One of the best things Mark and I did for our marriage several years ago was to start dating again. There is something about getting ready, having a sitter come and leaving those sweet kiddos at home that breathes life back into a marriage.
Let’s face it mamas, when we are in the baby or toddler stage it often seems like we are in survival mode.
As precious as that season is, well…it’s also completely exhausting. There. Is. Never. A. Down. Moment. Ever. Until of course the kids are all in bed and you literally drag yourself over to the couch barely able to keep your beautiful but tired eyes open. Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly, but I have felt those days deeply at times.
When your kiddos get older it seems like the nights are all but consumed with homework, sports, activities (mama the chauffeur) and then of course, older kids equals later bedtimes. So, now it seems even less likely for quality time as a couple. Date nights are essential for your marriage.
God has called us to place our husbands first after Him. Sometimes it seems like quite an impossible goal to achieve, am I right? Let me encourage your heart. There is hope, sweet mamas! God has placed within us the Holy Spirit and because we have the same power in us that rose Jesus from the dead (amen!) we have that same power to make the right choices if we are surrendered to Him. Dating our husbands is one way to show our love for them and to build and strengthen our marriages.
About six years into our marriage we hit a wall. Yep, we found ourselves in a season of busyness with work, and the endless tasks that come with ordinary life with young kids; truly the list seemed endless. We created this pocket of living life together but not really investing beneath the surface needs of our marriage—thus, creating the wall. Thankfully, about that time, some wise friends encouraged us to start going out on dates again. We decided to put their advice into action and we've never looked back.
I am by no means an expert in the marriage realm but I will share how dating helped turn our marriage around. There are hundreds of different ways to make this work for your family, but I will give you my top four list of how to’s:
1. Choose your date night and stick to it! Every family is in a different season of life. Young kids, older kids, lots of activities, sports and varying bedtimes play a part in your decision. Pick a night that makes sense for your date night in regards to your family schedule. Try and keep that night protected from other activities.
2. Budget. Ah, the dreaded but necessary word. Knowing your budget will help decide your date night. Will you need a sitter? Make sure you budget for that. Will you go out four times a month or just every other week? Budget for that. Sit down and plan with your spouse. If you plan on just two nights out, make sure the other two nights a month are date nights at home. Protect that date night!
3. Be creative. Having fun on a date doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Babysitters can be expensive and there were seasons where we had no extra income for dates so I had to get creative. I traded babysitting with friends and also traded voice lessons for babysitting. Some nights we just went out to Barnes and Noble and sat and read and talked. Make it a priority and you will find a way to make it work.
4. Give your babysitter responsibility. In other words, let them feed the kids and put them down to sleep! It is all about getting a break and enjoying a “night off” from the sweet but ever consuming kiddos! You’ll thank yourself, I promise.
My top four might look different than yours, but it’s just meant to get you started if any of these particular obstacles have been getting in your way or seem insurmountable. You can do this!
So, here is your chance to encourage each other and impart the love. Comment on the post below and share ideas of your favorite date nights—with a cost or no cost. We would love to hear from you and so would our other readers!
Happy date nights to you!