Psst … hey you! Do you go on once-a-week dates with your husband or wife? Are you one of the “model couples” that is able to pull this off? If you are, my congratulations go out to you! Your relationship is probably in excellent shape — you and your spouse take time away from your responsibilities to have fun with each other.
To get ready for this post, I did a very informal survey of my Facebook contacts. I found that less than one quarter of them managed to get out together once a week. One of them, a friend of mine called Debbie, goes out with her hubby every week, except for sickness or bad weather.
The weekly date is a staple of marriage advice books and blogs. As women, we especially long for a bit of romance from that husband we pledged allegiance to. Less than a quarter of the people who responded went on a date once a week or more. When I told Debbie that she and her husband were one of the few who managed to go out once a week, she pointed out that “are we the only ones don’t have kids to take into account, needing to find a babysitter, etc?”
Debbie makes a very good point. In fact, a study done by the Institute for Family Studies done specifically with young parents found that only 11% of them were able to pull of the once-a-week date. In fact, the study found that trying to go out once a week, for those with small children, was often too stressful and actually counter-productive because it involved too much planning.
Weekly Dates: The Mythical Unicorn?
Perhaps you are more like me and my honey who find the “once-a-week” date sometimes seems like an impossible dream, the mythical unicorn.
the “once-a-week” date sometimes seems like an impossible dream, the mythical unicorn
Maybe you felt super-inspired for a short while, blew some major cash and then poof … no more dates for another six months.
Do you feel guilty about your lack of dating? Maybe sad? Today, I want to encourage you because you are not alone. The study I cited earlier found that over a third of the respondents dated “almost never.” Another third managed to get out once a month.
Time is a huge factor for many couples. My gorgeous husband worked crazy shifts for many years, while I worked very long hours as a teacher. Some people add commuting to the mix and that makes the schedules even busier. Finding a babysitter is a big factor for many. For those in a stepfamily situation, custody schedules can make it very challenging. Some people mentioned health as a factor. Others simply feel too tired after all of the other commitments in their life. One friend, who has been married for 33 years, says, “basically, I am so tired by week’s end that I don’t want to do more. Every 6 weeks or so is about all we can manage both and time and energy wise.”
Some couples found that money was also an issue when it come to going out regularly. My friend, Angel, who goes out with her husband once or twice a month, has a good solution for that, though. She explains, “Money can be an issue but we tend to find activities that are free; parks, free days at museums or the zoo, etc.”
An Alternative to the Weekly Date
For many years, Vern and I were not able to date once a week, or even once a month. Once a quarter was more like it. We were both too tired and too busy. The money wasn’t there, either. We did something else, though. We fell into the habit of having little connection times on a regular basis, none of which involved going out. In the morning, during our coffee/tea time, we took a few minutes and really connected with each other. Sometimes it was fifteen minutes spent talking right before bed. But we tried to take time every day to look at each other and to listen.
So, I encourage you that if you can’t get out on dates, grab a few minutes and connect with your spouse every day. You may have to challenge yourself to find the time, but it is worth it. Then when you do finally get out on a date, you will still know each other. Make the effort to connect and see your mate as more than just a worker, a cleaner, a fixer. Get to know him/her as a playmate, a companion, a lover. Take time to ask how he is. Take time to look into his eyes.
New Free E-Book
Because the concept of “grab a few minutes” has been so valuable to our marriage, I wanted to share some encouragement with you guys. So, I have created another free ebook called, “11 Ways to Connect With Your Spouse, When You Have No Time.” This beautiful document contains eleven simple ways to connect with your spouse on a day to day basis. If you are interested in obtaining this resource, sign up here. You will also receive blog updates on a regular basis.
If you are interested in reading my book, Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love, check it out on Amazon.
Please leave a comment and tell me your thoughts on dating in a long-term relationships. What is your experience? I would love to hear your feedback!