Monday, May 1, 2017

Date Your Mate Month

We’re still celebrating, people. And I found out this is “Date Your Mate Month”. Goodness. I hope you’re not dating anyone else. It is true, though, that sometimes we forget to date our husbands. I don’t know about you, but I want Jason to feel as if he would marry me all over again. Not just because of our history together, but because of the woman he knows today. So I date him! I pursue him. I love on him.

Anyone who knows me knows I love date night! I always have. And I have loved our date nights at home far more than date nights around town. At home date nights started for us when our kids were little. Even when we had grandparents or sitters to watch them, sometimes it just felt better to all stay at home. Since our kids weren’t allowed to have tv’s in their rooms, on our date nights we would put a portable TV/VCR combo in their room (ahh, the days before laptops! Anyone? Anyone?) and give them movies to watch. Yes, plural. Don’t judge me.

And mommy and daddy would have a wonderful date night without worrying about what time to get the kids there, what time to pick them up, how much to pay the sitter, and will they be okay. We would still dress up, we would still have a fabulous meal, we would still have meaningful conversation. It fit for us. This is when we found that we loved cooking with each other, and it became a lifelong hobby! This is when we found those two people who fell in love with each other all those years ago were still there.

As the years went by, date night at home still seemed to fit. During our kids’ teenage years, we began having date night on Wednesdays, because that is when they went to youth group. Oh, bless the Lord for Wednesdays. It was wonderful! The house to ourselves! Fancy food and OUR music and no one to say stop dancing with each other in the kitchen!

Then, sigh, the little birdies left the nest, as all little birdies do. And at home date nights are still a thing. Now it fits for different reasons. We live in a small community where we know a lot of people, which is a great joy. My husband is a pastor to a lot of people, which is also a great joy. But when you are trying to have intimate conversation and stare at the endless possibilities in each other’s eyes and have some sexy flirt time about what will happen when you get home, and you hear the scrape of a chair and a “Mind if we join you?!”, the great joy evaporates, not to mention the sexy flirt time. So date night at home comes to the rescue again! We can have all those loving intimate moments at home, alone, as it should be. Bonus, now when we go out to eat, we can truly say, “Pull up a chair!” to anyone who comes along and mean it because we are sure to get our quiet couple time together on our date night at home, which has migrated to Thursday nights.

Yes, we schedule date night. Wednesday night stuck for a season, we’ve moved it for a new season. Who knows what your night might be! Whatever is a good fit for your life, for your season, for your week.

Sometimes I will plan something fun (more ideas later!), sometimes Jason will plan something fun. We always cook dinner together. We always look nice for each other.  We always shut the entire outside world out for a few hours. Even our kids know you don’t call home on date night. It is just me and my husband, focused on each other, for one amazing night. And there’s something about putting a string of amazing nights together—you build an amazing marriage.

We do not have social media, but if we did, you would never see a post that said, “Having a great date night with my honey!” Why not? Because our phones are off. This is a one on one experience. I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down here.

Keeping date night a priority has been perhaps the best thing we have done for our marriage. There is ALWAYS a night every single week that we can connect, that we can be adults together, not solving the world’s problems or figuring out kid issues, or anything other than focusing on each other.

It's glorious.

I could give you a list of all the reasons this has been impractical. I could tell you all the reasons it shouldn’t have worked in various seasons of our marriage. But we did it anyway. We’ve saved money, saved sanity, and saved marital harmony by saving one night a week for each other.

Maybe this isn’t your thing—you’re a social butterfly and neeeeeeed to go out with your man! That’s wonderful! You be you and enjoy!! But for those of you who can’t seem to find any time to work on your marriage, what could it hurt to try this? You could start with two hours, once a month! Send the kids to their rooms with pizza and coke (oh, come on, they’ll be fine), a movie, and a timer. Threaten them with great punishment (Toilet cleaning! Weed pulling!) if they come out before the timer goes off. Then dress up in your sexiest outfit, put Justin Timberlake on Pandora, and text your husband a picture of what’s waiting for him at home. Let the date night begin!

I’ll be writing in future posts about date nights we’ve done—from the silly to the elaborate to the plain janes. And maybe you will try one or two! Let me leave you with this saying we have in our home: small investment, huge reward. A few hours a week, or every other week, invested in your marriage will bring you HUGE rewards for the rest of your life. Think it over. Ask God how this looks for your marriage! And make a personal plan to re-experience your husband as lover and best friend and groom in the coming weeks!