Making Date Nights

I told a friend recently that Jonny and I have a “date night” pretty much every single night.  It’s getting a little more challenging as our older boys are wanting to stay up later and later, but we tell them, “We love you, we love to spend time with you, but now it’s time for us to be alone.  Go to bed.”  Jonny and I rarely go out on an official date without any children.  There are simply aspects of our family dynamics that make the whole dating thing difficult, and at times, it has been downright impossible.  We’ve been married nearly fifteen years though, and have figured out how to make things work, how to take care of our marriage without leaving the kids and the house behind regularly.  We honestly enjoy sitting up late together after our kids are in bed, in our own house, more than we do going through finding a babysitter for our crew, and then doing the whole go out and eat and spend money, and then come home and pay the babysitter, more money…  (Although I’m not knocking getting out alone-sometimes that’s what you need, and some people need that more than others.) Instead, we have found ways to “date” at home.  Over the years we have taken up hobbies together, and we have found others that we can share separately, but side by side.  Our honeybees are a perfect example.  I know I’ve written here before that those rather expensive insects are one of the best investments we ever made in our relationship.

Wanting to share my passion for knitting, Jonny learned himself, and has even Yarned Along.  I don’t dare touch his power tools though; I’d lose a finger or worse.  Ultimately, we’ve found that he’s happier building or making things out of wood, and I am happy to sit nearby with my knitting.  We can talk while we do what makes us each happy.  Sometimes we do watch shows that we both like, but more often we are working on our projects and talking.  There’s always plenty to talk about.  Sitting up watching a screen together isn’t quite the same, so we don’t make that an every night habit.

This week Jonny assembled and painted beehives, and I worked on a couple of baby knits.  My little fuzzy green alpaca Baby Vertebrae sweater is finished, and so is my Small Things Romper, complete with beautiful tree of life clay buttons that were a birthday gift to me last year from my friend, Sarah.  And Jonny, he has a pretty blue hive ready for bees.  We like our “date nights.”

Comments

  1. oh my heart, the buttons are perfect with that adorable jumper! I can’t wait to see it on the new baby. Prayers for you during your difficult time. Call me when you get a chance!

  2. Love this post! We’re the same way–we like to hang out together in the evenings after the kiddos get into bed. My husband is really great about scheduling date nights away from the house, too–I just have to find a babysitter. 🙂

  3. My husband and I have “date night” every Sunday night! We feed the kids at their regular time, get the youngest off to bed at his bedtime and the older three go do something either in their rooms or in the basement. Then we enjoy a dinner for two, usually with a good show or a movie and get to have some “alone” time, without having to leave the house or spend a lot of money. We have been married for almost 25 years and have been “dating” for at least the last 10 or so…great habit!

  4. I think Em Em enjoys your date nights too!

  5. making time to be together in any way is important. We spend time together and like you I knit while he does his thing. My craft is quiet and his can be noisy-listening to music, playing video games. I am also lucky when we adventure to other towns he loves to drive (read that as I get to knit!!!).

  6. This sounds so much like us. 🙂 We’ve been married for 16 years now (just celebrated our anniversary last week) and have five children 6-14 at home (and one coming in a couple months). We have no babysitting available so we enjoy our evenings together. My husband will work on one of his innumerable projects and I’ll knit or crochet or sew. We never run out of things to talk about. It would be nice to get out more, but I treasure the time we get to spend together.

  7. The beehive is spectacular! I wonder if the bees will think they are in a giant blueberry! 🙂

    I love your version of date night, it sounds great! My husband and I like to play Scrabble. We don’t have kids, so we have definitely go out too, but my favorite is when we stay home talking to each other.

    Will you stop it with those adorable pictures of Em-Em?! I’m going to buy a kitten soon and my husband won’t be pleased-neither will the dog!

  8. Your knitting is incredible! What a blessed baby you will welcome into the world!

  9. We live in a location that is hard to find a babysitter too – not impossible but harder than it used to be! We usually have a favorite show that we watch an episode of while I knit, but my favorite nights are when we are planning the garden together in the winter or spending time praying or reading aloud together, something I think I may ask that we do more of because as much as I enjoy watching and discussing a show with him, I still don’t feel as “full” as when we have had good conversation while working on our individual or together projects. thanks for the encouragement; we are missing our dates but don’t see many of date night-outs coming our way soon…

  10. My husband and I do stay-at-home dates more often than not. They tend to get thrown by the wayside during 1st trimester of each pregnancy due to sheer exhaustion, but as soon as 2nd trimester hits we are back to our normal routine.

  11. What kind of pillow is that pretty pink one? Pregnancy or body?

  12. My husband and I have been married 15 years as well (we just celebrated our anniversary earlier this month) and can you believe that we’ve never hired a baby sitter? Yes, that does mean that we hardly ever go out san kids but that is inconsequential to us. We, like you, just make the most of late evenings. Once a year, usually around the time of our anniversary, we do find ourselves alone in our house for a few days while the kids are at my parents and I must say, it’s nice…really nice; though we still choose to stick around the homestead. I’ve alway’s loved that feeling of a summer evening, puttering around the house, making a dinner of OUR choosing, windows wide open, hearing my husband mow the lawn or work in the garden and savoring the anticipation of a true evening to ourselves. Do you two ever get a chance to be in your home alone?

  13. inspiring post… thank you, Ginny!

  14. Ginny,
    Those sound like the perfect kind of date nights. 🙂

    Love,
    Taryn

  15. Ginny, fantastic knits! And your kitty is so adorable. I love that you and Jonny have figured out what works for you. After 18 years together James and I are starting over with Connor now a part of our lives. We still haven’t found a new date night solution that works for both of us but we keep trying!

  16. We do the same. I find now that there really aren’t any other options now we live away from family and have found no one to watch our children since moving to our new town. Not that we mind. Like you mentioned it’s expensive to go out and that money can be spent on other things. It’s nice to know that we aren’t the only couple that doesn’t regularly go out 🙂

  17. My husband and I have this(almost) nightly practice as well. We have gone out alone too, but honestly really just enjoy our quiet time together at home after everyone is asleep. I love that green romper!

  18. Emily T. says:

    Thanks for the reminder of a “date night” at home!

    Oh and the new blue hive.. gorgeous!!

  19. This is such a sweet post! I wish I had understood this when mine were little. This is exactly the happy, peaceful place we have come to, and I love it. Oh, goodness those are the sweetest baby knits! Everything about them turned out beautifully! And that green yarn…it is the most serene, calm, peaceful yarn. 🙂

  20. My husband and I have been working so hard on rebuilding (or perhaps building where there was previously no base) – and yes, time together is so important. We have started walking (20 minute) after lunch on Mon, Wed., Fri and then we pick one or two nights a week where we announce to the children that it is a “date night” and they need to be in their beds after a certain time – we sometimes just sit and talk and other times watch a movie.
    Thanks for sharing.

  21. My husband has been working at home for the past 14 years out of our 26 years of marriage, so we are pretty much together 24/7 now. When the kids were young we rarely went out alone, but I didn’t miss it. Once our eldest daughter was 16 we felt more comfortable going out occasionally – maybe for our anniversary. Last year, for our 25th we took the plunge and went away for a whole weekend! It was relaxing and enjoyable not so much because we were away from the kids, but because we were away from household stuff. We’re always working on some project – either together or separately at home, so it was good to do something else besides worry about plumbing or the garden. My daughter was 21 by then and she took care of everything at home beautifully. Since then, we’ve gone out by ourselves at least once a month. Our favorite is to go to breakfast at the local greasy spoon (actually, they have terrific biscuits and gravy), pop in at some thrift and antique stores afterwards and finish with coffee and pastry at the German bakery. It’s all within walking distance and it’s a nice, slow, easy morning. There’s a proper time for everything and it seems like we’ve had a natural progression to where we are now.

  22. I related so much to this post. We have two small children and, since the second one was born in February, have not gone out without bringing one of the two. When the little one was first birth, my mother-in-law offered to take her when she was a week old so that we could get out. My little baby, I couldn’t bear to leave her! My husband and I spend our evenings working and crafting at our dining room table, a candle between us. It’s calm and peaceful, our perfect “date nights.” Glad to hear that you do something similar.

    I’m thinking of knitting a sweater for my daughter, and your Ravelry page is such an inspiration. Thank you!

  23. I really love this post, Ginny– And have to comment on it (even though I read your blog regularly and have never commented before). We do the same thing in our home regarding “date night”. My husband and I have been married for only 5 years now and we have a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old and I am expecting a third baby in September–and presently we live in Germany, far from family and friends and in a location that is nearly impossible to find any kind of babysitter, let alone someone I would ever even leave my little ones with (if they were even ready for that, which they are not). So many of our dates are actually driving dates– We drive along the Rhein River or through the Taunus Mountains and our two children nearly always fall asleep in the back while we talk about about all kinds of things, hold hands, admire our surroundings and usually stop (for me) at a McCafe drive-through for a Latte Macchiato or a Cappucino (European McCafe’s are actually quite nice!). Otherwise, we have the evenings to ourselves once children are asleep, and we do the same as you and Jonny do at home together– Whatever interests us separately, together. I really have had a hard time with having to ‘defend’ our ‘non-out-of-the-house-dating’ to so many people when in the end it is what we really prefer– You are the first to echo my sentiments and I really appreciate it! Thanks again for this post. 🙂

  24. We do date nights “in” every night, too…and we love it! Being farther away from family and not having the money to hire a baby sitter – and the fact that we’re both pretty introverted and would rather be home, anyway – has made our nightly dates a perfect fit for us right now. We both look forward to them!

  25. This month I will celebrate my 31st wedding anniversary and in all these years my favorite dates have been the ones at home after the babies are asleep. It’s so important for a marriage to have these special moments and I am so happy for you and for Jonny that you are making memories.

  26. It kind of reminds us of our date nights around here. We don’t know many people where we live and we’re not crazy about the going rates for babysitters. So, after Little Man is in bed, Husband and I stay up and talk and do whatever and it works for us. Once in awhile, we’d like to get out alone but we’ll wait until he’s a bit older…

  27. My husband has never gotten home from work early enough for us to have evenings together, so now he plans days to take off early and we get a babysitter. It’s so great, like dating before we were married, going out for drinks or dinner. It is nice to be able to connect outside of family life sometimes.

  28. Nahuatl Vargas says:

    Sounds great, and both projects turned out beautiful.

  29. This is great! I’m starting to brainstorm some ideas for when Joe gets back (sometime later this fall)… On the one hand it is will be amazing to have him back, but such a massive change in everyones routine needs careful planning, even if it is a really good change. The “habit” of hanging out and talking is one we want to build back up quickly and deliberately…I’m thinking of starting a special shelf or drawer or something like that. With recipes I want to share with him, movies he has missed, games (with all of the pieces)…that sort of thing. In short I loved this post and it has my brain going!! xoxo Mackenzie

  30. We try to do a traditional date at least once every few months, but sneak in a lot of dates like this too. It’s so cozy!

  31. Sounds like you’ve got something very important figured out.

  32. I made that Small Things Romper last year, and though about you!

  33. PS: Love those buttons!

  34. We also only go “out” for a date a couple times a year. We went out last night for our anniversary and it *was* fun, but not a necessity.

    We often used to sit up together and fold laundry. These days, our kids fold most of the laundry. Often, we find ourselves just sitting in the living room talking without doing anything! We both enjoy adult beverages, so sometimes it’s just chatting over drinks. It’s one thing that was hard when he was teaching—especially during marching season—not just the LONG hours away from home, and the ceaseless grading, but the fact that he was often much too tired to stay up even a little while with me after the children were in bed. (He’s not a real night owl, anyway, so getting him to stay up past about 11 is rare anyway).

    Still, I agree that finding ways to work on your relationship that are creative and fresh and don’t always require going places and spending money is just vital. I am much happier in my relationship today than I was 10 years ago, even though we had more opportunities to go “out” then.

  35. We used to do things like this more often. Thank you Ginny for the reminder!

  36. I love this. My husband and I were talking about date nights last night. The last one out of the house was almost a year and a half ago and it surprised me. But we stay up late when the kids go to sleep and do what you two do, either just talk, do something together, or do our own seperate things side by side. It doesn’t feel like we are missing out on anything!

  37. That romper is just the most darling thing ever. Makes me ponder re-learning to knit even more….
    My husband and I do similar dates, only trouble is we don’t know what to talk about as we do things separately/together. Even when we were dating we didn’t overly talk a lot, which was a plus at times, but the longer we are married (8 years this year) the more we realize we need to up the communication, old habits are proving hard to break. We are both great at listening when the other does have something to say though!

  38. Very cool! We’re more the stay in for a date types, too. It’s a lot less work most of the time. 🙂

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