The other day I overheard a co-worker declare that he and his wife don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s stupid. When I challenged him and asked when was the last time he and his wife had couple time. Just the 2 of them, no kids, on a date. To which he couldn’t answer because it had been years.
40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. I’d say the number one reason those marriages fail is lack of communication.
Take my relationship for example. By the time our kids got to an age where they had their own friends and didn’t really need us as much, a giant gap had formed between my husband and I. We had been filling that gap with our 3 kids for years. It’s easy to do.
We are parents. Kids take up a LOT of our energy and time. On top of that, many of us have jobs outside the home. By the time there’s time to breathe, you just want to go to sleep and recharge.
Where’s the time to go on dates or connect with your partner? Where’s the time to take care of the marriage that brought you those amazing kids?
After 16 years of marriage, we are divorced. We had arrived at a point where we really didn’t know each other anymore. We simply couldn’t operate outside of being parents.
For my next relationship, I vowed that we would have weekly date night. One night a week where there are no kids and no work. We can do anything we want. For the last 4 years, I am proud to say that every single Tuesday night is sacred date night. I call it “Hot Date Night”.
We cook dinner. Sometimes we go out for dinner. We have a couple glasses of wine. We talk. Sometimes we don’t talk. We watch TV. Sometimes we just sit together. Sometimes we just read or listen to music. And of course, sometimes we fool around, but not always.
We decided that we would put no expectations on the night. Date night doesn’t have to be anything special. It just simply is a habit that is critical to nourishing our relationship. It’s the one time that we focus on us in whatever way it feels right on that day.
I hear the reasons couples give for not taking the time to connect with their partners. I know those reasons because I had the same ones.
- We have little kids and it’s impossible to get a babysitter
- We can’t afford to go out for dinner
- I’d rather stay home with my kids
Those reasons, with small children, I can’t deny. But I can also say truthfully, that as the years went by, I wanted a date night here and there. I found that those reasons became a safety net. “I’d rather stay home with the kids” meant I’d rather not go out and feel uncomfortable and worry about what we’ll talk about… and maybe even reveal that we’re no longer connected.
The kids would be taken care of, like at a school-sponsored event for 3 hours… and we’d choose not to take the opportunity. It stung.
After a while, it’s easier to simply not try to connect. And sadly, for us, we separated.
Valentine’s Day may very well be stupid. You shouldn’t have to have a holiday to take your partner out on a date. But it’s still time together. So, if you need a reason to get out and reconnect, then use Valentine’s Day as an excuse.
Take the time, now, to schedule a date night. Maybe you can’t do every week. Can you do once a month? Once every 3 months?
Because it’s important.
Jen Thoden is an online color stylist, entrepreneur, runner & mother-of-the-year (not) dedicated to helping women (re)discover their unique self and inspire them to take back their their power in fun and creative ways. She is the founder of Your Color Style™, a proprietary online color system that makes it easy for women to discover their best colors and to learn how to style themselves in ways that make them feel amazing.