Apparently I think that being 35.5 weeks pregnant is a good excuse to blog only once a week! ha! Anyway, with the addition of #4 coming in a mere 15 days, I thought I should get in a few good posts between now and then. I completely slacked off on finishing my series “31 Days of All Things Children,” so I wanted to wrap that up today with a post I think is really important.
Of course over the month of October, I talked pretty much non-stop about kiddos. But one super-important aspect of child rearing is drumroll– keeping your marriage alive, even when the kids are little!
I’m sure you’ve heard about this, read about this, etc, but it’s so important- yet you have to be very intentional about it. Those cute little kiddies can take over your life before you can say “date night.” And speaking of date night-
Any good (American) Christian marriage book you read will tell you that date night is necessary to having a happy marriage. I used to whole-heartedly agree with, and repeat this mantra. And while I do love a date night (or lunch date, as hubby and I have been doing lately), is it necessary that you MUST leave the house and go to a fancy restaurant or your marriage will surely die? No.
What got me to thinking about this was simply thinking outside of the US. My husband travelled to Africa a few years ago to the absolute middle of nowhere. (although they still have cell phones!) Are those people hitting up the local movie theater and Italian restaurant in pursuit of a good marriage? Um, no. They are working their hardest each day just to get water to their village so they can survive. So is God going to tell them their marriage is gonna fail just because they don’t leave the kids with a sitter a few hours each week? Again, negative.
I also began thinking about people right here in America. Some of them live nowhere near family that can help with childcare, and it’s hard trusting new people to keep your children. We moved from a small town where we had an endless supply of (free) baby-sitters- my parents, sister, aunts, cousins, girls in the youth group we led, ladies from church- you name it. When we moved to Houston we knew about 8 people and very fortunately for us, they were so kind to keep our children so we could go out. But if we had known no one, we probably would have gone a year or more without a “real” date.
So what can you do to keep the marriage alive without regular dates? (again, I am definitely pro-date if you have the time, money and sitters, but sometimes it’s next to impossible for the stars to align!)
-Put the kids to bed early and have a home date. We do this a lot during seasons when we don’t need to spend a lot of money on going out. We’ll skip their nap time, feed them an early dinner, put them to bed early (it won’t kill them, no matter what they say!) and then have dinner together. I usually fix something nice or we have one of our favorite “picnic dinners”- olives, good bread, and cheese. You can follow up with a movie on Netflix.
– Get up early. Yes, it is hard to do, but it’s nice when we get up before the kids and have time to have a cup of coffee together. It is especially nice when we go in the backyard early in the morning and enjoy the first few minutes of the day together.
-Run errands together. Even going to the grocery store can feel like a mini-date when your man is there with you! (although if you’re like me, you spend a LOT more at the grocery store when hubby is there!) Hit up a Sam’s club and you can even enjoy the free samples! 😉
With a little creativity, you can have some marriage-building time together without necessarily going on a “date.”