Being married is hard work, especially if one or both of you are working long hours, leaving for TDYs or deployments, or taking care of kids. You always hear the advice to have regular date nights. That sounds blissful, doesn’t it? But how can you make it happen?
Date nights take time, money, and babysitting! I can’t help you with the time, but I can help with the other two.
First, the childcare. It seems like this is the hardest part for many of us. Babysitters are expensive, if you can even find one. If you can’t afford a babysitter, or you can’t find one, you’ll have to get creative. Check with friends, neighbors or other parents from your playgroup or daycare. Maybe they would be willing to watch your children occasionally, or swap babysitting with you. (Swapping is hard work, but worth it for that child-free time.) The internet has opened up a whole chunk of ways to hook up with other parents. Also, be sure to check with your base to see if the chapel or youth services offer any programs, and also check with your church. Some family-friendly churches offer free or affordable childcare once a month or once a quarter. Don’t underestimate a stay-at-home mom or young person who might be willing to watch your kids for a reasonable cost.
Childcare solves (or if you don’t have kids.) Chrissy Stockton at ThoughtCatalogue has a lot of suggestions in 50 Fun, Cheap Dates (That Aren’t Netflix). A couple of things I’d add:
- go to a high school sports event,
- look for dance classes on post,
- get take-out (a treat, I know) and have it at the park, the beach, or your front porch,
- buy a few cheap sponges at the dollar store, get a bucket of water, and have a wet sponge fight,
- go look at model homes and dream about your future.
Date night doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly expensive, but it takes some effort and ingenuity to make it happen without breaking the bank.
Share your super-suggestions in the comments; I know you have creative ideas.