Ah, the dreaded relationship rut…the inevitable, predictable routine that plagues many a long term relationship and converts a once vibrant, exciting, sexy couple into a lounge-pants-wearing, pass-the-microwave-popcorn, asleep-on-the-couch-by-9pm television vegging pals. The conversion is so slow you hardly notice it.
At first, moving in together brings its own excitement. You finally have a shared space that reflects who you are as a couple. You christen every room in the house, streak naked from the bathroom to the living room and back again, play silly games, stay up late talking, order in at ungodly hours, and somehow wake the next day, excited to do it all over again.
As with all new things, the newness fades, comfort draws over you like a warm blanket, and you start to slowly slip. You realize that you cannot possibly look cute 24/7 and your significant other will eventually figure out that you do have bodily functions when you accidentally release the most embarrasing po-po of your life.
You snore. He drools. You wake up with crazy troll hair. His clothing only makes it to the foot of the laundry basket and no further. You start opting to stay home with a movie and popcorn than to hit the town for dinner and dancing.
And then, you have kids. Some of us, you know who you are, flat out refuse to leave your kids with anybody other than mami or tia or some other acceptable blood relative, so date night goes extinct for several years. Some of us forget we were ever sexy chicas and lock up our pre-mommy selves in our personal attic. We start fending off any sexual advance or intimate contact. We stop taking care of ourselves, because who has the time for tonterías now that you’re a mommy? And little, by little, we hide ourselves away from the one person we worked hard to show who we really were. We rip ourselves, our identity, our physical love away from the one person we fought to love us for who we truly are.
Ouch. Right? It hurt me to even write that last part. I am so guilty of putting my relationship with my husband at the bottom of my priority list. Oh, and I’ve got an excuse for every day of the year why I’m justified in doing so. The kids need me. How can I think of stealing some quality time when the house is full of dust? Don’t I have to cook dinner now? Bad timing. I’m tired. I’m touched out. I’m <insert totally valid, yet totally invalid, excuse here>.
It is so easy to put hubby on the back burner. He’s grown, right? He can take care of himself? He’ll be fine. The kids need me. Wrong. The kids need both of you. And, you know what? He needs you. Not you the mommy, or you the wife, or you the fiance, or you the girlfriend…just you.
Do remember who you are? Does he remember who you are?
If your answer is “no” or “kind of,” then I think its time for you to meet my little friend called date night. At first, we totally underestimated the importance of date night. I mean, we spend every evening together, so that’s kind of like a date night, right? Wrong. You have got to get out of the house, away from the every day, away from the kids, away from the dog, away from the job, away from responsibilities, and remember what makes your relationship sizzle.
4 Steps To Get Out Of The Relationship Rut With Date Night
1. Make a date night routine.
Fight routine with routine. Establish one date night a month. Create a regular date night schedule by designating a recurring date night, like the 1st Saturday of the month. Setting a regular schedule will help you make it a priority and it lends itself to planning ahead for maximum enjoyment
2. Find a sitter.
Yes. A sitter. Your kids will be fine. I promise. Leaving your kids with a sitter is not a sign of bad parenting or neglect. Your kids will love you for it. Heck, I had such a fabulous sitter as a kiddo, we used to beg my parents to go out.
I know that finding a reliable sitter can seem like a daunting task. Start by asking your friends or parents of classmates if they have recommendations. If you have a friend with kids you can tolerate (don’t get me started on OPC- other people’s children), perhaps you can work out a date night babysitting swap to cut costs.
3. Plan an activity.
Don’t fall into a non-date date. Ditch dinner and movie…try something that forces more physical contact and conversation. It is nice to break up the routine date with a spicier version. Hubby and I went to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert for our January date night. Granted, we couldn’t talk, but there was something electric about sharing our love of music and the cool-factor of a concert.
Keep it up! Date night is a healthy part of your relationship. Even better, it models a health relationship for your children. My kids know that date night is something special that mom and dad do. La Grande (age 6) always asks us about our date night the day after. I know that Hubs and I are doing our job of showing our children that Mommy and Daddy are more than just Mommy and Daddy to each other. We’re Adri and Mike. And fifty years from now, we will still be Adri and Mike. And we will still have date night.
Now that I’ve got you all hot and bothered, go plan your date night! I promise you won’t regret it! Let us know what you decided to do on your date night!