Date Night

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I hung the outfit on the bar in my closet on Tuesday morning. I knew then that it was a sort of silly thing to do and I also knew that in this crazy life, it was highly possible that plans would go awry. Still, I hung it there. And now it's Friday. And tonight is Date Night. I think we're actually going to go.

I nearly forgot that my reliable "babysitter" would be in Steubenville, but Michael and Kristin can make a last minute save. The under-13 crowd approves of my choice of supervisors. Cross my fingers and click my heels, I think Mike and I are going to go out tonight.

This whole date night concept is kind of new to us. I think my husband was on a bit of a quest last year. He's very smart guy. After 25 years of nursing babies and very attached toddlers, he made his move. Not just dates, but trips. Actual "vacations" away. Three of them. In the same year! People, we never had a honeymoon. These were the first three trips of our marriage. We went to Miami and to Baltimore and then, in September, we spent a week in California. 

On these trips–particularly in California–I learned the language of date night. My only regret? That I didn't learn it sooner. Not day goes by even now that our trip to California doesn't come to mind. I think I actually said aloud to someone the other day that it was "life changing." And it was. It was a honeymoon, 25 years later. Now, we have mini honeymoons when we have a date night.

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In California, we visited Napa, and toured wineries. We watched the sun set over the water in Monterey. We took a leisurely drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and we meadered back on 17 Mile Drive. We went to Mass in an old Mission church. We met friends for dinner in an amazing restaurant. We hung out backstage at a Dave Matthews concert (haven't blogged that one yet, have I?). Mostly though, we had hours and hours of uninterrupted falling in love–again. 

Tonight's date night will take us to dinner and a Virginia winery we've grown to love since returning from Napa. We'll drive our own mountain roads and sip some local artistry. My guess is it's all going to feel very much like California did, deep down in our hearts. Sometimes, though, instead of sun setting over Monterey Bay, we sit at the lake in our neighborhood and watch the sun go down as we eat a carryout Chinese picnic.

Good enough. Really good, actually. 

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I spend so much time here talking about living an intentional life with our children. It occurs to me that Date Night is the best of intentionality at the heart of a marriage. Mabye it's not a night out. Maybe it's getting up a half hour earlier so that you can [try to] be up before the baby and have breakfast together out on the front steps. Maybe it's hiring a sitter or asking the empty-nester next door to just come for an hour after everyone's asleep so that you can share a dessert and a cup of chai on the patio of a local coffee shop. Slip out. Get away (even if it's just to the playhouse in the backyard).

Fall in love again.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Elizabeth,
    Oh how this brings tears to my eyes. We let money constraints and lack of trustworthy sitters get in the way of date nights for nearly ten years of our marriage but last year friends of ours told us they had a date night every Saturday night. Every. Saturday. Night. We were floored and admittedly a little jealous. But we were spurred into action and felt that we could do one night out a month. On our first few dates we would look at each other and laugh saying “I still really like you!” It has been medicinal for our relationship and while I have yet to lay out my own outfit, we do have a sitter scheduled for tomorrow night. We don’t even have plans. All we know is that we are going out, together, and that’s enough.
    Thanks for sharing this. I am sending it on to my husband too!

  2. Cindy says

    Have an utterly fabulous evening! A very wise couple here in FL told us about .4 years ago that they had always viewed their marriage as their first child, and as such, made a point to care for it. That really hit home for Chris and I, which is why we make a point to try and have at least one date night each month.

  3. Greg says

    Wonderful!!! Nice save by Mike and Kristin…I’m sure you’ll be returning them the favor some point in the future!

  4. says

    I like your outfit. Not only am I impressed that you hung it out….I’m impressed that you HAVE it! Hope you had a good date. I need one of those.

  5. Rachel says

    This sounds lovely, hope you have a great time! Please could you pray for those of us whose marriages are fragile and crumbling, I am one of these people. I have made huge efforts to arrange babysitters and date nights and we have and many( tricky as we have four who have tandem fed over 13 years and current ‘baby’ , 2 years old, has Down Syndrome and really needs his milk!). But we have managed. At present though, we haven’t a babysitter and haven’t been on our own for several months, not even at home with the children asleep (DS baby has sleep problems). It’s a huge strain, things don’t get discussed or sorted. My husband is constantly hostile. Faith doesn’t seem to be helping him. Although the lack of date night is not causing the tension, it helps to keep the air clear when it is happening regularly.
    Keep promoting this!

  6. Kathryn says

    My husband and I went on a canoe excursion to a local river last weekend, and a sitter watched our kids all day. It felt great to do something fun together that was so relaxing. It seems like a lot to spend $100 for babysitting, but then again, a night out with dinner and a movie is about the same.

  7. Laurie says

    We were given great advice when we were young marrieds with a few children by a couple with 7 children. They advised us to take out time every week for a date night, even if we couldn’t spend any money.
    We started by going out to the local taqueria for our “cheap date night”. We were gone for less than an hour, but we were able to spend that time together, often with a baby in tow.
    Now, after 32 years and 9 kids, we still have our weekly date night. It really helped me through some crazy times. I always had that time to look forward to.

  8. Kim says

    My husband and I have date afternoons. We spend every Sunday afternoon together. The older kids know they are sitting for their younger sister who is now six every Sunday for 2-3 hours. Its great! And open houses are fun and free!

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