Many magazine articles encourage "date night" once a month. We've tried. We've failed. We have seen how, at different seasons in our marriage, special times together happen in different ways. Let me give you a few examples:
When our girls were little we actually had more frequent "date nights." Granted, they were not once a month! We had some "adopted" grandparents who were willing to give free baby sitting, and we were free for an evening "on the town!" Now, that special evening sometimes consisted of McDonalds and a movie at the $2 theater or it may have included a fancier dinner and a visit to a viewing at a funeral home. Whatever the circumstances, I was determined to have a night out with my "preacher!" Oops, what I meant to say was my sweetheart! It was fun, plus it helped curb any jealous thoughts when my husband had coffee or lunch with a parishioner in town, and I was home with the girls dining on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It helped to make me feel loved and an important part of my husband's life. Mind you, he never did anything to make me question his love or loyalty, it was Satan working on me and my insecurities.
As the girlsbegan school, "dates" were different but easier to accomplish. We switched from evenings out to "mid-day rendezvous" (sounds romantic, huh) in town for lunch. If we had gift certificates on hand, we would "pig out," if we had a "tight" week, we'd see how cheap we could eat while still enjoying just being together!
Our girls are now old enough to stay home by themselves and often choose not to attend "boring" open houses, birthdayparties, and wedding receptions. Yes, most of these types of functions are "work," but we try to incorporate a feeling of "you and me" into the evening. I actually take days off from my job to enjoy my husband's day off so we can drive to the mountains or ride a long-distance to a hospital. We often stop at a favorite store or restaurant before going home. We enjoy the quiet time of simply being together during the ride. It's not the "traditional" date, but it allows us time to catch up on each other's lives and keep the team spirit alive.
I don't care where we eat, what we do or where we go; I just want—and need—to be with my husband to continue developing "us!" Our relationship at work and church must develop so we can continue to be effective in the ministry together. Our relationship as mother and father continues to grow as our girls grow. Unfortunately, the "Annette and Denny" relationship can be shoved to the side without realizing it. I want my husband to not only be my "boss" (I work part-time as the church secretary), my pastor, the girls' father, but also to be my best friend and confidant! That takes work!
Do you take time in your marriage to continue developing your relationship as husband and wife, as yokemates working side by side for the Lord? Do you pray aboutyour priorities and try new approaches that might work in the different seasons of your life?
As Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says: "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." God wants to continue "growing" you—all the facets of your life. Make sure you're allowing Him to "carry on!"