I am a firm believer that the sooner we start better habits, the more ingrained they are when we need them.
[Check out one of my favorite posts on this to see what I mean…click here]
So maybe you’re getting married in six months (shout out engaged ladies!).
Maybe you got married in the last year.
Maybe you just found out you were having your first baby.
Or you just brought that little bundle of joy home.
Maybe you’re on to baby #2, or #3, or #4, or #5.
Maybe you’ve just relocated.
Gotten a new job.
A hard job.
When my husband and I were first married or even engaged, we could have hung out as much as we wanted. And we were certainly AROUND each other a lot but mostly we were working. Date nights were considered to be “out” nights and were infrequent. We lived in the middle of nowhere and we didn’t know the lay of land or anyone. We didn’t have a lay of the land and we didn’t explore a ton. We did things together, absolutely, just the two of us and with another couple, but we didn’t intentionally set aside time that was ‘special’.
Fast forward to when we found out we were having our little girl. There seemed to be a sense of urgency to spend time just the two of us. Besides the fact that I was hungry…constantly…we ate out more to enjoy our time. We planned a trip. And when I went two weeks past my due date, every night we’d take a walk and wonder if this was our last night of ‘just us’. The night before they broke my water was one of the most exhilarating walks we ever had.
After our baby was born, it was weird thinking of leaving her with anyone. Not because we didn’t want to, I just worked all day and I didn’t want to leave her with someone in the evenings too. Plus we didn’t know a lot of people to ask to watch the baby that weren’t my students and I had mixed feelings about that. So we went out three times that first year.
Even when we moved and had my parents right there with us, we didn’t go out for very much longer than to run a quick errand or whatever because of my husband’s work schedule.
In short, what I’m saying is that for almost three years, we didn’t have bad habits per say, but we didn’t have good habits. And we needed to intentionally build some better habits.
I was at my local MOPS meeting and someone said she and her husband have an at home date night once a week.
“Once a week,” I thought. “That seems….excessive.”
But the more I thought about it the more I liked it. Once of week made it a habit, part of the schedule.
Once a month and I knew we’d wait till the last minute and then throw something together or put it off.
Every other week and we’d forget which week it was.
So I talked to my husband about it.
If you’re liking the sound of this, I tried this:
“Hey husband, I’ve been thinking about being more intentional in the time we spend together. With another baby coming I think it will only get worse. If we just let it happen, we put it off. Weekends are hard, and we don’t like getting a sitter. What would you think if once a week after the kids are down, you and I hung out? We could take turns planning and we do anything – just the two of us.”
We discussed what this would look like beyond watching TV together. Board games. Walks (when we lived with my parents). Having a bonfire. Writing a bucket list. Learning a new game. Back rubs. Special food. (I don’t want to give away too much, not now, I’ll post some of my fave ideas later.)
At first, we both thought it was a little too structured – a little too “not us”. But we gave it the old college try and you know what?
WE LOVE IT.
First of all, it has become sacred time for us. Wednesday night is the night I know my husband will be home from work on time. We will have dinner together. The kids know they will get to play with and on my husband. And we put them to bed and then it’s our time. We almost never schedule anything else on a Wednesday so that we can all be together. We have even added Family Worship time to our evening. It’s my daughter’s favorite thing all week.
Second, since we take turns planning, I only have to think of 2 ideas a month. Sometimes it is a TV show. Sometimes it’s a board game that my husband likes but I wouldn’t normally play.
But the other two weeks, I get to learn more about him by what he picks and what he thinks would be fun to do together.
Also, it’s not high pressure. We are at home. We don’t have to worry about a sitter or the budget. We just get to be together. We aren’t on our computers or our phones. Just together.
And it’s easy on the budget. Even if we do pick up my favorite ice cream, it’s a lot cheaper than a sitter and a meal out.
On top of that, the ‘out’ date nights have become a higher priority naturally. We are spending time together and ya know what, we want to spend MORE time together. So we are more inclined to find a sitter to go to a movie, or take a drive or whatever so it can be just us. We’ve had more out dates (not expensive just not at home) in the last 6 months than ….in a very long time.
It also reminds us that our marriage is a priority over other things.
If you are a mom, please hear me when I say this: it is SO easy to focus ALL of our energy on our little people ESPECIALLY if our husbands make us upset or hurt. We have these little love sponges just waiting for us, to soak up and hug and love on. So when we’re hurt and mad we can easily ignore our husbands and turn away to someone else. The more times we do this, the bigger the divide gets between us and our husband. The harder it is to bridge the divide. Compound that with more years and more kids and that’s a huge divide.
If this is on our calendar we are at least trying once a week to bridge that divide. It’s not always perfect. But it sure does help!
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
This is an opportunity to train ourselves in our marriages to spend time together.
Are you taking it?
I dare you. 🙂 Dare you to think about this, try this, think about how it will work for you and then DO IT!
And share in the comments ideas for free or cheap at home date nights. Let’s get some great ideas for wives and moms to add to their arsenal!!
So glad you’re here today!
Be sure to check out The Respect Dare blogging team – Nina, author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband and Debbie, especially for parents of teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings, and you can subscribe to me in the sidebar. And connect with me on twitter @LeahHeffner and on faceboook on The Respect Dare community page.
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