My husband is wonderful. I love him to the moon and back and know without a shadow of a doubt that he feels the same about me, our relationship isn’t always exactly what you could describe as thrilling. Being married to the same person for nearly 10 years and having three kids under the age of five is kind of a recipe for monotony.
We are in a season of life that requires routine and order and dependability. We are deep in the trenches of doing everything for three tiny (and very needy) people. There are butts to be wiped and dishes to be washed and 87 snacks and meals to be made every day. There are lawns to be mowed and leaky faucets to be fixed and seemingly endless grocery store trips. There are middle of the night wake-ups (so many wake-ups) and laundry piled to the ceiling pretty much all the time. To be honest, a good chunk of our days are spent in survival mode.
He goes to work all day and I am at home with the kids. Most days when he gets home, we spend the next two hours shuffling the kids through the various stations of evening routine – dinner, pajamas, teeth brushing, book reading, etc., etc… – and then collapsing on the couch to zone out to Netflix with a good adult beverage. Our routine keeps all the wheels of this finely tuned family machine running steady, but it doesn’t exactly leave any room for romance or excitement. It’s easy to get stuck in the ho hum or daily life and simply become really excellent roommates with the person you were once completely and nauseatingly obsessed with.
Over the course of our 10 years of marriage and babies and just life, I’ve come to realize that there is one simple thing that breaks us out of a relationship rut better than anything else: “The Tuesday Night Date”. This realization came about when during a particularly rough spell, we really needed a night out. Typically we would go on a date on a Friday night or weekend, but Tuesday happened to be the day that worked best for our sitter, so Tuesday it was.
At first it felt a little weird to be doing something outside our typical routine, but it was also exciting to break the routine even in the smallest of ways. It felt as though we had been walking along in zombie mode, when suddenly we were jolted awake. As 30-somethings with kids and a mortgage, we were suddenly reminded of our dating days when we were young and care-free and would take spontaneous road trips to the beach at midnight on a whim.
When you’ve been together as long as we have there is very little novelty left. My husband knows all of my stories and I know all of his. Some of the quirks that were once new and endearing are expected and at times even a little annoying. So, even though our Tuesday date night still required planning and forethought, the fact that it was something novel made it feel extra special.
Since then random, mid-week date nights have kind of become our jam (bonus points if you plan it last minute and not weeks in advance). But, the novelty can honestly be anything. Sometimes it’s me inviting him out for a night cap on the back patio after the kids are in bed or him bringing home flowers. It could be taking a break from the chaos of children for five minutes when he gets home from work so we can lock ourselves in our room and chat for a bit or maybe swiping on a little red lipstick on a random week day. Truly, anything novel can work wonders to inject a little life back into our relationship – it doesn’t have to be earth shattering, just something that says: “I notice you. You are important. I still like you.”
So, if you’ve found yourself in a bit of a rut recently, I highly recommend you try out the magic of novelty and maybe have yourself a mid-week date – even if it’s just something small once the kids are in bed. You never know what could happen!