The Right to Date Night could also read – The Right NOT to be Bored. I think marriage especially once you have children becomes a relay race of ‘hellos’ rather than real connection. Unless you go on a date night. Unless you make an effort. I’ve always believed in date night, and we’ve always gone out at least once a week. (This is more due to the fact that I NEED to get out, more than any relationship development.) For the last month or so I hit  a wobbly patch of ‘boredom’, even on date night. Boredom in the same old places we go to in small town Johannesburg. Boredom in the same conversations (mostly about the kids). Boredom in myself at nothing new, exciting or challenging to engage with. It’s a boredom that stifles the best of relationships.

I chatted to one of my very good friends, and to my surprise she admitted that as much as she loved her husband, they too faced the same challenge of boredom. It made me think that it’s not such an uncommon thing. It’s not that the relationship is bad, it just needs spicing up, a point of interest, something FUN. And when do we ever do anything fun with our spouses? (Notably if you don’t have a spouse, it’s still important to do something fun with yourself, or partner, or good friend.) Fun lets us be kids again, children of light and life who dance in the dewy grass. It brings back the reason you fell in love and married your partner in the first place.

A part of me wanted my husband to plan the ‘fun’, ‘romantic’ rendezvous for us. The part of me that wants to be taken care of, to be wooed again. Naturally I had to get over myself. My husband is not the kind of guy who plans ‘fun’, ‘interesting’ things easily. (I’m working on him though.) So it’s up to me to plan the unpredictable, the spontaneous and out of our comfort zone fun. And so I did.

FUN Things to Do

Theatre – Last week I booked ‘Solomon and Marion’ with Janet Suzman. It was a resounding success. It was a wonderful production, incredibly written and beautifully acted. We both left inspired, our spiritual bellies full of creative food.

Movies, Documentaries – I’m on Hazel Cohen’s Cyril Harris Auditorium’s email list, and get a host of emails about the documentaries they show. I just saw ‘The Flat’ by Arnon Goldfinger, which was thought provoking and beautifully done. Another simple, stretch my horizons experience.

Go Somewhere New – Eg. Arts on Main – Joburgers sometimes don’t make the most of their own city. I know I don’t. There are a lot of events, nightly and on Sundays at the Maboneng Precinct in town. It’s safe enough, has a buzzing artistic energy and it’s definitely outside our comfort zone which is absolutely exhilarating. It’s on my list of to dos.

Go Away – This isn’t an easy one, but I believe it’s essential for couples to go away, even for a night. Even if it’s to a B & B down the road. Being away from the hum drum practicality of life is pure heaven, and you get a proper nights sleep! (You could go to Cape Town and see Solomon and Marion there.)

Physical Activities – Bowling, ice skating, walking, running, roller blading. Find something you both enjoy and do it together. Even better learn a new skill together. Truth be told we don’t do this in Johannesburg, but on holidays by the beach we have a whole exercise ritual which includes running, walking, yoga and  dipping into the sea.

Attend a Class – Art class, knitting (just kidding, although you never know), cooking, chocolate making, French or Spanish lessons, Jewish history classes, Biblical Tanach classes. There are endless adult evening classes in Johannesburg. Learn anything that gets you both thinking, talking, and discussing, even laughing as you expand your skills and knowledge. This is a great way of being together.

Play Music – Lately we’ve begun playing soft, romantic music. Enya is our favourite at the moment. We play it whilst we have tea and chat. (Another idea would be to put groovy dance music on and just dance in the comfort of your home. Or if you can, go out dancing. My husband flat out refuses to dance, but I think dancing is ALOT of fun.)

Chat Daily – Not everything has to be brilliantly exciting. We’re tired at the end of a hard working day and a nice chat with tea and music fills us up, and reconnects us in that domestic, happy way.

It’s holidays now our children are out having fun, we need to reconnect with ourselves, our partners and have a bit of fun too. There’s nothing like a giggle to make us forget our every day problems. Cynics out there will say, it’s easy to say, ‘have fun’, but practically life’s too difficult, hard and busy for such frivolity. Such people must have the deepest, furrowing, war trench wrinkles ever, and I doubt they have fulfilling, happy marriages. I say don’t listen to such people, even if it’s your own inner critic, or your spouse, do it anyway, and see what happens…. We may not have the perfect marriage, but at least we’re having fun.

NB. The above are my own ideas. I’m sure you have a heap of your own. You can comment and share some of the more fabulous things that are possible in Johannesburg.