How to Date Your Significant Other

By Meredith Hettler, MS and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Southbury, CT February 6, 2019

When you have kids, your life changes. We all know that. Before kids, you probably enjoyed taking spur-of-the-moment trips or relaxing during Sunday brunch. You had the freedom of eating a piece of chocolate without sharing and you sang your heart out to Beyoncé instead of "Old McDonald" while driving in the car. 

Before children, you also enjoyed plenty of date nights with your significant other. If you are anything like me, you probably took those date nights for granted. 

Many parents find themselves missing the days of date nights, date days, and time with their partner. Between playdates, soccer games, diapers, and story times, the thought of a five-minute conversation — let alone a date night — feels practically impossible. 

Well, it's not. With a little creativity and some planning, you can date your significant other again. Here are a few tips that I've learned along the way. 

Break the Routine
During the first few years of parenthood, my husband and I had the same nightly routine. Once our daughter went to bed, we sat down on the couch and watched TV. While we still do that a few nights each week (I mean, I can't just ignore This Is Us), we also try to mix it up and make little dates around our house. 

For example, we may play a board game or work on a house project together. During the summer, we sit outside and watch the stars. We've even started new hobbies together. Overall, we try to vary what we do during the few precious hours we have together. It creates a new dialogue and gets us out of the everyday routine.

Do Something Small, but Special
Because alone time with your partner is often limited, it's important to find other ways to acknowledge them and show a little affection. Try leaving a nice note in their work bag or offer to take on one of the chores they normally do. Call or text them unexpectedly just to say "hi" or tell them that you love them. Make their favorite dinner or pick up a tiny gift next time you're out shopping. 

The opportunities are endless and it doesn't have to be a grand gesture. Just something to show them that you appreciate them. 

Make Time to Talk
Now, when I say talk, I don't mean about the kids. Talk about your hopes, your dreams, the weather, your clothes. Tell a joke, ask a question. Learn something about your partner that you didn't already know. Spend just a little bit of time each day engaging in the type of conversation you had when Friday and Saturday date nights were routine. Just because it's not over candles and a fancy dinner doesn't mean the conversation has to end!

Give Compliments/Take Compliments
I can easily spend all of my waking hours telling anyone who will listen about how my children are gifted and the most beautiful angels to ever grace the planet. On the flip side, there is a good chance that I won't notice my husband's new haircut, hard work, or anything else he is doing. 

Make the effort to acknowledge what you love about your partner. Tell them when they're looking good or rocked it at work. Let them know you like their hair/shirt/hat etc. Let them know you are proud of them and love who they are. 

When they compliment you, try to say "thank you." You deserve that compliment, even if you don't think you do! 

Get Out and Go on a Date!
Call the grandparents or get a babysitter. Swap child care duties with another couple you know. Find someone to watch the kids and get out. Get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant or see a movie. Sometimes it feels practically impossible to coordinate a date night, but it's worth it. 

I once asked my mother to drive two hours to our house so my husband and I could go to a meditation class and out to dinner. My mother actually agreed (Love you, Mom!) and it was one of the best nights we've ever had! We relaxed, laughed, and talked like we hadn't in years. I didn't realize how needed this time was until we actually had it at our fingertips!