Dating Series Part Two: Dr. Bing and Brandon’s Exchange On Couples Having A Date At Home
Dr. Bing and I thought it would be beneficial for some of you to see us interact about topics we blog about. The first exchange occurred last week right before I posted a blog challenging the ‘traditional dating’ routine by advocating for a couple to find an hour here and there to spend some quality time together building their friendship (you can read that blog here). In what will follow is the exchange we had.
Bing’s first reply:
Thanks, Brandon, for the insight. I reluctantly agree to a point: as long as staying home with the kids is NOT the only idea on the “dating” list. It’s great for the kids to see mom and dad dress up and leave with a gleam in their eyes. This conveys to the kids mom and dad love each other and kids are second. SECOND! Yes, I wrote, SECOND. The kids are NOT your number one priority. Your relationship with your spouse IS. You two set the tone. Here’s some other thoughts:
1) The budget is always a concern for young couples with little children and when I write about dating each other I don’t mean we should break the bank. Creativity is a must. Your idea, to make staying home together as special, tender and inexpensive is awesome. Yes. Let’s do this. AND MORE.
2) We can do the evening reconnect time at home provided that sometimes we literally don’t worry about the unfinished chores and can just chill. Some people CANNOT do this. These people MUST learn to do this. Not everything is urgent! If you can’t relax, put relaxing with your spouse on your list! It’s something you MUST do!
3) Staying at home and enjoying each other’s company is not a substitute for time alone AWAY from the stressors you have at home. It is imperative you LEAVE the premises (I recommend 1 time per week, but it doesn’t have to costs big bucks!) and the presence of children so you don’t have to worry about anything, you can chill and you can concentrate on each other and the activity and fun at hand.
4) There are other options for the kids beyond grandparents. This is one of the advantages of being in a local church. As you get involved you will get to know other families and you can confidently ask their teenage kids to watch yours. In addition, you can meet other younger couples with kids your kids’ ages and you can swap times where you both watch all of the kids for an hour or two so the other couples can slip out for a little fun.
5) I am convinced that couples MUST develop common interests OUTSIDE THE HOME OVER TIME and that OVER TIME personal interests, your spouse’s interests, culture, finances, schedules, number of kids in the home, change and so all of this is in flux. PLEASE don’t let your only common interest be TV! AHHHH! It’s Okay here and there but 30 years of that will drive you insane! And please don’t just do ONE thing your whole married life. Someone is going to get bored here! Maybe not you, but…. Creativity, People!
Thanks for your comments and willing to engage me in a discussion. To be honest, I am not sure there is much disagreement between us on this topic, though I am not sure I think it is required a couple get out of the house once a week without the kids when the kids are really young. Sure, once the kids are older or if the parents are well connected, it would be preferable for the couple to get out once a week. However, since this is not always possible, I would not want them to ‘go without a date’ in the traditioinal sense for several weeks or even months. It is for this reason I would wish for the couple to ponder a way to go on a date without feeling the need to leave the home.
Dr. Bing’s Second Reply:
I can tell you that there are many couples who operate the way you say as the only option for their time together, sometimes for years at a time (When’s the last time you had a date alone outside the home? Ahhhh, before the birth of our 5-year old son.) and they do so mostly for monetary reasons and they come and see me five, ten years later and their relationship is on ice.
Dating outside the home creates memories. Without positive memories, all we have are the same times at home with nothing to remind us of anything. For example, do you remember brushing your teeth on October 15th? Of course you don’t. But you know you did. Staying home and sitting on the couch week after week, month after month, year after year is the same thing. The same thing on top of the same thing gives us NO memory.
Unique experiences together create shared memory and shared memory creates bonding and camaraderie and connection and laughs.
A new book or movie can do that to a certain degree, but that’s a vicarious experience: watching and reading about others experiencing the world. I’d much rather a couple go on a road trip than read or watch a movie about one!
The original blogs Brandon and Dr. Bing are discussing can be found here.
To see other blogs on Dating in Marriage click here.
To see other blogs about Fun in Marriage click here.
Brandon Wall is Staff Researcher for Heart to Heart Communication and writes blogs on character and parenting for our thrivingcouples.com web site. He also reports summaries of his research in the area of family studies. See also his recent review of David Popenoe’s Families Without Fathers: Fathers, Marriage And Children In American Society. and his summary of this research here. His earlier summary of “The Effects of Divorce on Children and Parents” can be found here, “The Effects of Fatherless Children” here and “The Effects of Cohabitation” here.
Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa. To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473. For more information about Dr. Wall click here.