Too Married to Be Dating by Jane Suter aka Plain JaneAfter 10 years of marriage it seems I have to start dating again. Completely irritated, I broke the news to my husband Michael. I mean, if I have to start dating, so does he. Fair is fair.

Consequently, the Google-fest began as I searched for restaurants, sorted through both our schedules for the rare free evening, and arranged for a babysitter. It was all so ridiculous. I mean, isn’t the whole point of getting married entrenched in the notion that you don’t ever have to date again? But here I was, suckered into the popular belief that if you don’t organize romantic events with your spouse, minus the kids, you are doomed for the Big D. Well, I certainly don’t want to get divorced, so I made the plans.

But still, a few things were bothering me about this whole concept.

First, why do we have to call it “date night?” The title puts so much pressure on parents. Why not label it what it really is: ditching the kids? Then we wouldn’t feel the stress to make it all wine-and-roses perfect. Second, Michael and I are ridiculously happy. Gross, huh? But it’s true. Of course we don’t tango at sunset or stare adoringly into each other’s eyes for hours at a time, but what we do works for us.

For example, dinnertime: the bald man and I have a simple nonverbal agreement. I give him the biggest piece of chicken at dinner and, in return, he kills the bugs that enter our house. It’s these little gestures of love that keep our marriage strong. So do we really need a date to improve our obvious wedded bliss?

Plus, I wanted to know who came up with this idea in the first place? It certainly wasn’t trendy when I was a kid. In fact, I don’t recall my parents ever dating each other. Their special time as a couple was inviting friends to our house to play cards. We kids would would be exiled to the basement or kicked outside. We would amuse ourselves by spying on the adults or playing flashlight tag. Why can’t we do that today? Have we become too arrogant? Oh, wait a minute, my parents got divorced. OK, so maybe there is something to this whole romance and dating thing. I better take this seriously.

The Big Dating Event

Friday night was the big event, so I pulled out all the stops. I shaved my legs, curled my hair, put on my black jeans (not the blue ones) and even applied lipstick. I was unrecognizable. After dropping the kids off at grandma’s house I blasted the car radio and sang loudly the whole way home. Yeah, this date night thing was pretty darn fun so far. When Michael arrived home, off we went to enjoy an evening of refined equine entertainment. Translation: we hit the racetrack, hunkered down over two dozen hot wings, and bet on the ponies. I told you, with us it’s the little things… Long story short, we had a blast! And the best part: we both got to sleep in the next morning.

Thus ended our obligatory marriage-enhancing activity. Based on the articles I have read, I not only saved us from a future divorce, but also firmed up our already-solid marriage.

I’ll probably schedule a few more of these interludes. Maybe quarterly, like corporate taxes. And I just might arrange something more romantic for our next adults-only evening. Perhaps zip-lining or skiing? Ooooh la la!

In the meantime, we’ll keep on doing what we’ve always done. Like snuggling up on the sofa at night and watching movies together after the boys go to bed. Sure, it’s not very sexy, but it makes us supremely happy. And that’s all that really matters in our bug-free, big-piece-of-chicken marriage.

Jane Suter is one funny mom. To share some of your own parenting experiences with Jane, write to her at Illustration by Colleen Johnson.