People are often surprised when they learn that my husband and I have a date night once every week. I usually receive questions such as, “How is this possible?” “What do you do?” “How long have you been doing this?”
Let me back up a bit. A few years ago, right after our fifth child was born in seven years, my husband looked at me seriously one night and said, “I miss spending time with you.” Truthfully, he may have had to shout those words to me because our house is very noisy. But, he then went on to say that he wanted to start a regular, once a week date night.
Immediately, I began to see all of the road blocks. Who would watch the kids? I mean, who (besides grandma) could really handle this many small children safely? And how could we fit this into our already overwhelmingly busy schedule?
We prayed about it, and then we got creative.
- We got creative with the babysitter. We had a neighbor high school aged girl whom we trusted very much (character-wise, etc.), but didn’t know if she could handle five very small, very needy children, including a baby. We asked her if she would like to come at 8:00 p.m. This way the kids were all in bed and she basically just had to hold down the fort for 1-2 hours while everyone was asleep.
- We got creative with the day of the week. It is so hard to find a capable babysitter who is available regularly on Friday or Saturday nights. Week nights were unavailable due to my husband’s work and church activities. So, we asked the babysitter to come on Sunday nights. We couldn’t believe it when she said that Sundays would be great!
- We got creative with the dates. Sometimes we eat a late dinner at a restaurant that we love. But sometimes we just drive around and listen to our favorite songs (without the kids making any comments from the back seats!). And sometimes, we get really romantic, and ….. get groceries. Turns out, it really doesn’t matter what we do; we just need to do it together, alone.
Has this been worth the effort? Yes, yes, yes. Definitely, yes.
There have been so many benefits to these weekly dates.
- One benefit is that I wear non-sweat pants and earrings and curl my hair and I feel like a woman again (totally worth it even if it’s only for a brief period each week).
- Another benefit is the anticipation. I can’t tell you how many times during the week when I am doing something really undesirable (wiping another bottom, etc.) that I tell myself something along the lines of, ” You may be wiping bottoms right now, but in only 3 days, 2 hours, and 17 minutes, you are going on a grown-up date!!!” Oh, the encouragement I’ve found from these little anticipatory talks I have with myself.
- The kids have become wonderful friends with our angel of a babysitter. Three years have now passed and this same babysitter has faithfully come almost every week. The kids are a little older now and are still awake for a bit when she comes. They have developed such a great relationship and really look forward to her visits.
- We are modeling something healthy and beautiful to our children. I recently heard my girls playing dress-up. They were pretending to be adults and were getting all dressed up for their weekly dates with their husbands. Words like, “First we are going to get coffee and then we are going on a drive,” floated through our home. I am so thrilled that they are noticing that their parents love each other and love spending time with each other.
- We have reconnected as friends. We laugh. We talk. We drive in pure silence. I make my husband play those Table Talk conversation cards with me. We learn about each other and get to know each other better. We have fun. Our love grows.
Ladies, please, please consider regular date nights with your husband. Get creative and make it happen. You’ll truly be so glad you did.