It’s date night!
As I got up this morning and looked at the calendar – there it was – in bright bold red letters. Yes, tonight is dear darling hubby and my monthly date night and I can’t wait! In case you haven’t noticed, there have been less posts in the past few weeks. Not because I lack anything to write about, the words are buzzing around in my head constantly, but rather because I am going full speed ahead with a rather all encompassing year long project I have taken on to further the ministry at Jim Elliot Christian High School. (if you are interested you can check it out here and I welcome any input or insights!) Not to mention last weekend was my annual Croptoberfest scrapbooking weekend with over 100 women in attendance and then there is another “family” project in the works that I will share with you all very soon. (don’t you love suspense!)
Back to date night! Yee haw! One of the most valuable things that ddh and I have done throughout our entire married life (21 years on 12/20/07) is to go on regular date nights. Of course, “pre-kids” these were weekly and as we are currently right smack in the middle of the season of raising our lively & large family, they are now monthly. BUT we never, ever, ever miss out on these monthly date nights. As soon as I get my new calendar for the year, one of the first things I do is to pick one night a month and write in big bold letters – DATE NIGHT! (And if it is on the calendar, it happens! Although every once in awhile we have to move it around by a few days to accommodate something unexpected…but it NEVER gets put off until next month.)
Why date nights?
- To be sure to constantly build, nurture and work on the marriage relationship. If you want a fabulous marriage it takes work! (contrary to many popular love songs we hear.)
- Because the most important thing parents can do for their children, outside of loving the Lord, is to love each other.
- To be a role model to our children for their future relationship with their spouse. Do you want your children to have a fabulous marriage relationship built on common faith, a strong friendship, commitment and life long love? Then you need to be sure you are role modeling that. Regular consistent date nights give you one opportunity to do that. Don’t think for a minute they do not notice either! Just the other day as I was going through my eldest daughters school years folder, I found a little book she had written in kindergarten for Mothers Day. One of the sentences in it said….”My Mom looks best when…..she goes out on a date with my Dad” They are watching you and learning….what are you role modeling?
- To talk! Ok, so are any of you like me? You live in the same house, share the same bed, see each other everyday and yet you can’t seem to pull off a meaningful conversation that is more than a laundry list of “to do” items (who is taking who to soccer practice, when we are doing this or that, can you go here or there etc…) Date nights are all about communication. We can share our stress, concerns, problems, frustrations and needs as well as our ideas, insights and inspirations. We can affirm each other and come up with solutions to problems before they get to big.
- To have fun! Yes, we need to date our spouses to go out, have a good time together and create meaningful memories. To relax and be refreshed by our relationship.
- For romance! To get decked out – looking your best (or at least brushing your hair and putting on some make up) and impress the love of your life. To hold hands and sit next to each other (without a toddler squeezing in between). To cultivate a tender, loving relationship and keep that spark alive.
By my calculations we have gone on over 350 “official” date nights. (this doesn’t count the hundreds of weddings we have attended together, as we have committed our lives to ministering to youth we go to weddings often – these are “bonus” dates) All it takes is putting it on the calendar & “just doing it”.
No money you say? We have been poorer than poor (read no extra money here) throughout much of our married life and have learned to be very creative on date nights – a cracker & cheese picnic in the park, a walk along the water munching on popcorn, going for a long drive (or parking in a remote spot….hmmmmm….remember those days?), or our personal “no funds” favorite – going to Costco & tasting all the samples while “dream shopping” (ie: not purchasing anything – just looking, dreaming & talking about what we like there). How about putting all your loose change in a special container only to be used for date nights (it should at least add up to enough for coffee & dessert) or asking for restaurant gift certificates for birthdays or anniversaries and saving them for these dates.
No one to watch the kids? How about trading childcare every month with another couple who would like a date night too? Or if you really are stuck without childcare help – put the wee ones down early (with serious consequences for getting up) and have yourself a candlelight dinner or watch a movie together or give each other a massage.
Whatever you need to do to make it happen…Do it! These date nights have helped me to always see “my man Dan” as the love of my life, best friend & partner in everything!
So when is your next date night? How about tonight? I can’t wait!