Having regular date nights is important. Research has shown that devoting two hours a week to dates is part of having a strong, healthy relationship. While most people would probably agree that enjoying regular dates with your spouse would lead to a stronger relationship, it can still be hard to prioritize that time. What’s more, it can be hard to afford regular date nights.
While some date activities can be free (taking a walk together) or thrifty (packing a picnic), the cost of typical date activities like going out to eat or going to a movie adds up. If you factor in paying for a babysitter on top of this, I can see why some people just simply can’t make regular date nights a reality. This is why I absolutely love the date night swapping system my husband and I have with some of our friends.
For our date night swaps, we’ve picked a day of the week, and every week we trade off either being the couple that goes on the date or being the one to “babysit.” I put babysit in quotes here because it’s actually the most low-maintenance form of babysitting that could ever exist. The couple going on a date has already put their kids to bed. Whoever the babysitter is just sits at the other couple’s house watching TV while their kids sleep. The babysitter’s spouse stays home with their own kids.
While this might mean our dinners are later during our date nights, that seems like a small trade-off to me. Sometimes, we’ll eat dinner with the kids like usual and then do an activity like mini golf or a movie during our date night time instead. We’ve also done pretty casual things like going on walks, wandering around Target, or doing our Christmas shopping, but the fact that we can do this without kids makes them fun for us.
I love date night swapping because it helps make dates more affordable when you’re not paying for a babysitter on top of the date itself. It’s no extra work because the “babysitter” is not responsible for dinner or bedtime. It’s easy to set up and coordinate. And, importantly, it helps our dates occur regularly since we know every other week is our turn for a date. Honestly, the most challenging part might be finding another couple whose kids go to bed around the same time as your kids.
If cost and scheduling are major roadblocks to having regular date nights, consider finding a couple or two who would be willing to trade off date nights with you. And there’s no shame at all if the date ends with a quick stop to grab your Target pick-up order.