I honestly think that in order to keep a family happy, they need to spend time not as a family.
I'm sure that this is in part due to how I was brought up. My parents frequently went away without us kids. It gave them time to stop being "parents" and be the people they were before Thatbrother and I were born.
And that is so important. By the end of the day, Thatboy and I are so exhausted from work and parenting. We barely have time to talk to each other, let alone connect.
Before Thatbaby was born, the two of us would have Mustang and his girlfriend babysit Thatkid, so we could have a date night. We'd go out and spend time talking, remembering what we liked about each other in the first place. But with the birth of Thatbaby, we've put that on hold. I adore Mustang and his girlfriend, but I think watching 2 kids, one of them an infant, might put them a bit in over their heads.
Instead, Thatboy and I have been taking advantage of "built in babysitting" - we've been doing day dates while the boys are in daycare/preschool.
I think I might like these day dates better than evening dates, because it puts us in the place we were before these kids came along. We can enjoy leisurely meals, take naps, see movies and we have time to speak without being constantly interrupted.
On our last day date we went to see Star Wars, then out for ice cream sandwiches. There was no whining, no crying, and we got to see an entire movie, straight through!
Day dates gives us time to be without the kids, so we can be better parents when we're with them.