One mommy asked what David and I did for time alone…
When we had a smaller family, we would generally have a babysitter once a week to come watch the children in the evening (many times after they were already in bed) and David and I would enjoy dinner out and maybe a movie. Once Courson came into our lives, that changed. He was born so tiny and for months had a monitor and needed a lot of special care, so we began having date nights at home. Soon after Courson, a “flood” of new additions came into our family and we no longer felt comfortable leaving our brood of so many small children with anyone.
That phase of our life took some serious care giving. There was a time we had six children under three, and our oldest was just 14. You could barely leave a room at that point without all the wee ones contained in some sort of high chair, pack-n-play, or exersaucer! Forget leaving the house to a babysitter. So we began to really plan one night per week where we would get all the children to bed early (or at least on time!) and have dinner just the two of us and spend the evening talking or sometimes watching a movie. We generally either ordered delivery from our favorite Italian restaurant, or we broiled steaks and enjoyed them with a salad and baked potato.
The date night became a very special witness in the minds of our children as they would set the table for us after their dinner was cleared and kitchen cleaned. They would pull out the pretty placemats, the cloth napkins, best silverware and china. Candles, flowers from the garden, sparkling apple juice or grape juice, and music completed the scene. Many times, extra gestures would include candles in our bedroom, turned down bed sheets, and even pajamas laid out! They really try hard to make everything special and pretty for us.
Every once in a while, I miss the opportunity of going “out” with David. But when I see the great lengths our children go to in participating in our “romance” as their little hands and hearts go about making such a lovely evening for us, I am actually thankful they have the heart and desire to see their parents relationship flourish as a result of time taken on their behalves to serve us. Not having a regular babysitter (we have a few trusted friends in case of emergency or very special occasions) and enjoying a date night at home has been a unique reminder for them of the time it takes to maintain a marriage relationship.
As you can imagine how busy our days are, how many evenings are filled with work not completed in the day, it is vital to take an evening a week and stop to sit and enjoy conversation…revisit goals…encourage one another. For many women, the physical part of a marriage is difficult to maintain without feeling as though they have been listened to or that quality time has been spent with their spouse. Our date night fills the gaps left throughout the week, as I know that come Monday evening, I will have a chance to really catch up and speak privately with my husband.
I encourage those of you who are in a season where going out for a date is just not possible either due to financial constraints, time restraints, or even lack of a quality caregiver in your absence, to consider practicing a date night at home. Let your children participate by setting the table, or prepping the meal. Talk about how special the time is you will get to spend with your spouse. The example you are setting for them will affect the future of their marriage.
Like the time little 9 year old Kemper wanted to show us the great lengths she had gone to in preparing our room…she left a lit candle ON our bed…remember, keep the fire burning! Spend time with each other and let your children see how special that time is. It will quell their hearts, give them confidence in your husband wife relationship, and teach them the value of spending time with their future spouse. A date night at home can have positive generational effects lasting far beyond the evening spent together!