With three kids and what feels like a busy life (turns out busy is a very relative term!!), one thing that Maria and I have struggled with is how to stay mentally/psychologically close to one another. We toyed around with “Date Nights”, but we found it difficult to routinely find babysitters that could manage three kids while we went out for a few hours, got a little tired of the routine dinner and a movie, and felt a little guilty spending the money…all to the point where it got stressful (at least for me). For a long time, we ended up spending our time together just watching TV because it was easy and “mindless”, but ultimately decided that our time could be better spent doing other things. I can’t remember who had the idea originally, but we decided that as a compromise to “Date Night”, on any Saturday night that we didn’t already have plans, we would do a “Game Night” where we could sit down, chill out, drink some beer/cider/wine/whiskey, play some board games, and talk about whatever felt important at the time.
What started as just a friendly game of chess or backgammon has become a healthy rivalry and a cherished tradition for us. We have set time that we both reserve to relax with one another, uninterrupted by kids, the phone, the computer, or email. Under the mild tension of marital competition, we share our thoughts on how we are feeling about our life, what we are excited or nervous about, what things we want to do and what plans we want to put in place. We have also gotten to learn some really fun games, including some traditions from previous generations. We have started to let the kids in on it on some Saturdays, and have even invited some neighbors over once in a while to join in with us. I have even found that it has made me a more graceful loser (on most nights anyway)!!
We have had some of our best discussions over our game table (aka – our dining room table), including the ones that eventually led to Life from Scratch. It might not be for everyone, but if you are into board games, are looking for a way to get closer as a couple, and can handle a little competition, maybe Game Night is for you! If you are looking for ideas on how to get started, here are some of our favorite games.