I adore my husband but after two kids and five years of not getting enough sleep, we aren’t as sparkly as we once were as a couple.
You know what I’m talking about. The sparkle in your relationship? The thing that makes you guys a couple. It’s not just love, because love is deep and enduring, but the joy you feel in your connection. The way you get each other. The sparkle is what makes you feel great about what you have with your love.
Well, I didn’t realise how dull our sparkle had gotten until the other day.
Here’s what happened and why I think a day date with your partner in life and parenting is far more effective in reigniting your relationship than a date night.
We got invited to lunch
A dear friend of ours turned 50 and invited us to a lunch in the city to help him celebrate with a bunch of his closest friends. Being an old friend, we felt we couldn’t refuse, even though it meant asking the grandparents to mind our little loves for most of the day. At least five hours.
At first I admit, I felt it was all a huge inconvenience. Being over an hours drive away meant this “little birthday bash” was going to take up most of our Sunday. Although I often call on my parents for babysitting, it is usually for things like doctors appointments or when I have to work outside of kindy hours. Asking them to look after the boys so we could go out and have fun, well it felt frivolous. Plus a three-course lunch wasn’t exactly in the family budget. I also think of the weekends as family time and so it felt odd having ‘us’ time away from the kids in the middle of the day.
But it was honestly the best thing we could have done for our sparkle.
We talked like we used to
As we walked to the car sans-kids we both felt a sense of exciting freedom. We didn’t have to buckle anyone into their car seats and so my husband opened the door for me. And that’s when I realised we were on a sort of date.
We stopped off down the road to grab a coffee for the drive – but we did it together because no one had to sit in the car minding kids. It was a small thing but it gave us a feeling of the old us. Of a time when we would walk to a cafe hand in hand and sit for hours, always having enough time to order a second coffee.
Then we drove into the city and after our usual business-like chats about what needed doing in our lives to keep afloat and keep going forward, something shifted. We stopped talking about all that boring adulting stuff and started talking like we used to. Without anyone in the back seat interrupting our conversation, it flowed. We laughed and talked about random stuff and felt ourselves coming together again. The sparkle was coming back.
Read more about relationships after kids:
- Dear hubby, uh-oh we’ve become more business partners than partners
- 3 ways to survive parenting – with your marriage intact
- 5 lovely ways to get your libido back after you have babies
We felt like a couple again
Then when we arrived at the quaint pub in Sydney’s trendy Darlinghurst, I noticed we were holding hands as we walked towards it – something we haven’t done in years. As we greeted everyone, it felt we were a couple again – “This is my wife, Lana” my husband said, instead of “This is Lana and Leon and Sam”. We chatted and laughed with the other adults, only two of whom had kids, so we talked about things other than our boys. Then we indulged in a gourmet lunch, that didn’t include chips to keep little people seated at the table or spilt orange juice. It was so nice!
At one point, I looked at my partner and he gave me a knowing smile. He was feeling it too.
We stayed much longer than we thought we would and when we drove home, we didn’t want our date to end. So we stopped off at a cafe and had a cheeky flat white before coming home, like old times. We didn’t order take away cups in case we had to leave and go to the playground, but sat close to each other and sipped it slowly.
It was good for another relationship too
When we got home buzzing from our day and feeling sparkly again about us, my parents were also beaming. They’d taken the boys on a bush walk and a picnic and told me how nice it was to spend a decent amount of quality time with them, instead of just babysitting ad-hoc. The boys told me how much fun they’d had too with granny and grandpa. It was good for everyone.
Day dates are where it’s at
I know lots of couples schedule date nights to keep their sparkle alive, but we never go out at night. Frankly, we are too tired and I also find these short dates aren’t long enough for us to really connect. But the day date is different. A day date means you are not tired in the first place and if you can manage to score a few hours of babysitting, they are quantity as well as quality time together. The other great thing is that the afterglow of the day date seems to last longer so you need less of them than date nights to feel reconnected.
Now our sparkle is back but when I feel it start to fade again, I’m going to try and organise another day date.