Sometimes people just say it better. That’s the case today. One of my closest friends, Kris Gurry—you know, the one who said my date night ideas were impractical—is making her case for the importance of date nights in marriage. I’m so thankful to have a friend who has a heart that beats in rhythm with mine. Everything she says is exactly how I feel, but she’s able to communicate it even better than I could. And with even more credibility! That’s right, Kris and her husband Peter have a weekly date night even though they have two children. I’ll hand it over now and let her share how they make it happen.
“It’s date night, Lady!” This is a phrase often repeated by my husband on Friday. It’s not so much a reminder as it is a reassurance. Before we even said “I do,” Peter, in all his fiancé wisdom, declared we would always have a regular date night—the idea, I’m sure, came from some marriage how-to guide. I don’t think either of us knew how central this would become to our relationship. Its regularity has given a rhythm to our week that grounds both us and our kids.
In our 5 years of marriage we’ve achieved one master’s degree, acquired 2 children, and begun the journey towards a PhD. Life has felt very, very full. I’m thankful for my husband’s foresight in establishing the mandate of a weekly day to celebrate our relationship. If it hadn’t happened before the responsibilities of marriage, family, and school took over, it would have been easy to dismiss it as impossible.
Date nights have been regular, yes, but flashy, no. I have gone through times feeling discontent with our predictability, petitioning my husband to try a new hobby together, or just being envious of the spontaneous romance of our friends. There is always the exception here and there, but our typical date night formula looks something like this: popcorn + movie. And not even a movie in a theater, where you should probably put on some lipstick and change out of your yoga pants! That would be a movie on our laptop with the popcorn popped on the stove, in my yoga pants and wool socks.
That equation certainly isn’t revolutionary in the dating realm, but there are several reasons why it is perfect for us. A hot night out at a chic restaurant or a carefully arranged picnic on the beach doesn’t feel feasible right now on a student budget with two toddlers 2 years old and under. Just getting out the door to get library books back on time feels like an accomplishment! The critical thing for us is that we have made a space for dating in our week, and we will fill in that blank with whatever our life allows in each season. For this season it is popcorn and a movie on our couch.
Dinner on Friday isn’t lingered over with the family, and the bedtime routine with our two girls has no frills attached. It goes without saying that our time together is our number one priority that night! We don’t watch TV together as a habit during the week, so sitting on the couch together, with hot, salty, buttery popcorn, icy cold cider, and sleeping children feels about as good as it gets. And isn’t that what a great date should inspire, the feeling that there is nothing else you’d rather do, nowhere else you’d rather be, no one else you’d want by your side?
Dating your spouse is critical to a healthy marriage, placing them on a pedestal above the mundane necessities of life. Do not allow unrealistic expectations or busy schedules to be a barrier to investing in the relationship that you have committed your whole life to. Find what is practical, affordable, and enjoyable to you, and make it a habit!
I’m trying to persuade Kris to contribute more to our blog because I feel like she has a wealth of experience and wisdom to share. So, hopefully you’ll be hearing from her again soon! If not, I’ll just secretly take notes during our Skype dates and then share with you guys what I learn.