07.30.12 Love

I Don’t Believe in Date Night

I Don’t Believe in Date Night

BY Raluca State

I don’t believe in date night.

It’s not that the idea of three hours of child-free, wine-fueled conversation in an overpriced restaurant with candlelight doesn’t sound lovely… it does. But the pressure that comes along with it – the notion that this three-hour, once in a blue moon pause is going to save or strengthen a marriage – is a hard pill for me to swallow.

I believe in everything that happens in between date nights.

I have been married to my husband Chris for almost eight years, but we’ve been together for 18. I am only 34, so you do the math. I’ve loved this man since we were kids. Ours is a relationship that our friends hold up as an example of happiness, equality, love, friendship… and most of the time, I understand why. And I can tell you, it’s not because of date nights.

It’s because of regular nights. When we put the kids to bed, turn on some music, pour some wine and eat by candlelight. It can be Monday, it can be meatloaf, we can be talking about the mortgage. But it’s always meaningful. And more importantly, it’s routine. We do it all the time.

It’s because we go to bed mad. I don’t believe that everything needs to resolve itself before we fall asleep; in fact, I tend to have a much more levelheaded reaction to most of our arguments after a good eight-hour sleep. And let’s be honest, there’s something incredibly fulfilling about turning to face the wall in a huff and not looking back.

It’s because we tweet. Let’s be honest – the persona you put out there on social media is often times the life of the party, just a little bit wittier and funnier than the one sitting on the couch at home. Why not invite your spouse to meet that side of you again?

It’s because we don’t keep secrets. Not our own, and not anyone else’s, either… at least from each other. I have found that discussing your girlfriends’ issues when it comes to marriage, infidelity and relationships with your partner can help the two of you gain more perspective – putting yourselves in someone else’s shoes to see how you would react makes it a lot more likely you won’t end up there.

It’s because of our record collection. Because we pull out our wedding song on the regular (Lyle Lovett’s ‘Nobody Knows Me’), we crank the hip hop songs that we danced to when we first met, we play the ’80s hits that defined moments in our respective lives – and then laugh about them.

It’s because we spend time apart…even when we’re together. We both work from home so while we are merely 10 feet apart all day, we spend most of that time not talking to each other. Except on Twitter.

It’s because, apparently, when we do talk to each other, it’s with respect. A friend was at our house for a BBQ recently and remarked on how kind we are when we talk to each other, even when I am asking him to take out the trash. She said she could see there was a mutual respect and kindness there in every little interaction. I gave her another glass of wine.

It’s because we try really, really hard not to fight in front of our kids. If we feel something brewing and consciously decide to discuss it later when the kids aren’t around, guess what? We usually never do. Things pass, emotions cool off and we are all better for it in the end.

So I don’t believe in date nights. I think you should focus on your marriage when you’re in the house – no waiters, no specialty cocktails, no skinny jeans and heels. I believe it has made my marriage stronger. I believe it has kept it secure through ups and downs. I believe it can help you have fun with your partner again. And I firmly believe in saving the cocktails, waiters and skinny jeans for girls’ night out instead.

Featured image by Sequins and Candy Photography

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Raluca from WhatWouldGwynethDo is a full-time mommy, blogger and career gal “striving for style in the land of sippy cups and see saws.” She writes about life as a multi-tasking mama to two who balances conference calls, cookie baking and a healthy handbag obsession without batting an eye…because it’s usually half closed from exhaustion. You can also follow her on Twitter @wwgwynethdo.

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  • Comments

    • http://twitter.com/drchristywise Dr. Christy Wise

      I’m sorry to hear you don’t like date nights. While you describe a wonderful relationship that many would love to have in a society that still ends up 50% in divorce, there is something blissful about just being with your partner outside of the bubble of life. The pressure you feel is self generated. What I noticed in your writing is a wonderful friendship that you have developed with your spouse. Being friends is a key component to a loving and healthy relationship. But where is the passion and excitement that comes along with a developed relationship. One where the two of you catch a glance, then see each other in your eyes, feeling a sudden build of excitement that makes you want to rip each other’s clothes off! Not that you would right there and then, but that the feeling and excitement of the passion and intimacy becomes overwhelming. The funny thing about date nights is that the opportunity to build up the intimacy, romance, and passion is available, not because it has too, but because the opportunity exists to do so. There are no interruptions by family or kids. Work is behind you because, especially in your case, you’ve left the home. The only focus is on the two of you. If the waiters, skinny jeans, and cocktails are distracting, why? Why doesn’t intimacy block out the distractions? When two people have something to look forward too, the build up is often just as fun as actually being together.

      My husband and I have been married for over 20 years and been together for 22. We have four kids and also work together. We have a very passionate relationship among the friendship that we have developed. We enjoy the idea of growing up together and learning along the way. We’ve laughed hard, fought hard, and played hard. Life is about the good and the bad, yet through it all, being committed to each other in such a way that we inspire passion and romance in others. This doesn’t put us in a better relationship that the two of you. On the contrary, the description of your relationship is much to be admired. I just cannot agree with the idea that date nights should be ignored, when embracing them on a regular basis can only spark a kindle that may have been dormant or ignite that flame that’s been building up all week. Just that evening where the two of us get to truly be alone, whether at a nice restaurant, sitting on a park bench, watching the sunset, or even putting the kids to bed and setting up a candle lit living room in front of the fireplace. Date nights aren’t about impressing your partner, or having to do something to get something in return. Date nights are about creating intimacy. Having that intimate time to just focus on each other. Not knowing whether or not is leads to sex, although, it almost always does because we’ve taken the time to communicate our desires with respect and generosity. We’ve had the chance to listen to each other on an intimate level. We’ve created a ‘space’ that invites making love, or being wild, or anything in-between. Date nights are a catalyst to passion, which is why I always recommend them.

    • Julie

      Amen!

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