Flying the flag for date night

Photo 07-07-2014 08 31 52 pm

Real spouse talk: we find date nights hard these days.

Didn’t everyone say we would, and didn’t we think, all naively, that we’d find a way to work around it? I am in awe of couples who manage to get out once a week or even once a month. Whether you pay someone to come round (sometimes more expensive than we can afford, and difficult to do on weeknights) or just ask a friend (do they have kids already? What might the boys do to their house?), it’s bristling with awkwardness.

More real spouse talk: our relationship deteriorates, in measurable and significant ways, when we don’t have time alone.

And we do not want a relationship of pleasantries and routine. No, we signed up for hand-holding and intimate conversations and intimate everything else. I am here to make a stand and say that friendship, even best-friendship, is not good enough. Even with small children. Even with work and tiredness. I am here for heart-hurting love, and not a single thing less will do.

So it’s a good job, all things considered, that Timothy is the type to book tickets to BBC recordings on a whim, and take us off to London for the evening. All of us, because my brother- and sister-in-law were lovely enough to entertain the boys for the evening while we skipped off into the capital. They live just south of the river Thames, work in animation and theatrical makeup, and are the coolest and nicest people I know.

We were late, of course, so the first half of the date was characterised by sprinting: to the Tube station, onto the Tube, through a sandwich (awkward Tube eating is awkward), and then onto the theatre, where the lady told us they were already full. Great. So we took a long walk down through Bloomsbury to Covent Garden, and got a frozen custard from Shake Shack. Mine came with toffee sauce, chocolate pieces and a kind of malt powder that was like crushed Malteasers plus Horlicks plus crack. I ate it with blueberry lemonade at my elbow, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

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Pre-Raphelites woz 'ere. *shriek*

Pre-Raphaelites woz ‘ere. *shriek*

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Then – oh, my heart – we hired Boris bikes, and freewheeled over the river, Big Ben and the London Eye gleaming on the water, back to pick up the boys. I haven’t been on a bike since university, and went the whole way chanting ‘we’re not going to die we’re not going to die’. Three miles on a bike through London, while the sun sets? My date-o-meter just spontaneously combusted. We came back to chocolate fondue and some Peppa Pig talk, and it was all so perfect it hurt.

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Photo 07-07-2014 10 19 44 pm

On my flag of personal absolutes is painted ‘DATE NIGHT’. I believe in date night, however we wrangle it. If it’s on a Boris bike, so much the better.

Share with me your collected wisdom, o internet browsers: how do you make date night work? 

9 thoughts on “Flying the flag for date night

  1. So important, Dan and I have been known to just go out in the car and sit, everything was full but we so needed time away from home, just us. My kids are older now, it’s easier but my latest find is those inflatable hot tubs, once you move and have a little garden consider one. I bought us one for our 18th Anniversary and its so nice! to turn off the gizmos and go sit out in the garden under the stars by candlelight in the warm bubbly water with a glass of wine if it takes your fancy, we talk and touch and unwind.

    • Inflatable hot tub! This is an amazing idea! We’ll have to find a spot for one in the garden. I agree with you about unplugged time – so important to have conversations without screens. We are terrible about this! x

  2. We often think we need the big things but really the small things and time is all we need to build and keep and relationship strong. My best friend is male and it’s a good, strong friendship the reason i know this is because he bought me a bar of Galaxy chocolate :).

    The blog looks good!

  3. We really struggle to get date night done, but on Saturday the big boys are going on holiday with grandma and grandad brown for a week, and it’s our anniversary too, so we’re going to go OUT! Atleast twice! We’ve got friends with teenage children (hit up your ward youth!) who are reasonable.

    • Woo, go for it! We have great youth too, but I hate asking them out when they’ve got seminary the next day or an activity of their own, and obviously we always want to pay them properly, which means a night at the cinema can stack up…I suppose it’s just about prioritising and planning properly!

  4. Looks like you two had a great evening together. My wife and I barely get time to ourselves. With our family being over 4 hours away, we don’t get to get out much. And when we do get away it’s like we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We get so caught up in the moment that I forget to take pictures! How do you remind yourself to make sure to take shots along the way? I always forget until it’s too late, or until we’ve finished dinner and are waiting for the check or something.

    • Ah, I think we’re so excited to have both hands free of children that we overcompensate with the photos 🙂 I sympathise with the far-away-family problem. My mum lives in the States, and we miss having her close by. Also not knowing what to talk about once we’re finally child-free – sometimes we go out and ban ourselves from talking about the boys, just to introduce some other topics!

      Parenting babies and toddlers is just hard, I think. I’ve heard that babysitters get easier once the kids are older – hoping that’s true!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  5. So so desperate for some time alone with husband. But it might still take her some time. Separayion anxiety galore. Putting her to sleep is another issue. Sigh. And I kind of lose it sometimes. Not fair on either of us.

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