A real life friend who also read my blog asked me why I spend so much time planning dates for my husband. My quick response was because I love him and I love spending time with him. But after a few days of mulling over our conversation I realized that's not the whole story.
I date my husband because I want to save our marriage. Mr. R. and I are at the point in our marriage where things are not easy. We have demanding jobs, active social lives, volunteer commitments, and Piper to take care of. We have been married for six years and dated each other for another 4 before marriage. Our married life can get rather mundane at times. This year we also found out a few of our married friends were choosing to separate or divorce. And that scared me.
I don't want to wake up one morning and realize I don't know the man I married. I also don't want to wake up and realize I am bored with him or bored with my marriage. If you know me well you have probably heard the horrid tale of our first year of marriage. Mr. R. and I were both in grad school, working opposite schedules, and dirt poor. We fought over everything... money, sex, groceries, dinner, school, you name it, we fought about it. I remember calling my Mom numerous times a week begging her for advice or money for a divorce lawyer. My Mom was the one who first suggested a date night. She said we needed to sit down and share a meal together. Even if we didn't talk being the in same space would provide some of the intimacy we were lacking.
A few weeks later, when we both felt our marriage couldn't possibly get any worse we did just that. We cooked dinner in our tiny apartment kitchen and we ate. And miraculously we started talking. We talked about our jobs, our days, grad school stresses and our families. We then started to have date night once a week, sometimes a meal eaten at our kitchen table, sometimes an episode of How I Met Your Mother watched on our couch, and sometimes out at a real restaurant. Our married life improved. And by our actual 1st year anniversary we celebrated surviving our 1st year of married life. We ate dinner at the Olive Garden and promised to keep date night alive weekly. Date night and adopting our two dogs saved our marriage.
Fast forward 5 years later and date night is still alive and kicking. If we are being honest I will say we dropped the ball with weekly date nights this past year. Sometimes exhaustion and work took over and we pushed date night aside. Our marriage didn't crumble or spiral out of control because of a few missed dates, but I will say the intimacy suffered. The nitpicking arguments came back.
This year I am taking time to reconnect with my husband, my daughter, and myself. I make sure to exercise everyday (for my on health and sanity), to plan an activity with my daughter twice a week, and to spend one on one time with my husband.
If you read my blog you know that I am pretty liberal with the term date night. I think anything you and your spouse do out of the normal daily routine can be a date. That means me slipping into my little black dress for a candlelit dinner at our dining room table can be a date. Or a trip to the beach on a Monday night can be a date. Or even something as simple as hot chocolate on the couch with the TV off and the baby in bed... yes, that is a date too.
If I look at today's calendar I see a new lesson to teach, two meetings to attend, a pediatrician appointment for Pip, and date night. Date night is sometimes the highlight of my day. Date night sometimes makes the week go by faster. Date night is sometimes the ONLY time I actually get to talk with my husband. I hope you will continue reading this blog and that we can pass on the date night torch to you. I am telling you, it will rock your world.