Marriage is an adventure on its own, meshing two people with different experience into one flesh. It’s a whole different ball game from dating, when you can pretend you’re perfect. Marriage is the entire human being, flaws and all, all in your space, and getting to navigate two personalities into becoming a cohesive unit. In Zimbabwe, at times one has to navigate the rest of the family as well, and try to meet their expectations as well as that of the spouse. While doing that, the relationship takes a backseat, and the fun you used to have is replaced by responsibility.
Add babies in the mix… and it seems like children are where marriages go to die. You’re no longer first-naming each other, it’s now Mai Nhingi and Baba Nhingi. I know of a young couple where the wife calls her husband “Baba”, even when the kids are not around. All of a sudden your lives are revolving around your kids. If you have competition issues like me (sometimes), your kid has to be the best. You have to be the best mom. Your husband has to be the best dad. The relatives on both sides must be happy with you, so you throw yourself into being great parents, and the relationship suffers…
A friend of mine asked that a few weeks ago… how do we go back to dating as parents? How can we get that fire back from when we were still dating, and married with no kids? I felt her pain. Dates are few and far between. If the kid is not used as an excuse to not go out, it’s money. Worse off in the economy we’re living in, it becomes more and more of a viable excuse. There is a reason why your spouse should be a priority when it comes to your marriage (I’m speaking in an ideal, God-loving marriage; the world is fallen and sometimes for your health and safety it’s not possible). When the kids go, you don’t want to be looking at some perfect stranger who just existed to help you care for kids. So taking the kiddies and the economy into consideration, here are some ways to date while parenting:
- Ship the Kids off Somewhere!
If you’re still fortunate to have your parents around, you can make a standing date for them to be with their grandkids while you stay in, watch a movie with popcorn, and whatever happens… happens (don’t blame me if another kid is on the way after this). It can be once a month or once every two months. If both sets are around, make sure you alternate, you don’t want to deal with jealousy.
- Go to places one or both of you like.
The idea is to get to know each other again, so doing activities that one likes will let the other see what their spouse is all about. Shared interests are great as well, so you can always go to a place you both like to mix it up. An aunt of mine loves wine, and her husband loves whisky. So they go whisky tasting one month, and wine tasting the other. It’s a great way for them to bond, and to introduce the other to their interests.
- You can never go wrong with food…
Pick a restaurant, any restaurant, and you’re good to go. Everyone loves food, especially trying new tastes, and it gives you time to talk like you once did when you were dating.
- … Or alcohol.
I know some Zimbabwean husbands don’t like going to bars with their wives. The prevailing thought, I hear, is that if a man is in a bar with a woman, she’s either a prostitute or a small house. Hence, she is fair game. If you are worried about that, you can go to the higher end pubs, plan for wine/gin/craft beer festivals, or do what people do nowadays, chill in the car, buy your drinks of choice, and drink while listening to your favourite music.
- Music Festivals! Concerts!
The desire is strong, the weather is right, the threads are fleeky and the line-up is tight:-) pic.twitter.com/qPeNeiiA5s
— Unplugged Zimbabwe (@UnpluggedZim) September 20, 2017
If you love music, you won’t go wrong with planning to go to a concert, or to Unplugged Zim. The advantage with Unplugged is that you can bring your own food and drinks (read this post here), so you will save money and have a great time. Zimbabwe has some concert or music show happening somewhere, so you can always plan in advance, get the kids shipped off in time, and you can have a great time together.
What other place is better for free food and drinks, music, and being forced to relive your marriage and rekindle the romance but a wedding? You also can get all dressed up and take a whole bunch of pictures together and make more memories. Nowadays weddings have activities for married people, like the married couple dance, so whether you like it or not, you will touch each other and most likely kiss at some point.
What other ideas are there about dating as parents? Has it been feasible for you? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time… your Quarter Wife.