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The Importance of New Parents Having Date Nights

by Zora Hughes, studioD

As a new parent, your world is so much about feeding, diapering and fussing over your new little angel that time with your spouse or partner takes a back seat. However, staying connected to your spouse is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. Plan regular date nights for just the two of you -- sans baby -- to keep your sanity and strengthen your relationship.

The Communication Factor

With you and your spouse being so focused on your new bundle of joy, it can be hard to find time to focus on the two of you as a couple. Small disagreements can become major ones if you haven't taken the time to talk and know where the other stands. According to the report "The Date Night Opportunity," by the National Marriage Project, date night gives couples the chance to reinforce mutual beliefs, address any changing viewpoints and offer support to each other. Without taking the time out to connect with your spouse in this manner, your quality of communication could seriously erode over time.

The Romance Factor

More than likely, you probably find it hard to get into a romantic mood when you're in baby mode, making sure you're prepared for the next feeding and trying to prevent diaper rash. Date night gives you and your partner a chance to re-ignite that loving feeling, with no distractions from the little one. According to relationship expert Dr. Bryce Kaye, date night is essential to managing the emotional state of your relationship. The "Date Night Opportunity" report further states that couples who plan regular date nights have a stronger sense of commitment to each other and the relationship.

Date Night Ideas

Don't feel pressured to go all out for a big date night as a new parent. You likely will feel more comfortable sticking close to home in case the babysitter calls for an emergency. Walk to a neighborhood coffee shop and cozy up on a love seat with your favorite caffeinated beverage. Go out to eat at casual eatery that the two of you used to frequent before the baby was born. Get a little playful and competitive with your partner over miniature golf or bowling. If you are not ready to leave your little one with a sitter just yet, you can still get spend intimate time when your baby is sleeping. Light some candles in the living room and cuddle on floor pillows while watching a movie you both love. Plan a backyard picnic -- with the baby monitor close by -- on a warm summer evening. Melt chocolate in a fondue pot and feed each other chocolate-dipped strawberries.

The Date Night Rules

Whether you are having your date night away from home or in the living room, keep baby talk to a minimum. Save serious discussions and problems for another time. Dr. Bryce Kaye suggests focusing your date night talk on your shared dreams, hopes and fond memories. If you are staying in for date night, put a little effort into dressing nicely. Don't just come downstairs wearing the wrinkled shirt with baby spit-up on it. Maximize your time together by keeping things simple. Don't plan an elaborate evening driving from location to location, or cooking a fancy four-course dinner. The point is to de-stress with your spouse, not make things more complicated. Avoid turning your date night into a group date night, even if you are dying to see your friends. This time should be all about you and your partner focusing on each other.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

Photo Credits

  • Noel Hendrickson/Lifesize/Getty Images