Friday, November 11, 2011

Reclaiming Date Night -- At Home

Before marriage, Philip and I went on our Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend along with several other engaged Catholic couples.  We received a lot of great advice, but some points stick out more than others.  We keep revisiting this point:  Keep your priorities straight.  Your order of priorities should be:  
  1. God
  2. Your Marriage
  3. Your Children
  4. Everything Else
These pictures from our nuptial Mass pretty well sum up that point.  
    Receiving a blessing on the crucifix that hangs in our home.  We brought it with us on our honeymoon to Rome to be blessed by Pope Benedict XVI when he blessed our marriage.

    Having our children has been a tremendous, life-changing blessing, and we both agree that we wouldn't trade our "old married couple" life for anything.  Unfortunately, we've gotten into the bad habit of putting the kids and their needs before our marriage.  It's easy to do that when you have two kids under two in diapers!  They need us, they have a lot of needs, and we love them, so we try to do everything we can to make them happy.  The problem is that Philip and I need each other, too.  We need to make sure we're giving the best of ourselves to each other and not just whatever is leftover from the busy day.  We want our children to know that we still love each other very much romantically. 

    Evenings always seem to go by in a blur.  Philip gets home from the hospital (unless he's working the night shift), we have dinner, I clean up the dishes while Philip gives the kids baths, Janie gets a goodnight story after brushing teeth, Janie goes to bed, Philip works on something from the "honey do" list on the fridge while I close up the kitchen for the night, Walt gets his bottle, and Walt goes to bed.  By the time we have the kids' bedtime routine done, we have an hour together before we go to bed so that we can function the next day.

    We've been lazy about our time together lately.  It's a lot easier to watch a favorite t.v. show on the couch rather than do something that will actually enrich our marriage.  Cuddling together and relaxing is, of course, a great thing.  However, if it's the only solo time you have together and you're spending it staring at a t.v., it probably isn't a good thing.  We always make an effort to have good conversation throughout the evening, but it's not always a possibility with the interruptions that happen with the kiddos.  Additionally, both of us have evening commitments at least two days of the week, so this time has become even more limited and, therefore, even more precious.

    We decided that we need to do something proactive to strengthen our marriage and our time together.  The natural conclusion is that we need more date nights to reconnect.  We're not in a financial position to be able to go out each week and get a babysitter, so we came up with the next best thing:  a scheduled weekly date night at home.

    We have declared that Thursday night is our new date night.  We haven't worked out all of the details yet, but we're glad to have this special night to look forward to each week.  I came up with some things I can see us doing on date night:
    • picnic in the living room
    • get really dressed up for each other (wear real clothes that have zippers or buttons instead of sweats and a t-shirt AND wear full makeup!)
    • make a fancy cocktail we've never had before
    • dinner for two by candelight in the dining room
    • make a playlist, turn the living room into a dance hall, and see if we remember anything from our dance lessons
    • make a family "time capsule"
    • bake a really indulgent dessert
    • create a video diary for our kids
    • plan a future trip (even if it's only imaginary until we can afford it!)
    • watch a fun movie on Netflix and theme the evening around it (the meal, drinks, dessert, what you wear, etc.)
    • design our dream home
    • play a board game and put a bet on it
    • take the night off from cooking and get our favorite takeout
    • bust out the Wii and become hardcore gamers for the night
    Do you do something like this with your spouse?  What fun things have you done?  Do you have anything you'd add to this list?

    Lovebirds During Our Dating Days of College
    I can't wait to date my husband each week!

    1 comment:

    1. Although my hubby and I don't have kids yet, I still understand what you mean. Even with just the two of us, we get preoccupied with other things sometimes. It's hard to remember to nurture your relationship during the everyday routine. With work, kids, school, church, cooking, chores, etc. by the end of the day most of us are wore out. Which makes it so easy to be "lazy" and spend your "quality time" just relaxing on the couch watching TV. But I agree with you that it is very important to make a point to do something special that will help you connect on a regular basis. We have had the at home date nights, and it works out really great! You can do something as simple as have a stimulating discussion about a current event. We have had an international beer tasting (just buy single bottles of some different brands), played board games,candlelit dinner, etc. Not tried it but you could even do like a wine & cheese thing or make an exotic meal you've never had before. I think whatever "activity" you do, as long as you take that little extra time together, it will be worth it. Remember that all couples struggle with this, but at least you recognize the value of staying connected. =) And you're right, we should praise our husbands! lol. Great blog, keep writing! Glad things are going great for you! =)

      Erica G