Saturday, October 04, 2008

Date Night

Did you know that you are supposed to have a date night with your husband every single week? That is the mandate of some Christian marriage organizations. No doubt it sounds good and our marriage should be a priority. But I have a problem.

The problem is we do not have the time or money to have a date night every week or even every month. Do you know how much it costs us to have a babysitter for the evening? I am tired of hearing the preaching on how important it is when in reality it is not practical. Not only should you have a date night each week, but it should be something special that you put thought into, like tickets to a concert or a play. Come on, obviously these people do not live in my world!

I know there are some people who find this very important. And if you want to do it and can, that's great. But I don't appreciate feeling like I have a sub-standard marriage just because we don't date. That's right - I'll say it again: We don't date! We would love to, but it's just very difficult right now.

We don't have family around to help us with our kids. We have 5 kids so it's not that easy to even get a babysitter (believe me, I've tried!) . Usually when we get a sitter, it is so we can go to a wedding, wedding rehearsal or funeral. It's not exactly a date, although we are in the car alone for at least ten minutes. And after a busy week of going in separate directions it doesn't always seem like the best thing for our family for us to take off again.

So do we have a bad marriage? I don't think so. We used to have a lot more time together and in a few years, we will again. This season in our parenting and ministry is high demand and we have to take advantage of the moments we have. We enjoy a campfire in the backyard with the kids or a walk through Jay Cooke State Park. We enjoy each other's company after the kids are in bed. Maybe we play Scrabble and drink coffee if we are still conscious or watch a movie. A lot of times we are cleaning up, but we can talk and connect.

I've been thinking about how the key to being a happy Mom is to be "organic". Be able to accomplish what you need to with your kids around. I have a new exercise routine that I do in my driveway. I look totally ridiculous but the kids can be right around me playing. They are happy to play and I'm glad to get it done. I have Bible Study and have people over for lunch with my kids underfoot. If I wait for a time when they are not around, it will never happen.

I think it is the same with marriage. Right now we have to find ways to connect and date that doesn't involve grandios evenings at the orchestra or long quiet dinners. Sometimes when Mike comes home for lunch the little girls are sleeping and we can talk over our lunch. Sometimes we take the whole family to Applebee's because we have a gift card and between the screams and the spilled drinks, we have an enriching evening because we're with our family and that's something we are both passionate about.

Last weekend, my parents watched the kids so we could go to a conference. Although we still came home at night, those times away are priceless. I know they are needed, I just don't think it happens as often as we would like. I'm not going to feel guilty about that. I'm just going to embrace the time we do have and sneak in as much "marraige" time as we can. We realized that in a few years, Grant and Jenna will be old enough to watch the kids for a little while. We will be able to go on a walk or a hospital visit much easier then. But for now, we'll have to settle for Scrabble or a movie or a I'm asleep on the couch as soon as we put the kids to bed night. That's just the kind of night we both need sometimes too.

These Are Days . . . To Remember?

Do you know the song? I'd like to have it as the soundtrack for my life. However, a lot of days these days don't seem worth remembering. Days where I don't leave the house and I wonder why I bother to shower. The only person I will probably see today outside my family is the guy pumping our septic tank!

I really wanted to go with Mike today to see a dear man from our church that is in hospice. I just love this couple! But of course, there is no one to watch our kids. So here I am stuck at my "job" again.

I am reading a book called "Everyday Talk" by John Younts. I have no idea who he is, but we got the book free at the conference we went to last weekend. It's main point is that we need to use everyday opportunities to share Christ with our kids. They aren't dressed up, out and about days. Just Saturdays at home in my running clothes - and I am not planning on going running! When I am playing with the kids or doing laundry are the times that I am able to teach and talk with my kids. And there are a lot of days like this in comparison to big events or special days.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again." (NLT)

I need to have my heart fixed on Jesus and his word. And I need to use all the many precious days God has given me with my kids for His glory. If I am always busy and out and about it is harder for these times to come.

So these ARE days to remember! I need to get my focus right and be thankful for days like today.