Monday, October 21, 2013

"Date Nights"

I have a love/hate relationship with "date nights."  It's similar to how I feel about my birthday and New Year's Eve.

Let me explain.

Side note:  I think they're important.  No doubt about it.  The reasons are obvious; especially if you have kids or extremely demanding jobs that result in scattered time together. That's not what this post is about.

It's about the pressure.  The same pressure that rolls around every late December or early October (in my case).

"So......what amazing thing do you have planned for New Years?"
" don't have anything big planned? Just hanging out with some friends at home?"
"We're celebrating New Year's with Ryan Seacrest on top of the Empire State Building while taking in a private Beyonce show to be followed by a toast at midnight with Justin Timberlake."
"You know.....just something simple that we decided to do this year."

"Soooo, it's your birthday!"
"Are you going to have a big party?"
"You're not?  You don't love big huge surprise parties that cost $700?"

And the same kind of thing happens when it comes to "date nights."
I remember one day about five years ago I was lamenting an incredibly crazy week at work to someone.  I'd worked till eight or nine each night, two of those nights had been parent teacher conferences, one was grad class that actually lasted until ten, I had a horrible cold, we'd run all over town for adoption fingerprinting, doctor's appointments, and pet vaccination paperwork, and I was beat.  This well intended individual asked what we were going to do for the weekend to re-coop.

"Honestly," I said, "I want to lay on the couch and watch mindless television and hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant in a sweatshirt and baseball hat on Saturday night."

"You guys should get away.  Drive up to Traverse City (a three hour drive), get a great room, go wine tasting (I loathe wine), and just live it up,"was the response.

Hearing her describe a weekend like that after a week like I'd had made me want to gouge my eyes out and I'd venture to say it would have been detrimental to our marriage instead of helpful.

And I've had similar responses from people when I mention we're going to go to dinner and a movie again,  that we're not going out of town for our anniversary, or that we haven't specifically gone out just the TWO of us in a month and stared longingly into each other's eyes over fondue (as if I could talk Chris into a fondue restaurant?).

And I've started to wonder where all this pressure comes from.  It's like "dates" have to all of a sudden be Pinterest worthy too.  And frankly, it's exhausting.

I repeat.
It's crucial and non-negotiable for couples to spend quality one-on-one time together.  But why do we all of a sudden have so many parameters and made up definitions of what that time must consist of in order for it to count as a "date." Even the word itself.  It's as over-used as man-cave.

I start feeling like the two of us playing backgammon (Yep. We do that.  Because we're that cool......) on the living room floor or watching a movie or just talking in the kitchen while we clean up the day isn't enough and I get this false restless feeling because I've been told we should be doing more.  Even though I'm perfectly happy doing all of the things I previously mentioned.....because it just feels like us.........I start listening to all those Pinteresters of dating and that horrible monster, comparison,  starts to creep in. And where I was once happy and content and peaceful, now I'm frustrated that we're not going to some five star restaurant and a horseback ride along the coast.  Or a hot air balloon ride.  Or a box seat at the symphony.  Or a ballroom dance.  Or......just something different than what we're comfortable doing.

So we all just need to stop.  Stop putting the pressure on.  Let people be comfortable doing what they do.

Like dinner and a movie.  We saw "Jobs" this night.  We talked about it for 45 minutes afterwards.  Dinner and a movie.  I will always stand by that as the best date option ever.    

And there was this night..... (about two months later and Chris is wearing the same shirt.....I guess the mall should be on the agenda for our next night out)......dinner downtown......and some art at an art competition in our city.

And sometimes.......a lot of times.....we choose to do this........

Because it's honestly where we're happiest.  And I'm pretty sure that's okay.  

There's a lot of reasons to go on big extravagant, knock-your-socks off nights out.  There's even more reasons to make sure you're spending time together in a way that works for you.  Even if it's simple and under-stated.  

And especially if it's authentic.  


  1. I agree with this post on so many levels. Especially the idea concerning the plight of social media: comparison. And I'm in my 20s, I'm a part of the social media generation but I think we sometimes view it without remembering that social media presents a glossified, well-crafted image of someone, not a exact representation. It celebrates the great and in doing so often leaves out the ordinary, the bad, the in between. Which is absolutely fine and great even as long as people don't compare themselves to people's Facebook personas. Because you much like a magazine model who's been touched up with photoshop can never live up to that "airbrushed" image and you will waste time trying. So if you prefer date night at home, reading by yourself on Friday nights, laughing at pinterest's over-the-top-ness, or partying every weekend, Who cares what others are doing? Do what you love.

    1. I love social media too. I think there are so many positives that come with it....but yes....we need to be objective about it. And sometimes it's good to give myself a little pep talk so I remember to do that! :) Thanks for the great comment!

  2. Haha! Totally feel this way too!!! I swear sometimes I wish someone could just take the kids away from our house so we can lay around in our pajamas all day and take naps in a quiet house. It's like when you have a "date night" there's all this pressure to have some sort of life-altering conversation or romantic moment or super amazing quality time. Not so much as a comparative thing (for me) but more of a you-better-have-fun-because-this-is-the-time-you-have-alone thing which can ruin it. I remember going out with Jeremy to this brewery on a Wednesday evening because my mom was in town and she said she would watch the kids and we were just so tired I felt like we were just staring all glassy-eyed and zoned-out.....we felt like we had to do it because we had the chance but really I think we both would have rather been just snuggling on the couch....even with my mom there. :)

    1. Word. You speak the truth lady. I've been there.

  3. “…that horrible monster, comparison…” Yes! That’s so true! I think that’s why I stay away from FB and the like. And when we compare, we tend to compare our inner lives with everyone else’s outer life. Bad idea. Ross and I are always hearing about (and seeing photos of) the long, tropical vacations that friends are taking. We don’t take vacations like that. We don’t really want to. We spend every free day we have at the lake place—in our comfies, reading books in the hammock, lounging on the water, roasting hotdogs on the fire, and now… playing with our daughter. We do what we do. And we like it that way.

    1. And's so great playing with your daughter isn't it? :)

  4. Agreed!! My husband and I do a quarterly 24 hour date. We get an overnight sites and a local hotel room. Grab yummy snacks like Brie and pâté and bread and wine and then hole up in our hotel room together. Watch movies, take long hot showers and lounge around doing nothing - but together. It's restorative and so necessary.

    1. Now that is a great idea! A night away with no pressure! Stealing that. :)

  5. My motto is don't ever apologize for the way you feel. I am definitely a home body and my friend can't understand why I don't travel to exotic places on vacation and pop up to NYC for the weekend. It's just not my cup of tea. I would rather stay home, spend time with my hubby and fur-babies, and work in the yard or chill on the couch. I am tired of having to defend the way I want to spend my time!

  6. Hi Maggie! I loved this post! My husband and I also enjoy low-key date nights.
    I nominated you for The Sunshine Award on my blog. Stop by and check it out!

  7. HA! My aunt just this morning said "What would I have to do to get you guys to go away for a weekend?" (So she could watch Baby Girl). I didn't respond. Nothing- I have no interest. I like my bed and I love my family. A night in watching Red Box movies is date night enough for me. I run around too much in my "real life" that quiet time is what I need- not packing for, and planning a weekend away. Also the financial stress makes me not enjoy evenings out. We run a tight financial ship to allow me to not work full time.

    I also I cherish DH and my runs together (baby girl is in the stroller, but entertained by the world around her) and DH and I get to just talk!


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