Growing up, "date night" was the greatest night of the week. Each Friday, my parents would make us a big pot of macaroni and cheese, call over a babysitter, and leave us with treats and a movie. This routine happened each week without fail. Mom would start dinner for us, dad would get home at six, they'd leave us with dinner to get ready, and would be out the door by seven. They'd return home late at night after we were in bed and we'd wonder what they ate and did.
For most couples, Friday is just another day to run errands and clean the house. But for my parents it was a special day of the week that meant making their relationship a priority. With marriages crumbling in the homes of my friends, I learned to truly appreciate the love my parents had for each other and the great care they took of their relationship.
The idea of date night stuck with me and now my husband and I also make date night a priority, but it took awhile to catch. Dating was easy before marriage, but we weren't prepared for the changes that came when we tied the knot. Setting aside actual time to be together became more confusing, it became difficult to differentiate between spending time together and being in the same room together. Here and there, I would get upset at him for working late or choosing to see a friend instead of me on a Friday night. Date night was my priority and I couldn't understand why he didn't feel the same.
After too many forlorn Friday nights, I finally sat my husband down to form an understanding about our date nights. He didn't grow up with the same experiences, so rather than expecting him to read my mind, I needed to tell him how it all worked and how I wanted things to work for us. We set some rules to make the most of our date nights.
Leave everything as is. The house might be a mess, there might be dishes in the sink, there might be laundry left unfolded. Leave it. Just forget about it and give your full attention to each other. Fridays are for love, Saturdays are for cleaning.
Put the phone away. It happens, you're out at a nice dinner when your mom calls up wanting to know if you're coming over for Easter. You answer her question and she proceeds to talk your ear off and you wonder if you'll ever be able to get back to your date. After many nights of calls interrupting our dates and staring at our Twitter feeds while waiting for the food to come, we made the "no phones" rule. Give your spouse your undivided attention, anything on your phone can wait- unless it's the babysitter, then you should probably check your phone.
Get creative. It's easy for date night to turn into a routine. You go out to an Italian restaurant, go see the latest movie, then grab some ice cream on the way home. Rather than making our date nights a boring routine, we have made an effort to get creative. We want to make memories and truly enjoy our time together. Some of our favorites have been Nintendo night, thrift shopping, painting, and we make sure to try out new restaurants regularly.
Make it your number one priority. This is the last and most important rule. Date night comes before the messy house, the game on TV, and the invitation to girl's night. It comes first. Show your spouse that you value the time you spend with them and will put it above anything else.
Thankfully my husband was more than open to these guidelines and was excited to have one night a week solely dedicated to us. Had we communicated earlier on in our relationship, we could have avoided a few gloomy Friday nights.
Since we've set these guidelines, we've seen a huge change in the way we spend time together. We're focused on one another and truly want to make the most of our time together. This tradition that began with my parents will not end and in years to come we will be leaving our kids with ice cream and a fun babysitter to go off and enjoy a romantic night together.
(Photo by Madeline Joy)
Bethany is a graphic designer, blogger, and most importantly a wife. Bethany studies relationships in her spare time and strives to apply what she learns in her own marriage. Bethany and her husband are avid roadtrippers, movie buffs, and self-proclaimed foodies. Check out Bethany's blog at