As of earlier this year, Brandon and I both work from home full-time. Crazy as it may seem, we need our date nights now more than ever. When you work from home it’s easy to fall into work mode 24/7. It’s just too easy to send a quick reminder text at 8pm or reply to an email at 11pm when you lack an official quitting time. I recently shared tips about how to make working from home work for you but it’s still hard to balance family time. Our offices are in our home and it’s challenging to switch from work mode to marriage mode sometimes.
We reached a point where dinner conversations sounded like office talk. Date nights became business planning meetings. It was overwhelming and we realized we had to get back to prioritizing date night. It used to be so important to us! When we both had a long commute and we worked in corporate offices a weekly date night was always on the agenda. Working from home made us lazy (in more ways than one).
Initially we had a lot of excuses as to why it wouldn’t work. There wasn’t enough time or enough money. We had too much to do at home or were simply too tired. Yet, somewhere inside we knew it was important. We needed the opportunity to be selfish and focus only on ourselves and our marriage. As we started to implement these date night rules we realized there were stressors on our marriage that we hadn’t been consciously aware of. We were raised in very different environments with different rules, expectations, and standards. We communicate differently and have different sensitivities. Prioritizing date night again and implementing these “Date Night Rules” has been really great for us. It took a bit of adjusting at first, I’m not going to lie, but now that we’ve been following the rules for a while it’s really working for us.
There’s more positivity and romance in our marriage now that we’ve started following these rules. We are more relaxed around each other and we joke together more often. We can see great improvements in our marriage and, best of all, we saw the improvements quickly.
Our Date Night Rules
Dress like it’s a first date
Remember your first date? You both likely spent hours making sure you looked your best for each other. Do the same now and make it a priority to look good for your partner. It doesn’t have to be black-tie but style your hair, add a little mascara, and put on a blouse that isn’t wrinkled or stained. He should do the same.
No airing of grievances
Date night isn’t festivus (that’s a Seinfeld reference, FYI). There’s no airing of grievances, no discussion of issues, and no tense topics. I know it’s tempting to take advantage of the quiet time to have adult conversations but if it’s a topic that incites tension it needs to be tabled for another time.
Put your phones away
As a blogger, my phone is almost always in my hand. I’ll be tweeting, filming another IG story, responding to comments, or something but I’m being so much more deliberate about “off” time. I’ve set certain hours when I am not online and I’ve turned off notifications on my phone. During date night, both of our phones go in my purse and we don’t check them. Admittedly, sometimes we’ll bust them out to snap a picture together or to look up something we’re talking about but they usually stay hidden away so we can focus on us.
We usually have date night on Monday or Thursday night. Monday is great for us because it’s always a hectic start to the week and it gives us the opportunity to enjoy the evening together. We talk about how the week started, any “Monday blues” we’re feeling, and hopes or goals we have for the week. It also helps us get on the same page so we can support and encourage each other all week long. We have Thursday as our back-up night in case something throws the wrench into Monday but that’s very rare. Normally we don’t cancel Monday night date night no matter what comes up.
Keep it new or seasonal
This is my favorite rule which is why I’m listing it last. Save the best for last, remember? Date night can start to suck if you let yourselves fall into a rut so we have this rule to keep it feeling new. If we’re going to a new place, cool. If we’re going somewhere we’ve been before, we have to try something new (a new appetizer, a new meal, a new exhibit, etc.).We also try to do a lot of seasonal things like summer hikes and picnics, fall pumpkin patches or corn mazes, winter light tours or carriage rides. If you keep your dates seasonal they almost always feel new because it’s impossible to do the same thing over and over.
Do you have any rules for date night? Tell me about them @ashleyfromhp or drop your thoughts in the comments below.