I remember the feelings I used to get when I was still dating/courting my husband. The butterflies, the excitement of waiting for him to pick me up for a date, the anticipation, the joy of having him all to myself…
Now fast forward a few years, and a few babies later. We have a busy household. We are in a season of family life that doesn’t leave much room for husband & wife time. Ben works four nights of the week at a part time job, on top of working his full time job. Between caring for the girls, caring for our home, and caring for myself, it is so easy to lose my husband in the shuffle. The girls need me all of the time, in such an immediate, tangible way, that I often don’t notice the small ways Ben needs my support, affection and attention at times. Enter Date Night. Yes, you read that rightly. I said Date Night. We will have been married for four years this December, and we are still dating.
When Lucy was about three months old, Ben and I talked about it, and both agreed that it felt like years since we had had a single conversation that didn’t revolve around her. It felt like years since we had been just ‘Ben and Katie’ or had any time alone together. We were afraid that if we continued in that way, we would wake up in ten years and not know one another at all. This was only after three months! We quickly decided that in order to keep a strong and romance filled marriage, we would have to start organizing set date nights a few times a month. Sometimes we stayed home and did something, other times we went out for the evening. We put it into our calendar and took turns organizing the night. We even went so far as to put money aside in our budget for our date nights.
I believe that a family is as strong as the marriage holding it together (with God’s help, of course). I also believe that the greatest gift we can give our children is a strong relationship with our spouse. Our children watch everything we do..why would we think they don’t notice how we interact with our spouse? I really, really dislike the idea of putting our children before our husbands. Of course we need to tend to the little ones needs, after all, they are people that God has entrusted to our care. But this doesn’t mean that our husbands should have to sit on the side lines until our children are completely self sufficient. I truly believe that if we value our marriages, it means we will set aside time alone together without the kids. So, to help you get the ball rolling if you aren’t already doing this, here are some steps to making date night happen.
Put it on your calendar – in pen. No excuses. Establish a date night that works for you, and then choose which date nights will be spent at home doing something fun and which will be spent out.
Get a babysitter – ask a family member, a teenager, do a monthly babysitting swap with another couple so you don’t have to fork out big bucks for a sitter.
Put money aside in your budget – money can be tight, so decide how much you can afford and feel good about it. This is an investment in your marriage. It could be $10-$100/month..whatever you’re comfortable with.
Make a list – two if you want..ideas for staying in, ideas for going out. That means you won’t get in the rut of doing the same thing every time.
Make an effort – Have a shower, put on something that makes you feel sexy. Ben defines ‘sexy’ as beautiful and mysterious, which is a relief to me! You don’t have to and probably won’t look like a runway model, but hey, your husband knew you didn’t look like one when he married you so he’s probably not expecting it of you a few kids later 😉 I like to wear dangly earrings since I can’t wear them without my baby trying to rip them out during the day.
Just do it – Put your big girl panties on and leave your kids at home. I know this is easier said than done..I still find it hard sometimes. But they will probably be in bed anyway. Bring your cell phone with you in case of emergencies if it puts you at ease. If they are awake when you leave, they will get over it. You need to spend time with their dad, and they need to know that their parents love each other enough to make time for their relationship. Especially for stay at home moms, it is vital that we leave the house from time to time, to leave our ‘home bubble’ and see what’s going on out in the world. (If you have a little one who’s still breastfeeding, decide if they are old enough to stay home or need to come with you)
We are moms, it’s true. But we are also wives and women. We each need and deserve a chance to put non-stretchy pants and perfume on. We deserve a glass of wine and a night out from time to time. We need time alone with our husbands to connect, laugh, flirt and make love.
I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day I am tired. Sometimes it’s date night, and all I really want to do is get into my pyjamas, sit on the couch and eat an irresponsibly large bowl of ice cream. But never ever do I regret it when I choose to do my hair, makeup and put on an outfit that makes my man say, Amen! Do yourselves a favor ladies, and Date. Your. Husband!
The truth is, if we don’t make our marriage a priority..no one else will. When our children are grown and moved on, we will be alone with our spouses. If we make the time now to invest in our marriages and keep the flame strong through this oh so busy time of life, it will be easier to carry the torch as our children get older. Establish a date night and show your kids how they can someday have a strong, loving, marriage just like their parents.
If you have any fun date ideas please share them in the comments..we’re always open to new things to do as I’m sure most of you are.