Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Different Kind of Date Night

Last night I worked an event This Side UP! Family does every month.  It's called I Date My Spouse" and is an opportunity for married couples to take advantage of free childcare while they go on a date--often with a giftcard given to them by TSUF.  It's amazing!  The kids get some quality programming and have a blast while their parents connect.

I wish there had been something like this when my girls were little.

I know of people who are consistent in dating their spouse.  They go to dinner.  They take vacations. They spend time together.  All without their kids.

When my girls were little, we were not good at the dating thing.  Partly because we had so little family time to be all together that we just didn't take the time away from them.  Partly because date night is expensive when you calculate babysitter, dinner and an activity.  And partly because both of us are more practical than romantic.

To this day, we still don't have a set date night, but as the girls have gotten older, we have found some different rhythms that work for us.

When the girls both started elementary school, Brian worked retail hours and I worked for a church, so weekends were not really an option for us and weeknights were hard because the girls needed to be fed, bathed and in bed at a decent hour.  Brian usually worked late on Fridays or was off and that was my day off, so we would either do breakfast or lunch together.  There was a season when I had a pt job on Fridays and he even came up to eat lunch with me there a few times.

During the summer, the girls started staying with my in-laws for a couple of days at a time.  Some nights, we would cook stuff they wouldn't eat (this is how I finally learned to make guacamole and potato salad--not together, of course--that would be soooo YUCK).  Other nights, we'd head out to some local places to eat (it's amazing how much cheaper your bill is when you don't order queso and soft drinks).

For a short season, we had a boat.  This was my favorite kind of date.  Some mornings, we would drop the kids off at school and head to the lake for the day (once, we barely made it back in time and had to bring the boat through the carpool line--eek!).  Sometimes, we'd eat dinner and then head out for a few hours.  It was glorious.  Basically, our date consisted of Brian fishing and me reading.  We seldom talked, except to comment on the size of the fish, but the comraderie we built during that time was the BEST!

Most recently, we've started watching Longmire again together on Netflix.  Every night, we head to the bedroom and shut the door.  Usually, we are interrupted a few times by girls wanting to make the dog play with them (she loves Longmire time because she sleeps between us on the bed).  We watch one episode and then go to sleep.  Again, no talking, but it's time spent together.  We are almost finished with the series and I'm already dreading not having that time together.

Most days I think it would be easier if we didn't have to worry about finances and could do the traditional night out that most other couples do.  But, when I look back on our dates, I don't really regret how we've chosen to do them.  I only regret the seasons where we didn't do anything--when we let fatigue and work and kids' activities keep us too busy to spend time together.

What types of dates work for you?  What's your favorite thing to do with your spouse? Also, I'm taking suggestions on what series we can watch next!


Janie Haskew said...

Angel, this so resonates with me! I remember having a young family and feeling "pressured" to have date nights. It was as if our marriage was destined to failure because we couldn't get our act together/have enough money/muster the desire to be alone on a date. However, dates are what you make them! We too made our own traditions,and they looked a lot like small ordinary life events, lived with my best friend.

Angel said...

Aww, Janie--I'm just now seeing this. Thank you! So good to hear this from someone who has launched her girls! Hope you are doing well and will pray you continue to have some great date nights!!