My Millennial Marriage:: When Did Dating Your Spouse Become Stressful?

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Welcome to part three of the My Millennial Marriage series. I’m about five days later than I wanted to be, but that’s life.

You know what’s crazy, my husband has gotten so much better at dating since we’ve been married. When I say he’s been dating, I mean dating me of course. Not only has he become more confident and so much sexier in his old age of 28, but he knows me, he knows what I like and he knows how to woo me. Even though my husband has become the master of dating me, I oddly find dating my spouse incredibly stressful.

“Dating is where two people who are attracted to each other spend time together to see if that also can stand to be around each other most of the time, if this is successful they develop a relationship, although sometimes a relationship develops anyways if the people can’t find anybody else to date them…” -Urban Dictionary

I love going on dates with my husband, but I do not believe that dates are critical for my marriage to survive. However, I do feel that alone time is without a doubt a 100% necessary.

Married Millennials with kids put so much stress and resources into planning the perfect date night, hence why I find it stressful.

  • First: You have to go through the process of finding the perfect babysitter (we pay $15 an hour for 3 kids) or get the confidence to ask a family member. Both of the options come with time restraints, avoid a nagging family member or a outrageously high babysitter tab.
  • Second: Picking a trendy place that has a Open Table reservation available. In Nashville there are a million places to pick from.
  • Third: Are you going to Uber downtown or drive? Which ultimately comes down to the questions of how much are you going to drink and does the restaurant valet?
  • Fourth: Lets get back to that trendy restaurant, I can guarantee you they will not have cocktail priced below $8. The music will be fantastic and the food will be life changing. When the check arrives, its going to be about $60 with tip. Which is fine, my husband will not complain or even mention the price but in my stay-at-home mom mind, I’m thinking that $60 is half of my weekly grocery budget. I know that not everyone lives on a tight budget, but my philosophy is that you should ALWAYS feel your money and every penny should count.
  • Fifth: You have a decision to make, do you go home or stay out? If you go home you will have a modest babysitter tab and you might catch a Uber before the surge pricing. I usually decide to stay out. We either pick a movie or go to a bar. I’m not going to bore you and price those out. Let’s just say that they are equally expensive. What I hate most about both these options, is that my quality time with my husband will involve very little talking, unless you are “one of those people” in the theater.

You have to be okay not going on dates and live in the season you are in.

My husband and I typically get one date night a month (sometimes two if it’s a birthday month). They are just too expensive and there are way too many logistics to plan out. We are also in the phase of life where nurturing and loving on our kids tops expensive food and Ubers. Ben and I would much rather have awesome experiences with our kids. When we were first dating the romance was all about the surprise gifts, hand holding, and long talks into the early morning but that season of our life is behind us and those are no longer my expectations for Ben. Being my husband means he pursues me in a different way. The romance is different now.

“Now he loves you by being faithful and bringing home his paycheck. And the way he mainly experiences romance with you is through sex”

Julie Gordon, Wife School

If a date night really is just spending time together, why do we have to spend any money at all?

Here are some quality alone time alternatives that don’t break the bank. Just remember to keep it simple and have clear expectations:

  1. Fix the kids a easy dinner and wait till they go to bed to make (or order) a candle light dinner for just the two of you.
  2. Make a fancy dessert and cocktails to have once the kids are in bed.
  3. Play a board game.
  4. Have a no TV/cell phone night.
  5. Sit outside under the stars with a glass of wine.
  6. Play your wedding song and dance to it.

These are just a few ideas to get that quality alone time at least once a week. They don’t have to take a whole lot of effort, time or money and they help fill the gap of needing the traditional date night. You will still have to hunt for this time together, the laundry will probably have to remain unfolded, but it’s worth it. What I love most about these moments of alone time are the quality conversations that can happen. You can get real and you can get deep. But caution yourself, this time does not need to lead into a disagreement, it needs to lead to truth and intimacy. Beware of chasing after your own needs. The moment you tell your husband what to do, you become his mother, and no one wants to have sex with their mother at the end of the night.

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