As a married couple, The Hubs and I figured something out a long time ago: Date night is a necessity for us. We need to be together without interruption from children twice a month. We’ve been very blessed with affordable babysitters since we moved here almost four years ago. I actually prayed that God would provide us with a good babysitter who we could rely on and trust. Through a friend, God gave us not one, but two wonderful girls — twins!
They were only twelve and a half at the time. I’ll never forget the first time they babysat. It was the day after Christmas and they showed up at our door in the most adorable matching outfits and sunny dispositions. They had back-packs filled with games and toys. They even had a list of questions printed out on a piece of paper where one of them took notes as I answered them. When we got home from our outing, The Hubs asked them how much they charge an hour. “Five dollars, sir.” “Five dollars each?” “No sir, $2.50 each.” On top of all this, their parents drop them off and pick them up at our house. It’s dreamy, really.
I recognize it’s not the norm, and that many couples have a very difficult time finding reliable child care. Before we found the twins, we had the blessing of “The Baby Whisperer.” Adeline was a former student, numbered among my “favorite class.” She is a special, special girl. We trusted her whole-heartedly and always appreciated the distance she would drive to watch our little ones so we could get out of the house.
But we haven’t always been blessed with a reliable babysitter. There was a period in our marriage when we had to rely on family and close friends to watch the kids. It wasn’t ideal, but we took what we could get. During that time, we would often have our date night at home. We would put our one or two babies to bed, get dressed up a bit, put on some music, light some candles, and prepare a special dinner together.
On our first anniversary, we were expecting our first child, so we didn’t have the concern of finding a babysitter. And still, we spent the evening at home, and it was perfect. Sometimes the simplest dates are the most special.
I’ve been chatting with a few girlfriends lately, asking them what they think about date night.
~Date night makes marriage joyful.
~Make room in your budget and your schedule for it. You won’t be sorry!
~In the end, putting your marriage first means putting your family first.
~Even if you’re the only one who needs time away, make the arrangements and ask your spouse out on a date. How romantic!
~We make room in our budget for our children’s activities and educations. Why shouldn’t we make room in our budgets for our marriages?
I had a conversation once with a mom of 12. She told me that she and her husband would much rather hang out at home and read together or attend a talk at church than go out on a romantic date. They had always always been this way, she said. As a couple, they know what they need, and what they don’t require to maintain friendship and intimacy. For The Hubs and me, it is a conversation we have periodically. We discuss if the upcoming date needs to be a night out, or if we just need to veg on the couch and watch a movie together, or just to sit in the office with our laptops and chat while we catch up on emails.
No matter how you slice it, marriages are under attack these days. The way I see it, we married couples need to protect and defend our marriages. One way to do that is regular date night, beginning with dropping by Church to pray together in front of the Blessed Sacrament, or maybe praying a rosary in the car on the way to your destination. A date night begun with prayer is always a blessed evening together.
To help get your information organized for a night out with your honey, check out Jen’s Babysitter Notes from IHeart Organizing. She wrote a blog post all about how she keeps family info organized for the babysitters. Good stuff.