Friday, March 30, 2007

More About Dating Your Spouse

Another weekend is nearly here and that means I get to go out on another date. And yes, I still mean a date with my wife.

Dating your spouse definitely has its advantages. For example, while picking out a restaurant, you pretty much know how a "genre" of food is going to go over. The level of "polite" in a ten year old marriage pretty much guarantees that no one is going to keep quiet while pulling into the parking lot of a lame choice. For example, if you suffered a blow to the head and followed it up by picking "Billy Bob's Barbequed Beans Emporium" for your romantic night out, that mistake will be corrected much earlier than when the waiter drops by and asks if everything tastes okay.

The level of hygiene and grooming required for a date with your spouse is also a little different. Yes, you should try to look nice for your spouse. I'm not saying you can be a slob, but if you have a little funk from playing hide and seek with your youngin' before your date, it's still going to be okay, so long as you let your wife sit upwind. Ladies, you probably don't have to worry about shaving your legs either. Remember when you were eight months pregnant and couldn't bend over enough to shave? Yeah, we remember that time too, and it wasn't an issue then, so it's not an issue now.

And, unless you really do something stupid, you are pretty much guaranteed that you'll get to sleep with your date. Maybe not sleep together sleep together, but there will probably be room for you in the bed and maybe a little cuddling. If you play your cards right, who knows? Maybe you might want to shave your legs after all or shower off some of that funk.

Of course, nothing in life is perfect and so even with all of the advantages of dating your spouse, its not exactly a picnic. For one, there's no getting out of a date, if you don't feel up to it. You can't call and say, with that dramatic voice you use when you call into the office, "I think I picked up this bug at work and I'm just not feeling up to going out." Your wife can see you, sitting there in your underwear, playing Xbox. She knows you feel just fine and you'd rather spend your time with the Master Chief than her.

And then there is the problem of what to do. When you're dating, you'll do anything with that special someone and it'll still be fun. You want me to help you with your taxes? Awesome! Clean your cat's litter box? I'll be right over! When you're married, spending time together is still fun, but an evening out sort of has to be special, since they're so few and far between. There is nothing more painful than setting up a sitter, washing off the funk, and spending $40 to go to a movie, only to realize that you could have had just as lousy of a time at home with your DVD player and the couch, all with half the effort and none of the money.

Our biggest problem, I think, is that we're out of practice. We've been dedicated, hands-on parents for two years and we've kind of lost touch with what we found fun, as a couple. When we were childless "dating" just sort of happened, but now that we're parents, it... has... to... count... every... dang... time. Dates are about as rare as leprechauns and three times as valuable. There's pressure in a date, not necessarily pressure to impress her enough that maybe you'll be invited back for another date, but there's another kind of tension. There is the pressure to find a way to sit across the table from your spouse while the waiter gets you more bread, and see the woman who fascinated you for so long, not the mom who just suddenly appeared one day in her place. It's not that I don't like the mom, I do, but I also want to hear stories from the woman who, despite being a mom, is still trying to paint and be creative and maybe even read a book.

So, what do you do? My wife and I used to be huge movie buffs, but our various excursions to the theater have been lackluster. Even when the movie has been good, the experience of going has been kind of blah. We used to love to ski, but we just can't imagine putting anyone through a full day with Chunk. That leaves things like museums, dinner, and maybe the theater. Museums are fun, but Denver is slow to change, so their novelty wears off quickly when you just keep seeing the same things over and over. Dinner is nice. I like to eat, but again, novelty is a fleeting thing. And, as much as we both want to go to the theater, throwing tickets into the kind of planning required to secure a sitter, just seems like too much for us right now.

Internet, what do you recommend? I've read your blog posts, so I know you're far more creative than I am. If you had the chance for a hot date with a person you adored, what would you do to make it a rousing success? The less you have to plan ahead, the better. Leave your suggestions in the comments! Who knows... if your suggestion works, you might even get a special prize.

Coming up next... Denver Dad answers some real questions! And, I finally respond to a meme that Maria at Just Eat Your Cupcake hit me with weeks ago!


Maria said...

Let's see...a date. Well, now. I think I remember how to do that. Is it left foot here and then you sort of spin on the back heel of the right?

No? Hmm..Good hell. I used to be able to do that dance with finesse.

I also used to wear high heels and silky dresses. Now, we count sitting outside on the back porch for ten minutes by ourselves as a date.

Chunk is a little sprout. Liv is nearly eight. The end is not in sight, Denver man. :(

Lainey-Paney said...

Dating ideas...

museums (hey, I've never been to Denver...I'd probably enjoy them.)

dinner (try new restaurants)

dancing (some places here have free or low-cost lessons before a dance club salsa dancing or swing dancing) touched on this...


lattes & a book store. Rediscover that love of reading with a night out at a book store to load up on books...or each pick one. something to respark that passion!

So she likes (or...used to like) to paint? How are her supplies? Treat her to a little mini-spree at an art supply store. The focus will be on her, again resparking that passion, and when women are showered with that much attention, they usually shower you back!

Once...for fun, my husband took me to this market that sold all kinds of asian cooking foods & dishes...then he made shrimp & this wonderful ginger sauce for me. It was a fun date. I went into a store I never knew existed, and got a great meal in the end. Maybe pay for the sitter while you're shopping, and then come home & have a late dinner when he's asleep.

If all else date. Get together with some friends that you don't see often...go out like you used to do without the kids.
I LOVE DOING THIS. Hanging out in a GROUP of GROWN UPS. Holy Cow, it's fun!

Sarah O. said...

Mr. Lemon and I have been married for almost 21 years. And we knew each other for 8 years before that. My GOD.

I guess we're beyond the point of the kind of date we had a gazillion years ago, before we (1) added hours of child care to our daily chores and (2) got middle aged.

Does that mean we still don't have a good time even if wild drunken, er, activites ensue? Well, I can't speak for Mr. Lemon. But I'm just fine with a date however it ends.

That's probably not what you wanted to hear, is it?

Mitch McDad said...

We do this very unusual routine on our rare date nights. We go to this thing called the Movies. Or we go out to dinner. Or we do both if we're feeling crazy.

How sad. Is there nothing else to do?

Though, tomorrow night, we're actually going out to dinner with 3 other couples. That should be fun. Maybe some wife swapping will break out.

Dad Stuff said...

We agree that dinner and a movie doesn't stimulate as much as it used to.
However, we have always enjoyed seeing live theatre. Whether it's a professional production, dinner theatre or a high school play, we always seem to remember it as special.
Just something a 'little' different for us.

Clever Parents said...

Dating your spouse does seem to become more difficult in terms of keeping it 'fresh' ... especially after kids.

One thing that we like to do when we can is go to a local restaurant for a 'cooking class.' Actually, it's not really a cooking class. The owner of a favorite restaurant of ours demonstrates how to prepare a four course meal while we watch on with several others couples, drink wine, ask questions and chat. At the end, you've learned some new tips (that you may or may not try at home), had a fabulous meal and enjoyed one another's company.

Vantui said...

One thing my husband does for me (and almost always get the sleep together sleep together (are you guys out there listening?) Goes to the store, picks up some fruit like strawberries or apples and some caramel or chocolate dip (or both)...prepares them for us and we rent a movie or watch a long time favorite. This can all be done of course after dinner or you can make dinner yourself for her or order take out. Nothing feels better to a woman than NOT haveing to take care of the details. Yes, hubby admits to having to plan this stuff a week ahead of time...but's worth it in the end, right?

Papa Bradstein said...

I still go with Mama's suggestion: get a babysitter, lull them with dinner and funny stories about the baby, put on coats and hats, close and lock door behind you, and then run like hell as fast as you can. Eventually, you'll come to something worth stopping for.

mo-wo said...

I love this post. Has Metro commented... ??? yeeett?...

He so ripped you off.

ps.. I got the perfect post button code, email me at for the text. Sorry I had to heist it from Mary.. didn't get it before.

Denver Dad said...

Wow! Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions, everyone! I feel like I owe you all an update, but you'd be disappointed. We just went to see a movie (that supernatural thriller with Sandra Bullock), picked up Chunk, and called it a night. Yeah, I know. FUN!

I have to admit, I was a little saddened by some of the comments, as some of you made it sound pretty bleak, but at the same time, I was grateful that Denver Mom and I weren't the only people out there who are lousy at dating while being parents.

Sarah O, Dad Stuff, Clever Parents, and Vantui... thanks for dropping in! I appreciate all the readers that wander in here, so welcome!

The rest of you, thanks for continuing to read! You're all as great as BLTs!

Henitsirk said...

OK, I'm a little late here, but I just finally realized that my friend Papa Bradstein was actually linking to...gasp!...a great blog I hadn't read before!!! The gasp comes because I have to limit myself to about 5 blogs per day so that I actually go to bed before midnight and don't try to kill my children in a state of sleep deprivation. So I'm a little short on new blogs.

Anyway, this post caught my eye because we are always amazed by the sad realization that we can't think of anything fun to do on the rare occasions that we can go on a date. It's been so long since I've seen an actual big-screen movie that those now have some novelty again.

Usually we end up at Barnes and Noble, sitting together or not, reading and really not interacting. Doesn't seem to be a date like they were back in college, but then it is time to read without 1) listening for the sounds of waking toddlers or 2) feeling guilty that I should be doing some work instead of lounging about reading novels.

Denver Dad said...

Thanks for dropping in Henitsirk, I hope you'll come back!

It is kind of sad that we sort of lose our abilities to have fun once we become parents. Maybe it's harder to unwind from "parent mode" and really relax enough to have fun. I don't know why that is, but from all of the comments posted here, it sounds like you and I aren't the only ones that struggle with this.

We've been trying to find some things to do as a family that are fun. Maybe I'll post that in a new post!

Anonymous said...

10 yrs married, two kids, house job . . . just started the dating thing again because of our distance from each other and that's what the therapist recommended! I've been pleading for date nights with my wife so to get her to leave the kids for the evening is a great change for me and us hopefully.


1) Bowling - Not on Wii! Somewhat cheap, beer, and you get to laugh at the pro's. Fun twist go to outlet store and get bowling outfits, iron on bowling names like 'Bubba' and 'Rose'.

2) Movie Night twist. Kids are in bed, babysitter over. Drive around the block and return home. Go to back yard where you have a projector setup. (Borrow from work or friends or rent) Blanket with pillows, bottle of wine . . . you get the idea.

3) Convince you spouse to have a 'Doctor's Appointment' scheduled for a weekday during the morning. Gets them out of work for 1/2 day and go enjoy breakfast together before work.

4) Local wine tasting groups are fun. Even if you're not a fan of wine it's alcohol and that always seems to loosen up my wife.

5) Look for local cooking classes you can take together.

6) Date evening at the gym. They often have child care as an option or gyms are usually open late. Make sure you both work-out together. Put a work-out plan together that centers around her not you. 'No bench presses!' You'll feel better, she'll feel and look better.

7) Late nigh picnic under the stars. Wine, cheese, borrowed telescope or buy a cheap one on craigslist and then resell it once the novelty is gone. Buy a book of constellations and see who can find the most. Winner gets favor of their choice, preferably in bed.

8) Join Habitat For Humanity and get involved together on a local project.

9) Sign up for a 1 mile, 3k or 5k road race and then train together as your goal to finish the race together.

10) Day or evening at the track. Horse racing or dog racing, place a few bets, not even for money (see #7) if money is tight.

11) Spa day/evening, I know, I know I hate thinking about getting a mani or a pedi or a facial but for some reason women love it and its about them not you. Bite the bullet and setup a couples day with a local establishment and get prepared to wear a silly white robe.

That's it for now, good luck!