We always hear how couples divorce or split up after their children have left the proverbial nest and everyone is left wondering what happened. How after 25 years could they not make it work? Why did they wait until the kids left home? Many of these divorced couples will say that after the kids are gone, they felt like they were living with strangers.
When I was about 6 months pregnant, I have to say I wondered how we would adjust to being parents after having a wonderful dating life. We dated long distance for 2 years before we moved in together and our daughter was born 2 months after that. We had 60 days to adjust to being a live-in couple. I thought for sure that we would struggle to give up all that we had to be parents. After all, we led rather carefree lives. We did what we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted and with whom. How would a baby fit into the mix. Clearly these thoughts at 6 months came a little late as there was no way of turning back but the anxiety was mounting. Call it pre-baby jitters. I told Hubby that I thought that we would struggle with being a couple with a child. However, when the Princess arrived, the complete opposite happened. We adjusted fantastically to being parents, but we also began to disconnect as a couple. He worked full-time bringing home the bacon and I was up all day and night with a newborn. Neither of us had the energy for each other. We spent whatever free time, money and energy on Princess and doing “family” things, but never “couple” things. There were the typical arguments “Do you know what happened in this house today?!?” and “I have been working for the last 5 days, I’m too tired for this.” Hey, arguments happen, we’ve all been frustrated, tired and at our very wits end, but we didn’t like what was happening between us.
We came up with a weekly “date night.” We arranged that every Thursday, after Princess was snuggled into bed, we would do something nice for each other and alternate each we. So one week I would do something nice for him and the next week, he’d do something for me. It didn’t have to involve money. We didn’t even have to go out. But to take the time, to show some appreciation, care, and intimacy to one another helped lessen the tensions. For example, he would run me a bubble bath and light a million candles. The next week, if there was a hockey game on, I would make munchie foods like bruschetta, nachos and buy some beer and we would watch the game together and I even wore his favourite team’s hockey jersey. He knows I love romance and I know he loves hockey. We took what we knew of each other and used that to make each other feel special. Eventually, these once a week date nights turned into more than once a week. We both love to cook, so we would find recipes we liked and made them. We still found time to be a family and a couple and it has spared the tension.
Now that our daughter is older and we feel more comfortable leaving her with friends a family, we have decided to go out once a month, alternating each month like each week to get more out of date night. Last Saturday it was my turn to do something nice, so I took Hubby for an authentic seafood dinner. I’m not partial to it myself, but he loves it. I took him to Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill. I was even blown away by the freshness and deliciousness of the food. It was so good that Hubby wants to go back. I know that I am young and have only been in a relationship for 6 years, but I take it very seriously. I truly want to us to grow old together and that requires work everyday. While there is a lot more to being in a relationship than dates, but I think setting time for one another and keeping that connection will help more than hinder.