There came a point in our marriage when my husband and I had to accept that a romantic candlelit dinner or wine tasting was no longer an option. With two small kids, taking time for a date, let alone a shower, was a scarce luxury until we learned to redefine what date nights could be.
At the time, my husband was working nights, and I was juggling freelancing while taking care of two children under 2 years old. As you can imagine, we found by the time we got our boys to sleep, or on the rare occasion convinced a grandparent to babysit, we were too tired to do more than make out for a few seconds and fall asleep.
Finding the time, energy, and money to come up with Instagram worthy date nights was often more hassle than it was worth.
Finding the time, energy, and money to come up with Instagram-worthy date nights was often more hassle than it was worth. We tried comedy shows, escape rooms, and fancy dinners out (before COVID). We always had a nice time—sometimes a great time—but it definitely wasn’t something we could sustain on a regular basis. We both wanted something we could do at least weekly to keep our connection alive amidst the sound of crying babies and monotony of daily chores.
It wasn’t until another ad popped up for a discounted subscription for Audible that I came up with the idea for audiobooks to become the new date activity. Romance on a budget? Count me in!
So, how did we make this a new date-night staple?
Well for starters, we kept it simple. The idea was that we would pick out a book we were excited about together and join our own little book club; complete with weekly check-ins and a meal if we had the time. Now, I’m not going to lie, as a busy mom of two, I found it difficult to really picture how we would actually stick with it. After all, we often had vastly different tastes in books and conflicting attention spans.
I loved anything dystopian or romance, and my husband was obsessed with dragons. But after some playful arguments over our first book, I convinced my husband to read a fantasy book I loved to read as a teen. It didn’t have dragons, but it had magic and epic battles.
It wasn’t his favorite but definitely made the experience more intimate and sweet by allowing my husband a look into the girl he fell in love with. For our next book, I gave in and agreed to dragons, and we were pleasantly surprised to fall into a multi-installment series called, Temeraire, by Naomi Novik. Now nearly a year into the pandemic, audiobooks have become a staple for staying connected.
Here are four reasons to consider audiobooks for your next date night.
1. It helps you talk about more than the kids
Being in a long-term relationship can get a little monotonous if you don’t try new things. Listening to audiobooks energized our relationship because it allowed us to talk about common interests beyond work and our kids.
The first year or so after our kids, we fell into a slump of diaper changes, work schedules, and meal planning… which was not stimulating mentally nor physically. Adding in daily chats about the books we were listening to in our spare time made life a little more interesting, and we found it even made us more eager to be around one another so we could talk about the new plot twist or character arc.
2. It was an accessible option even on the go
When you’re working opposite shifts from your partner or are just so busy that you don’t have much downtime, it can be hard to find time to bond. What I really loved about audiobooks was that it was very accessible for both of us. My husband could listen on his long commute to work, and I could listen pretty much anywhere in our house because we had an Alexa on each floor.
For both of us, it was a sweet way to feel connected to one another even when we were so far away physically because we knew the other was listening to the same story at some point throughout the day. We also loved that we could listen on long car rides to visit family, or even on the way home from the grocery store after our kids fell asleep in their car seats. The versatility of audiobooks made it a date activity we could do anywhere.
3. It can help you find a new spark
I’m a very competitive person, and to be honest, I was a little surprised that listening to audiobooks became a way for my husband and me to compete with one another over how far we got in a book each day. As an added bonus, we made a reward system, so whoever finished the book first could choose the next one we read together. Adding the game factor to late-night chats in bed while we snuggled made the whole experience doubly romantic.
4. It’s affordable
Even after our subscription ended, we splurged for a few more months of credits until we remembered that we had a library card!
There are so many ebooks and audiobooks available online on your local library’s website. We started using the Libby app for most of our date-nights unless we wanted to splurge on a new release that wasn’t available.