The Darwinian Doctor hacks date night

In this post, I discuss the simple change to date night that saves us money, keeps our marriage on track, and wards off the dreaded Sunday night blues.

You’ve probably heard the saying that the key to wealth is “One house, one spouse.”

Longtime readers will know that I’ve willfully violated the “one house” rule, and have bought 3 houses in the last 6 months alone!  To be fair, I believe this saying is more of a warning against the purchase of a vacation home. Thankfully, I’ve avoided that vice.  The 3 extra homes are all rental properties that are all generating positive cash flow.  

The “one spouse” part of this saying is what I’d like to address today.  If you read the excellent blog written by Xrayvsn, he goes into gruesome details about the mental and financial anguish created by a divorce.  While certainly many people are better off (at least mentally) after their divorce, it’s often a terrible financial setback as assets are liquidated and divided in the divorce settlement.

A Darwinian marriage

The Dr-ess and I got married about a decade ago after I graduated medical school.  Against all odds, she tolerated my perpetual fatigue and irritability during my surgical residency.  We even had our first child during my research year, which provided its own set of challenges, as any parent will know.  

Since settling down into an employed position, I enjoy much more control over my schedule now.  Except when I’m on call, I can pretty accurately project when I’ll be arriving home. And since I’m in a large group, the call schedule is spread out over a dozen surgeons.  I take overnight call once every week and a half. 

The protected downtime on the weekends and an attending level salary have given us the ability to enjoy something that wasn’t really a possibility during residency:  Date Night!

Date night

With full time jobs and two young boys, the Dr-ess and I don’t get much time to ourselves during the week.  So we usually try to carve out at least a few hours on the weekend to grab dinner and reconnect.  

Although the cost of childcare plus dinner does add up, we find that our marriage just works better when we have that time to air grievances or just catch up. We bicker less and have more patience when we get those precious few hours to ourselves.

For the last year, though, we’ve made a big change to our date night:

Sunday Date Night!

It sounds like a simple change, but moving date night to Sunday has been fantastic on 3 separate fronts.  

  1. Babysitters
  2. Reservations
  3. Sunday night blues

Babysitters

They say that any quality resource will be scarce, and babysitters are no exception.  It’s just harder to find a babysitter on Friday and Saturday nights! Either they’ve already got a regular gig lined up for that time slot, or they’re busy with plans of their own.

But since we’ve moved our date night to Sundays, we’ve had very little difficulty finding a babysitter to watch our kids for a few hours.  

Reservations

In Los Angeles, there are literally thousands of restaurants.  But the ones that have that special mix of affordability and tastiness are always busy.  The most popular ramen restaurants usually have a line out the door and a one hour wait on any given Friday or Saturday night.

Sunday is a much better bet for getting a table at the more popular spots.  Also, they’ll often have a Sunday night prix fixe or special that offers a better value than other nights.  

Sunday night blues

Finally, before we moved date night to Sundays, both the Dr-ess and I suffered from a horrible malady. It’s commonly known as “Sunday night blues,” but I’ve also heard it called “Sunday scaries”. Basically, as the sky darkened each Sunday night, we’d start feeling a particular sense of dread at the knowledge that the next workweek was right around the corner.  

It didn’t seem to matter that both the Dr-ess and I (mostly) like our jobs.  We just liked the weekend more. Without something fun planned for Sunday night, the end of the weekend was downright depressing!

Now, putting date night on Sunday allows us to end the weekend on a high note.  Although we came to this solution on our own, it seems that doing something fun on Sunday nights is a known technique for warding off the blues.  

Conclusion

I’d highly recommend giving Sunday date night a try. I can’t say that it’ll single handedly rescue a failing relationship or negate the stress of the workweek.  But at least for us, Sunday date night has made a big difference in our quality of life. 

This week, we’re going to catch up with an old college friend over some middle eastern food. Sunday night blues… vanquished!

— TDD

Have you considered a Sunday date night? Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below. Please share, comment, and subscribe!

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[…] life, I see this battle play out on a weekly basis. It usually comes to the forefront on our Sunday date nights. Inevitably, we have an argument over what type of restaurant to visit. The Dr-ess values the […]

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