entire month, or more.
But to our surprise, it wasn’t our social life that took the biggest hit. It was our love relationship. And within the first few days of moving in, we realized just how challenging it was going to be.
In the midst of the inevitable chaos that comes with trying to settle into a strange new world, we brushed aside our commitment to date nights, to alone time, and ultimately (unconsciously), to each other. Our connection started to dwindle, our passion started to fade, and our sanity seemed to be hanging by a thread.
Yet there we stood, making all the classic excuses we had promised never to make for why we could abstain from date nights, at least for a little while. For why it wasn’t that big a deal.
“We like spending so much time together as a family,” we told ourselves. “Babysitters are so expensive here. Plus, we don’t want to leave our kids with complete strangers.”
The list of excuses went on, and so did the months. Until we woke up, looked at our reality, and didn’t like what we saw.
So we stopped everything we were doing, and decided to make a change.
First, we recommitted to a weekly date night again – no matter what. Then, we took it a step further.
We made a list of 12 reasons date nights are the single most important habit in our lives, so we’ll never forget again.
Then, we created a job ad for our “perfect babysitter,” where we defined the most important values and qualities we were looking for in the person we wanted to welcome into our family (a whole other article on that here).
We hope this list helps all the other couples out there who are struggling to make date night a priority. For those who feel like a few hours alone each week just aren’t worth the effort. For those who are so blinded by their day-to-day reality that they can’t see how date nights are actually a solution to so many of the problems they’re facing.
We hope this helps everyone – no matter where you are in love, or life – realize that it’s not only a worthwhile investment of your time, energy, courage and discipline – it can be the single most important habit in your entire life.
We hope you enjoy this as much as we have!
12 Reasons Date Nights Are The Most Important Habit In Our Life
1. Dating is the oxygen to our love
We can be good parents, partners, and friends all day long. But when it comes to being lovers – it takes serious discipline. Commitment to time together, looking and feeling beautiful, being physical, showing affection. Dating is the absolute best way to activate all of these things. It’s like a breath of fresh air into our lungs. It’s a burst of color against the backdrop of black and white. It’s refreshing, renewing, and healing. When we aren’t having date nights, we can literally feel our passion and connection suffocating. There is a tightness and a tension that comes with not devoting the necessary energy to this foundational area of our lives.
2. We get to clock out, and leave our responsibilities at home
Of the hundreds of responsibilities we face everyday at home, at work, in families, and in life, none of them are allowed to follow us on our dates. Date nights are a time to totally clock out — To escape all responsibility and create the ultimate space and freedom to devote our full attention to one another. Releasing the burdens of life, even if only for a few hours, liberates, cleanses, and energizes — making us stronger, and better able to return home and handle those burdens.
3. We get to treat ourselves
Dates are something to look forward to. We anticipate them all week long. And in that anticipation, there is reward in itself. If I’m out and see a gorgeous new dress in a shop window that Pat would absolutely love on me, I have the ultimate reason and justification for buying that dress. I get to surprise him. I get to feel lovely. We get to go out on the town together and totally treat ourselves. We’re cooked for, cleaned up after, and waited on, and our only job is to show up, look and feel beautiful, and have a great time together.
4. We get to be people other than parents
This is a big one, because parenting, more than any other “job,” is all consuming. It can hijack everything in your life, if you let it. Having the opportunity to break free from that role once a week is essential. It’s the ultimate reminder of who we are outside of “mom and dad.” We get to be individual man and woman. And most importantly, we get to be husband and wife. Having a regular reminder that I am not only a mother – I am a wife – is one of the biggest keys to our love relationship. And what a fun role “wife” is, when you really make the time to play it!
5. We get to talk about the BIG stuff
First and foremost, dates grant us the basic honor of completing our own sentences, without being interrupted by the hundreds of pressing needs our children have every day. We get to talk about the biggest, baddest, most important topics in our lives. The struggles we’re facing, the things we’re endlessly thankful for, the dreams we have for where we want our lives to take us next. Dates always end in tears of joy and gratitude for me, because of the overwhelming emotions that start to flow when we really “go there.” I can’t get enough. We live for this stuff. It’s the juice of life, and definitely the juice of our love.
6. We get to feel sexy and desirable
Date nights are the ultimate way to heighten our awareness and desire to appear beautiful, strong, and sexy throughout to week. If we know we have a date coming up, we go that extra mile in our workouts, and our self-care. We have purpose. We have desire to be attractive and really show up as our best, most beautiful selves. And most importantly for me, I get to work on generating internal feelings of beauty, sexiness, femininity and power. Being aware of those energies all week, and then unleashing them when the night finally arrives, can be so empowering and fulfilling.
7. We give our kids a chance to experience life outside of us
Getting to spend quality time alone with other extraordinary people — whether they’re family, friends, or hired help — is something we believe is fundamental to our kids’ growth. It’s so good for them to learn how to interact with other people who are different from us — to engage in a routine that’s different from our normal day-to-day. I remember when my daughter was little and it was so important to me that her babysitters knew exactly how to handle her in specific situations. When it came time to leave, I used to get so stressed that they wouldn’t do it exactly how I did it. Until one day, Pat told me it was not only okay for them to do things differently – it was a good thing. As learning and growing humans, kids need to discover how to deal with all different kinds of people and situations. It helps them build inner strength, adaptability and relational skills. And most importantly, it makes them miss us, so that when we come home, they are happy, grateful little humans.
8.It’s a constant demonstration of our commitment to each other
After an overwhelming, exhausting, draining week, nothing means more to your lover than honoring the time you’ve set aside to celebrate your love. Even when we’re tired. Even when we don’t feel like it. Sometimes showing the other person how much it means to you – how far you’re willing to go just to be with them – really does make all the difference. And this demonstration of love and commitment flows beyond the relationship, and into your family. Our kids get to see that – no matter what – mommy and daddy make time to be alone together, because they really love, cherish and enjoy each other. They grow up understanding how important that is.
9. Some of the most magical memories are created on dates
Some of the most cherished, colorful and vivid memories of our entire lives have happened on dates. Many of the best, most defining moments in our love relationship have occurred when we’re alone together somewhere in the world, simultaneously creating and discovering ourselves as we continue to evolve as people, and lovers. These are the moments we will look back on in the end and treasure deeply. These are the moments that make life worth living.
10. It’s the ultimate foreplay
Time is the most basic and obvious investment we have to make if we desire a fulfilling sex life… Uninterrupted time, and secluded space. Not just to be physical, but for all the things that lead up to being physical. Dates create this space for us. One very important thing we’ve learned is that we require a deep mental and emotional connection before we can create a profound physical experience. Truly fulfilling, deeply satisfying sex must be built on a foundation of deep and meaningful mental, emotional, physiological and spiritual connection. Dates provide that connection, and give us the space we need to let it unfold and blossom naturally, over time, so that nothing feels forced or rushed. It can become a dance that lasts all night.
11. The energy we create permeates EVERY area of our lives
Making the commitment to talk every week about every important detail of our lives keeps us connected and working toward shared goals and visions. It keeps us plugged in to what our life together is all about. We get to create it consciously, together, on a regular basis. Always renewing, always growing – we get to move through life with intention and power. Just the simple act of being together, really looking into each others eyes, and talking about the things that matter most can generate enormous amounts of positive energy and excitement, which we get to carry back into every area of our lives.
12. We remember that we really, really love each other
More than anything else, dates remind us how much we love each other. They help us see and know each other again, after spending time apart in the chaos of the world. Dates remind us of why we love each other – and they allow us to celebrate those reasons in real time. They show us what we’re really capable of, if we would only get out of our own way and make celebrating love a priority. They generate feelings of gratefulness, joy, pleasure, and awe. They stimulate creativity, passion, and a greater love for life. For all these reasons and more, they are the single most important habit in our lives.
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