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Sugar House Journal

Dating Beyond the “I Do”

Jan 26, 2016 09h33 ● By Bryan Scott

By Joani Taylor

My husband and I dated for a year before we married. We thought we had it figured out, had discussed it all, from the number of kids we wanted, right down to the color of carpet in our home. 

After the arrival of our firstborn things started getting rocky. My sweet and lovable hubby suddenly turned into a matted green, irritable grouch. Instead of helping him and trying to understand, all I could do was nag. Life became a chore.  Money was tight. We barely talked to each other. We were sliding down a slippery slope. 

It was during this time that a turning point happened. We found ourselves on a real date. I can’t recall how it happened, but nonetheless, the hubs and I had dropped off the little one at Mom’s, packed a picnic lunch and headed to the park for what turned out to be the one of best dates of our relationship. 

Having the alone time allowed me to open up to listening without distraction to what was really bugging him, his stresses at work and financial concerns. We problem solved, had open conversation and worked together to fix it. In the time it took to prepare a $10 picnic lunch for two, throw down a blanket and open our hearts to listen to one another we had solved many built up frustrations. 

This made me a believer in “the date night.”  A date night is a time you and your partner set aside to spend quality time focusing on the other. It’s a time to refresh and reboot your relationship and allows you to reevaluate what’s working for your family and more importantly, what isn’t. Date nights should not be a couple’s luxury, but instead a couple’s necessity and should be part of a regular schedule, just like paying the bills.

It’s easy to put off dating after marriage. With expenses and the never-ending needs of the kids, finding just $25 a week can be hard. Here are some ideas to make your date night money stretch a little further:

#1- Make it appetizers or dessert: Instead of going out for a complete meal, make it appetizers instead. This is a fantastic way to check out a new restaurant without breaking the bank. I’ve found that I often enjoy these small bites more than the regular meal. If a full meal is in your plan, look for restaurants with early bird specials between 5 and 6 p.m. 

#2- Split the babysitter costs: Sitters typically only charge a little more for additional kids so, plan to share your sitter with a friend that has kids and double date. Or, take turns babysitting each other’s kids. 

#3- Get familiar with the Daily Deals websites: We’ve all heard of Groupon and Living Social by now. A new one you may not be familiar with is These daily deal websites can be great sources for discounts for eating out. They also offer creative ideas for dates, like ghost tours, paint mixers and sushi-making classes.  All three can currently be found on

A regular date night is an important investment in your marriage and will lead to a stronger lifelong partnership. For more fantastic date ideas, check out a Utah based website called the and Both have fabulous ideas for date nights and ideas to help you keep the communication in your relationship strong.