Below I will share my dating (my husband) journey: Shattered Expectations and ways to make it work!
This Valentine’s Day give your spouse the gift of committing to date each other. Come up with dates that work for you and your schedule.
We have been married for 10 years this May! Yay, that brings tears to my eyes as I think about the life I have been blessed with and the challenges we’ve had to overcome. Only by the grace of God, seriously!
We have tried implementing date nights since our first year of marriage but we had a lot to learn along the way. Honestly, we are still in process because just as we come up with a system our schedule changes. Sometimes our “date night plan” would work for months at a time and at other times our plan would just flop.
As you read along keep in mind, I have 3 boys under the age of 8 and life can quickly get chaotic here in our home. I say this so you don’t roll your eyes and think well you are a newly wed with no kids, of course you go on dates. Also, I say this because we have gone through stages in our life when it just wasn’t possible and we made the most of it by coming up with creative ways to play at home to stay connected. Above all, as you read this don’t feel guilty instead be encouraged or take this as a challenge. Figure out what works best for you and your spouse!
Before I dive in, this is post is a part of our 14 day series – 14 Days of Busy Moms Dating their Husbands. You can stop by here to see the schedule and all of the amazing post from our 20 awesome mom bloggers.
When my husband was my boyfriend he came up with some awesome dates and I mean he was really creative! One night he took me by the lake and we sat out by the cool water in the hot South and enjoyed the breeze, while we talked, smooched, laughed and my favorite part–danced under the stars! Another time he took me out on the river in a canoe and he had a picnic ready for us. He even had some romantic music set up with speakers. I can go on and on about all of our creative dates but you get the point, he knew how to woo me.
All that to say I was shocked a year into our marriage when the fun dates stopped. But it wasn’t like only the fun dates stopped and we had boring movie dates, but they all together stopped. I know things change, life changes, people change but still I was taken aback. As time went on in our marriage his love grew for me, as mine did for him–it had nothing to do with love. Maybe we started to take each other for granted and in the midst of the busyness we just let that part of our life go.
No matter the reason I knew we had to figure out a new way to date, now that we were married, with more responsibilities and a child on the way. To top it off, he was a first year teacher in an extremely hard inner city school. So the stress and changes didn’t help the process.
At that time I didn’t get it. I didn’t realize all this change would mean change in how we would date each other. All I felt was hurt at first I didn’t say anything and I walked around on Friday evenings feeling frustrated with his lack of motivation to plan a date night for us.
As with all things, a little heart to heart and some real communication I was able to express my thoughts and frustrations in this area. We were able to move forward but still with a huge learning curve for both of us.
In my dating my spouse journey, I learned my lessons the hard way.
I needed to adjust my expectations to our reality. I needed to look at our current situation and phase of life and not what I romantically envisioned.
My spouse is not a mind reader. You want some thing to be done in a certain way then explain that. You don’t want a movie night for every single date night then let them know. Come up with ideas together and schedule them in.
I used to think it was HIS responsiblity to plan our date nights. I was crushed when another week would roll in and once again no date night. I took it personal because after all if he loved me enough, he would remember, right. That mindset had to change if I didn’t want to end up a bitter old wife. But I thought he is supposed to woo me, right? WRONG! We are supposed to woo each other. We decided to take turns planning our date night. One of us plans the night and the other gets the sitter and then we would switch. Up to this day, this has worked the best for us.
I expected weekly date nights. But it wasn’t happening with all that we had going on. After three years of trying weekly date nights we realized we are not weekly date night people. So we decided that twice a month worked best for our schedule.
I thought date nights involved going out. It never dawned on me that we could have a date night in. Either after the kids went to bed or we could drop them off at the sitters so we could enjoy an evening at home.
I expected special nights not dinner and a movie dates. Quickly I realized our budget nor time could manage “special” date nights. I was honest with him from the beginning and told him I don’t do movie date nights. Movies don’t connect us nor do we get to know each other in a deeper way. But even without a cheap movie night we managed to get creative and stay within our budget. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special, it can be whatever interest both of you. We have done (It’s your night) date night and everything we do is chosen by the other person.
Day nights can happen in the day. I actually love our Saturday afternoon dates because we are able to enjoy the outdoors. We go hiking or biking and enjoy a picnic or ice cream together.
There’s never a perfect time. Don’t wait til the baby gets out of the nursing stage, or she doesn’t cry anymore when you leave her, or when he’s not so tired from work, or when you’re not so exhausted from being pregnant, or…… Because before you know it, you’ve grown old and distant. Please make time to connect and have real conversations, laugh together and play together.
Date night will happen. Wanting something really bad doesn’t make it a reality–action does! So go schedule in your date nights for the month. Sit down together and look at your schedules and make a commitment to play together. Playing together is not an option if you want to stay together in a healthy marriage.
Play and love deeply connect us!”
There will always be excuses, but I hope you choose to seize the day. When you don’t have the energy to seize anything, give yourself grace and keep plugging along. Here are some post that encouraged me by real women who have had their share of struggles.
I learned that date nights are NOT “deal with issues” night. Maybe you can set a time to deal with pressing issues on a certain day but don’t do it on your date night. There was a time that I always made our date night a time to discuss what he was doing wrong, how we could improve, etc… and that only made him dread our time together. Enjoy yourself and save your date night for playing and enjoying each other.
It is important to set some guidelines for your dates as you discover your preferences but be flexible. For example, as I mentioned above, I don’t do movies as date nights, but I will do a movie night for him if it’s a movie he has been dying to watch.
Why date each other?
Marriage is an amazingly beautiful and hard journey to embark on. I think back to our most challenging “phases of life” and I can’t even imagine walking through the “torrential storms” alone without him. So hand in hand we move forward sometimes at each others throat, sometimes merrily skipping through life but most importantly always trying to enjoy our little blessings. I don’t think I would be able to say this if we had not stopped to reconnect and nourished our relationship along the way with our dates.
Reason #1 – To connect. I was reading a blog and the blogger stated that she didn’t believe in date nights but when she went on to describe what she did it was dating her husband. So if you’re against using the term “dating my spouse” then call it something else but don’t stop making intentional time to connect just because you’re against the term “date nights” or leaving your home to connect.
One of the most important lessons that I learned early on in my marriage was this,
“Marriage and parenthood are filled with “phases and stages” so learn to blossom in them.”
I share this with you because you may find yourself in a challenging phase or stage of life right now but don’t give up. I encourage you to grow in the midst of it! There is beauty and strength to be found at the end of the struggle. You both come out stronger when you become deliberate and fight for your marriage. Believe me the challenging times in my life have bonded us in ways we would not have ever imagined.
Reason #2 – You need each other. Not just a roomie version but you need to make intentional time for your friend and soul mate.
Reason #3 Your children need to know that you make time for each other not just for them. Set an example for them of what it looks like to deliberately love your spouse. Let them see what it looks like to play and enjoy your spouse.
Reason #4 When we stop working on our relationship we start growing apart.
I share over here Date Nights: How to Make them Work and Stick (plus calendar sticker printables)
The other lovely bloggers joining in this series are (to see the schedule of post go here): Kids Activities Blog, My Nearest And Dearest, Pleasantest Thing, Play Dr Mom, Glittering Muffins, Inspired By Family Mag, Mama Miss, Life At The Zoo, Toddling Into Madness, Sense of Wonder, Educators Spin on It, Little Aritsits, Home Learning Journey, Frogs And Snails and Puppy dog Tails, Pragmatic Mom, The Good Long Road, Mamas Like Me, Kids Stuff World , Toddler Approved and Adventures in Mommydom
Other post you may enjoy:
Loving Your Man When It Hurts Series -Real Women Sharing from all stages of life
DIY Paper Bag Lanterns for a quick romantic dinner
DIY Valentines Day Photo Holder – Simple and Beautiful