Sometimes date night isn’t perfect.
Yes, you read that right.
Sometimes it’s not about a candlelit dinner, a surprise gift, or a new fine dining restaurant.
Sometimes it’s about elimination. Eliminating distractions of the work week and the craziness of life. It’s about eliminating our cell phones and not responding to emails or checking in on social media. Eliminating the talk about a problem we had at work, the tantrum our toddler had at the store, or the pile of dishes that continues to sit in the sink after three days.
Sometimes it’s about connection. Re-centering ourselves and remembering what life was like during simpler days and determining to get that back as much as we can. Connecting on a deep, honest, and raw level that allows us to bend, break, and change what has kept us disconnected that week, month, or even year.
Sometimes it’s about saying no. Sharing with our partner what we don’t want, what’s not making us happy, and when asked about our day or week, simply saying, “No.” No this week was not okay, no this week I didn’t feel connected with you, no this week was not easy as a parent. It’s okay for us to break the cycle of “easing on by” and it’s okay to spoil dessert by bawling because it’s just been a rough week.
Sometimes it’s about making date night absolutely perfect by discussing everything that’s not perfect in our lives.
We talked about disappointment. My husband suffered an injury that has prevented him from working a while; it’s difficult to stand on the side without participating and it’s been a rough journey back to the sport and job he loves. We talked about failure as parents. Kids should come with a warning label, in big bold letters that reads, “Once opened, we cannot be responsible for the destruction that occurs. P.S. toddlers are a riot.” Our three-year-old has not only reverted his potty training knowledge, but has been acting out at school and is becoming quite the stubborn mule. We failed for now. He has hit his friends, broken toys in the classroom, and refused to sit still for story time. We are his parents and it won’t stop here, but we are a team and together we will work it out. We talked about our marriage. It isn’t perfect. There’s always room for improvement and the improvement we decided on would be to set aside specific time to do a daily devotional with each other, no excuses, we need it.
Imperfection works because it’s real and we are all walking proof of it. Date night is a special time for us; it’s an escape from the normal everyday routine and an adventure with just us two together. Date night that is real involves real talk—it involves real connections about real things in our real life, not a perfect one.
Our date night wasn’t perfect and neither is our life. The thing about perfection is if we always strive for it, we will never reach it—and if we hide behind flaws to portray perfection we will only end up hurting those we love. The best thing we can do for our marriage and our lives is to love deeply, extend empathy and compassion consistently, and always remain incredibly grateful for the blessings we have been given.
So tonight, date night was perfectly imperfect, just the way we needed it to be.