Sunday, June 26, 2011

Real Date Nights

Today's real life is the need for date nights.  Especially if you're married with any amount of children! They sure are wonderful, but, let's admit it....they take a lot of "life" out of us.  Children seem to be in constant need of something.  Whether it's food, clean clothes (we have a serious sock issue in our house), kisses for boo-boos, "entertainment", food again, a listening ear, a referee, guidance, someone to play games with,  food, etc.  You get the picture.  It goes on all day long.  During the summer months it can be extra wearing on a mom.  Not that it's a bad thing.  We are mom's after all.  This is what we "signed-up for, and we dearly love our sweet angels.  But, sticking with being real; it gets exhausting when all we do is serve our family's needs, right?

I often feel quite guilty when my husband comes home after a long day of work, and the joy I had earlier in the day has fizzled out.  I wish he could have seen how much I enjoyed the kids and laughed and smiled and glided along.  What he tends to see is a solemn face after I have prepared a delicious meal in the middle of screaming children who have completely forgotten how to be calm and get-along.  Why do they desire to run around the house screaming their heads off just as I'm mixing and stirring and cutting raw meat?  Come on!!  Finally as the meal is crisp and steaming on the table and the kids have gathered 'round, I get to sit down to enjoy the delight of fine herbs and sauces, veggies, and all the healthy stuff a dinner should contain.  Next thing I know my angels have begun complaining that their food has some kind of actual flavor!  My poor husband peeks over at my disappointed face and tries to rescue me from the ridicule.   I'm beginning to fold.  I would love to just take my plate to a secluded location as I consume the new-found recipe.  What kind of "example" would that be, though?  Ugh!  I should pause to say that my poor children do not act like this at every meal.  We have taught them well about how to behave at the dinner table.  We do not "tolerate" such complaining; yet it does happen from time to time.  So, I sit and eat and try to distract from the meal by creating conversation about each family member's day.   This tactic proves successful and we move on to our evening.

By the time we get the kids in bed for the night, we have about two hours to spend together.  There are quite a few options.  The problem is, I have no energy for anything!  I would rather be alone with a book to read.  I don't want to give anymore.  I'm done, cooked, baked, fried.  My husband puts his arms around me, and I remember the importance of looking past my own deflation in order to keep our relationship alive.  Of course, there are those moments when we should have that alone time, but we must be aware of the delicacies of our spouses too.  Welcome to marriage!  It ain't all about you anymore. haha  So, we realize it's time for a night out!  Alone....Together.

The emotions of arranging this evening out may become so overwhelming (who's going to watch the kids?, do we need to make them dinner before we go out for our dinner?, how late is too late?, how much to pay?) that we decide to forget it and wait another month.  Uh-oh, you know if this happens, by the time that other month hits, we may not  even want to go out anymore!  This is why we must go.  Just arrange it and go!  Once we walk out the door, it all works out and we get to re-energize our beautiful marriage. 

I believe date nights are very important to the quality of marriage.  I imagine the lack of this time out together has sucked the life out of many relationships, thus resulting in bitterness, resentment, and even divorce.  We truly need to take the time to enjoy our friendship in marriage.  So, where do we go?  Is there any fun out there other than dinner-and-a-movie??  A movie is a definite no if you haven't communicated on a regular basis at home with your spouse.  That still counts...we don't want to "save-up" all of our communication just for the date night!!   I am trying to come up with some fun dates that we could plan other than the regular old dinner-and-a-movie.

So far I have thought of the following:

1.  Go to the place where our love began, or even the place of our first kiss.  While there, reminisce about the personal qualities that attracted us to each other.  Bring an old memento to share from that time together.

2.  Go on a romantic picnic, complete with blankets, pillows, and champagne in a secluded area.  Bring a small gift you know will make your spouse feel loved (something thoughtful that shows you know them).

3.  Do something adventurous....such as:  kayaking, canoeing, zip-lining...maybe something you've never done before so you can share a new experience together!

I would love to hear any other date night ideas!!  Please share.  My husband and I are attempting to write a book together about this.  That's where real faith comes in....Thanks!!