When was the last time you went out on a date night with your partner without the kids? According to a survey, parents go for about two months without having even a simple date night. The study, commissioned by Plum Organics, also reported that the younger the couple's kids, the longer couples go on without a date night.
Well, that makes sense. New parents can't think of date night when they practically have no sleep. But relationship experts say date night is one you can't ignore at this exhausting time of your life.
"You adore your baby...But, today, the only reason your family will survive is because the couple is happy," said relationship expert Esther Perel, author of the book Mating in Captivity, told Motherly. "A child enters the system, and a child needs to integrate into the system. The system needs to adapt to the fact that there is a new child, but the system doesn’t have to stop existing," she explained.
Perel stressed that moms shouldn't get offended when her partner wants to spend time with her alone — and alone time may or may not involve sex.
"Actually thank [your partner] for thinking about something that you’re not able to think about," the relationship expert advised moms. "What the other person is holding up is probably a piece that you’re not holding up, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not needed."
Psychologist and family coach John Rosemond writes in an article that if you want to raise independent and less entitled kids, you need to prioritize your relationship or marriage with your significant other. "Many if not most of the problems [parents] are having with their kids...are a result of treating their children as if they, their marriage, and their family exist because of their kids when it is, in fact, the other way around."
Rosemond believes the most important members of the family are mom and dad. "Their kids exist because of them, and their marriage and [their kids] thrive because they have created a stable family," he adds.
The first thing you and your partner have to do is make time. Stop making excuses to postpone or cancel. Put your foot down. Mom and dad need their time together without the kids. Here are some tips to make every date night — even just once every two weeks is great!
Don't feel pressured to make date night a production. It doesn't have to be grand or fancy. It could be an activity at home when the kids are in bed. Carve out time to just be focused on each other, psychologist and relationship expert Melanie Schilling told The Huffington Post.
Change things up. While watching a movie or having coffee is easy, go out of your way to explore. Try a hobby your partner loves or an activity you both haven't tried before. Going out of your comfort zone can lead you to discover something new about you or your partner.
Leave baby talk out. Try to speak less about what's up at home or with the kids. You discuss these during in-between to-do lists. Perel explains that if your partner asks "How are you?"answer truthfully and don't give a reply that discusses your baby more than yourself.
Having kids shouldn't be a free pass to neglect your partner. Having regular, genuine date night is crucial for relationship growth — and your whole family's well-being.