Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Date Nights are Great Nights

About a year ago, our pastor spoke about ways to have a healthy marriage.  One of the more actionable tips was to go on a weekly date night.  He knew this was not feasible for many and offered the usual alternate idea: after the kids go to bed be intentional about spending time together, watching a movie, eating dessert, etc.

I don't stay up very late and this never really worked for us.  In the midst of a messy table, I couldn't think deep thoughts with my husband.  This type of date only made me feel like I should really be tidying up.

Our kitchen island is always covered in books, art supplies, homework, papers, food, and stuffed animals.  There is always something to clean.
Finding a babysitter has always been more challenging than I would like.  Teens have busy schedules and when they could come, they would spend the evening doing homework or texting friends.  Paying for a sitter and dinner made the evening feel like a major splurge, so we settled on going out once a month at most.  

Then our oldest child turned 13.  

It was summer and I had mixed feelings about being the parent of a teen.  In the fall, I remembered that suggestion about regular date nights and decided maybe if we don't have to pay a sitter or sit in our living room looking at a mess we could actually make it work.  

Since then we have been going out on regular date nights weekly or biweekly, depending on how hectic our evenings are.  They are awesome!  

We feel much more connected.  We can have conversations that don't get interrupted or derailed.  Sometimes we talk about deep, meaningful things and sometimes we just sit across from each other and smile.  

Dinner is waaaay cheaper going out with 2 instead of 6.  We get a nice meal while our daughter makes pasta or nuggets for the kids.  Everyone is happy!  

A benefit of these date nights that I hadn't anticipated is the way the kids get along.  Yes, we have been called a few times ("Mom, she called me a big fat jerk!") but for the most part, they are happy together and the experience bonds them.  The little kids view their sister as a helper and she has to help them.  We pay her a small hourly rate so she takes the job seriously and she almost always makes the extra effort to keep her siblings happy and having fun.  On more than one occasion we've come home to the four of them laughing together while they watch a movie or play a game.  And I'm like: 😳😊🙌

In a world full of things that stress me out and make me crazy, this is a ray of sunshine.  Maybe you should go on a date, too!  #dateyourmate

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