When Date Night Doesn't Work

Date Night at HEB. True story. Everything else was closed and we were desperate!
Date Night at HEB. True story.

Date night.

In my experience, it’s one of the top 2 recommendations to make your marriage “work”. Many people suggest a weekly date night to keep the spark alive.

Here’s the deal, dating your spouse =/= date night.

For the Hubs and I, we pay our sitter roughly $50 for a few hours any given evening. In addition, we can easily spend $40-$50 on dinner and drinks afterwards can run us another $20-$40. That means, based on the well-meaning advice of others suggesting a weekly date night, we’d need to spend upwards of $140 a week. That just doesn’t work with our financial goals. We’re lucky to have family close by who babysit for free, but even still, finding that much free time in our week is a struggle.

The concept of a traditional, weekly date night just wasn’t working for us, so we got creative. In addition to the craziness of 2 little girls, my husband commutes and travels regularly for his job. We recognize we have to prioritize our relationship, so how do we carve out alone time together all while maintaining our responsibilities as parents and responsible adults?

Sometimes, we go all out!
Sometimes, we go all out!

Make “US” A Priority 

I live and die by my paper and pencil calendar. It’s archaic and I love it. Hubs and I will regularly sit down together and schedule our lives on this calendar. We schedule “me” time, work time for my husband, family time and we schedule “us” time. Sometimes it’s an actual date night which involves a sitter and me shaving my legs, other times, it’s one of the following:

Lunch Dates

If you’re lucky enough to have a spouse within reasonable driving distance, lunch dates work awesome, especially during the school year. Once my Littles are in school, it leaves us with 2 potential days a week where we can meet for a lunch, kid free. One of my favorite lunch date spots is Lili’s. Gorgonzola fries…get them, thank me later.

Hey, I never said we were any GOOD at Scrabble.


Or whatever board game you enjoy. If we’re not diligent about scheduling our time, I’ll hit the couch and watch Bravo all night long. We have a blast with a bottle of wine and a few rounds of Scrabble.

Deck Dates

A few years ago, we had a deck off the back of our house. We now have a stone patio but still have regular deck dates. We put the kids to bed, grab the baby monitor and some wine or sometimes tea, leave the cell phones inside and head out. There’s something about being outside that allows our conversation to flow more freely.

Sometimes, fine dining at home is a little take-out after a long day!
Sometimes, fine dining is a little take-out after a long day!

Fine Dining At Home

You hear this one a lot, but it takes some planning since you’re still responsible for your kiddos until bed time as opposed to leaving them with a sitter. We enjoy a nice steak and a nice bottle of wine, so sometimes that means steaks don’t hit the grill until 9:30, after the kids are in bed. You can’t do that on a whim, so make sure you plan for it. Nights like this go on our calendar.

Weekend Trips ALONE

If your relationship is still feeling drained and you both need to reconnect, it’s time for the weekend getaway. Or simply a night in a hotel where you can sleep in and order room service. Texas boasts some really great getaways at all distances and all price ranges. Sometimes no matter how many date nights we plan, what our relationship really needs is extended time together, just the 2 of us. We do a lot of weekend trips alone, and we love it!

How do you manage the hurdles of continuing to date your spouse?


Brandi is the proud Mrs. to her high school sweetheart, mother to 2 amazing little girls, Addisen and Charlotte, and a photography enthusiast. She’s a Fort Worth native who is intentional about her marriage and raising little ladies in today’s society. From a stay-at-home mom who avidly avoids housework to a lover of designer duds who shops the clearance racks, she’s a walking contradiction. Join her candid discussion on all things wife and mom at www.goscasta.com and follow her lovable wit on Twitter.


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