Written by Doctor G

Why Dating Your Partner is Great #Parenting

Spending time with our kids is good parenting. I mean, spending quality time with our kids, that is the best thing we can do for our families, right? But what if it isn’t? What if the best thing we can do for our family is to leave our kids with a reliable sitter so we can go out and have fun without them?

Dating is actually hard to do for most couples. The kids complain about being left out or being left at home. Dating often costs cold, hard cash. There are so many other things that need to be done. Maybe the most compelling argument is our own guilt: how can I take some of the precious free time we have as parents to spend away from our kids? We need more family togetherness, not less!

There are three important reasons why dating your child’s other parent is the best thing you can do for your child.

Your marriage is the trunk of your family tree. Keeping that trunk healthy is absolutely necessary for kids to be able to branch out healthy and strong. Did you (or anyone you know well) grow up in a family with a shaky trunk? That shakiness effects every day, every relationship those kids enter into. When children feel the strength of the trunk, they feel safe and connected and more able to succeed.

Happiness is a key ingredient to solid parenting, and relying on your children for all your happiness is risky. Our kids did not take a vow to cherish us or think of our wellbeing each day. That is the role of married people to one another. Spending fun, free time with your spouse should recharge your batteries, improve your communication, spice up your sex life. All of these will help you separate from your kids just a little so that you can have more of a sense of humor with them. Want to take your kids’ moods a little less personally? Enjoy your spouse, feel more like a team and you will have less of an urge to be a friend of your child’s.

If neither of these arguments is compelling to you, if you feel that your role as parent is more important than your role as spouse, then here is the best reason of all to date your spouse: Your child will look for a marriage that looks like yours. Since we want our kids to be happy in their marriage someday, we need to teach them by example how to enjoy being married! Show them how much fun it is to flirt, joke around with and appreciate your spouse.

Plan dates and talk to your kids about why you are doing this. Let them know how much you value your spouse. They will feel loved when they see how much you love their other parent!

 

PS The # in the title is not a typo.  It’s a twitter thing, and if you recognize it, you should be following me on Twitter!

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17 thoughts on “Why Dating Your Partner is Great #Parenting”

  1. I agree with you 100% Marriage is the foundation of your family! My husband and I always work to get a “date” or time in without the kids, to stay emotionally connected to one another. It’s so easy to lose track of each other in daily life…work, errands, cooking and cleaning, discussions about kids, grades, games, practices, doctor appointments, etc. The list goes on and on. I think that’s how we’ve managed to stay together for 19 years and I consider it a STRONG BLESSING for all of us. My children grow up seeing how strong our relationship is and that’s a HUGE impact on their lives – a positive one!

    1. Thanks Rachel. It’s always good to get affirmation from someone married longer with kids older than mine!

  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever commented here, but I’ve been reading your stuff for months. I love the way you approach these issuee! Especially marriage with kids. It’s commonsense mixed with actual research and a long-term “legacy” kind of view. So many people are looking for quick fixes, but you you know the secret: a happy life takes hard work and good habits, which all takes time. Thanks for speaking the truth with gentleness and love. Keep it up! 🙂

    1. Elise, I am glad you spoke up! You’re right that there are no quick fixes to parenting. Wouldn’t it be great if there were? So happy to have you reading.

  3. My wife and I went on a date the other night for our anniversary. It was so nice to get away for a few minutes. I think it really helps when you do get back to grind, and I totally believe that babies can tell th differene. They can sense when there is love between the parents or if there is tension. I see it when my daughter watches us when i kiss my wife, and when we’re playing with the baby on the floor and we’re tickling the baby and then I start to tickle my wife. The baby picks up on all that.

    1. Thanks so much for your examples. Happiness and satisfaction are apparent in our tone of voice, mood, body language. We know babies and kids are tuned in when what we are expressing is negative – it raises their blood pressure, causes them to dump adrenaline into their system – and we know that when we are happy we soothe them. Keep dating your wife!

  4. I am a BIG believer in date nights…we always have made it a regular thing! I think that our kids like it as they get older – it means pizza or subway for them…cocktail for me!

    We also now make a family date night now, too! The kids are older and we arrange for a movie night or dinner at a restaurant that they like — to do as a family! This keeps them engaged with the family unit.

    One more note – girls nights are just as important as date night! Grab your girlies and head out for some ladies only time with a little food and a lot of fun conversation!

    Rachel

    1. Dating your kids (note to self, write about this soon) is also a fantastic idea. Kudos to you for finding a time to help them understand how special they are to your family! These rituals will draw them back to you despite the lure of hanging out with friends!

  5. From a distance of some decades I seem to recall my parents having the good sense to date and let their two boys know how important it was. Did I do it right with my spouse? I will let you ask your “brother” how he views growing up with us.

  6. So true! Having celebrated our 30th anniversary and raising 4 kids, I can attest to this! Sometimes it was not easy to do, but we tried to go out at least once a month, and got away a few nights a year. Our oldest daughter was 6 years older than the younger kids, so she babysat for us quite a bit when they were older. Ha, I remember dreading when I pulled in the driveway because the house was going to be a MESS! That’s what I got for not paying a babysitter, lol!
    Bernice
    10 steps to a happier mama

    1. And your kids got to see that marriage is a relationship in and of itself, not just a couple of people that live with kids to make the kids’ lives better! Way to go, taking time for your marriage.

  7. Going out is something that my husband and I realized we need to do more often. It’s been difficult to find babysitters but we are working on it. I need adult time occasionally.

  8. Jessica,
    For great babysitters, I recommend contacting your local university and getting a small free ad into their paper. You can “interview” by having them come over and help you with bedtime one night.

  9. I LOVE this post. I 100% believe this. My husband and I just went out on a date last night and while we laughed and reconnect, I remember how much I liked him. It was so nice to just be us again. And then the next morning in the chaos of getting ready for school, there was a new happiness between us.

    Parents need to date!

    And this quote, “Your marriage is the trunk of your family tree. Keeping that trunk healthy is absolutely necessary for kids to be able to branch out healthy and strong.” I am going to put it on a pillow.

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