If I had to look back over our marriage and point to one decision that changed the course of our lives, I would have to choose “Date Night.”
Where It All Started
Early on in our marriage—in the midst of crazy busyness—I went to my husband and made an appeal for a date night. In concept, he was all for us having time together (as most couples are). But in the busy reality of life he could not see how a weekly night alone was possible. Nonetheless, we agreed and started making it happen.
A Permanent Place on the Calendar
Starting date nights happened in fits and starts. We would have a couple of date nights then other things would be given priority.
We had a giant calendar where each of our kids had a different color to represent them. I asked for a color to represent us as a couple; and when we both decided that this was a priority (by adding it to the board), our kids also made the change. The kids started saying things like:
- “That event is on date night so maybe our friend’s parent could drive us.”
- And “We can’t do that; it is on date night.”
That was a major shift.
The Goal in Marriage
Having four kids, I understand the need to get things done. It does sound reasonable for mom to take some tasks and some of the kids and dad to other tasks and the other kids so that more will get done that day. But is “getting more done” the goal?
The goal in marriage is not to take kids to the most activities or get the most tasks done. The goal is to represent Christ and the Church. If Christ goes one way and the Church goes the other that would be a disaster. I am not going to pretend that I thought this out clearly back then. I just saw that we were so busy doing things that we did not have time for us as a couple.
More Than a Night
Date night is more than just a night.
- It is about intentionally choosing to draw closer instead of drifting apart
- It is about taking a stand against the busyness of life that says it is more efficient for couples to divide and get more done
Date night became more than an event; it became a mindset that we were going to be intentional about moving toward each other when most everything would have us moving apart. Once we started thinking like this, we made other little decisions along the way that kept us together more than apart: little things like running errands and grocery shopping together or choosing volunteer activities that we could do together.
What This Taught Our Kids
We did not know it then, but we were teaching our kids something very important about marriage. It wasn’t until over fifteen years later that we understand this impact.
One Christmas we got a gift from one of our sons and daughters-in-law: a six month “date box.” Once a month we would get mailed a “date in a box.” The card that came with the gift explained the significance to them. It said, “To our shining example of what love is all about and how to treasure time together. To further make time for each other in a fun, loving way. We Love you!”
Does adding a date night to a busy schedule fix everything? No. But I think that we need to regularly take an honest look at our calendars and ask each other if our lives reflect the truth that our marriages are supposed to be one of the highest priorities in our lives.
This article was originally published at https://www.yourchurch.com/date-night-changed-our-marriage/.