My husband Andy and I didn’t have much of a social life in our young married years. He was in dental school and I was a weekend TV news anchor. Our schedules didn’t allow for much extra, but one thing we did every week was a Friday happy hour date. We went to the same restaurant every Friday, ordered appetizers and half-off drinks—it was perfect for our tiny budget and busy schedules.

When we had our first child, I found myself to be in a wretched mood every Friday afternoon. At first, I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, it was Friday, I should have been thrilled to start the weekend. Then it dawned on me—I missed Fridays feeling special.

A weekly date was no longer in the cards. Or was it?

I realized that even though our tradition was gone (getting a sitter once a week was not a realistic option for us), we could start a new tradition that still kept our Friday evenings our own—an in-house date.

Four years later, here’s what our weekly tradition looks like now: every Friday at 5 p.m., we start a movie for the kids. I pop in a frozen pizza for them and they watch and eat on the couch. I don’t know why they think this is the coolest thing ever, but they look forward to it every week! While the kids eat, I start prepping a meal for Andy and me to eat. Andy bathes the kids, they go down around 7 and then the night is our own.

We eat a restaurant quality meal at the table, with candles, good music, and even better conversation. We then watch one of our favorite series on Netflix that we reserve for Friday nights only . . . and the go upstairs and do married things.

This has been so transformative for us as a couple. We may not be able to go out every Friday, but we can still have a date night.

Friday nights are sacred and we look forward to our time together every week. The best part about it? This is not difficult to accomplish. Anyone can create this or something similar. Some Fridays, it may be a delicious cheese board that takes no prep at all but includes a yummy dessert or a handcrafted cocktail. The point is to choose a few elements that make the evening stand out from the typical weeknight hustle.

It can be so hard to carve time out for each other in this phase of life where tiny humans need you for their every need. Maybe an in-house Friday date is just what you need! This is life-giving, I promise. 

Jillian Benfield

Jillian Benfield is a military wife, mom of three, and one of her kids rocks an extra chromosome- also known as Down syndrome. When she’s not cruising in her minivan taking kids to different schools or doctor appointments, she’s writing about faith, marriage and parenting on her blog, Follow her on Facebook