Saturday, August 16, 2008

Family Friday: Get out and Date!

This is for those who are married, are you dating? If not, get out there and do it...with your spouse of course. There is no doubt that marriage has become as disposable as everything else in today's society. Is it not working the way you thought it would? Throw it out. It no longer works? Throw it out. You no longer like the color/size/shape? Throw it out. I am pretty convinced that one of the underlying reasons this is happening is that parents have chosen to revolve their families around their children and not around themselves. Children are by all means very important and their health and safety should be our first concern, but there are so many parents that also feel that their children are entitled to every little thing they want. Therefore, quite often, our marriages fall apart and we no longer know or even like the other adult we are living with.

So what can we do about it? I suggest making a regular date night with your spouse. A real date, one where you get dolled up and get a sitter, and go out. Strive for once a week, but even 1-2 times a month is great. There may be times you cannot get a sitter and that is ok, just have a "home" date after the kids go to bed. There may also be the occasional week/month when you absolutely cannot manage to fit a date in with all the other things you have to do. I challenge you to find a way, even if it means hiring a sitter and then going to the laundromat/grocery store/etc with your spouse.

Is money an issue? That's ok too. Dates do not need to be expensive. Go to a restaurant just for a drink and/or dessert, better yet share the dessert. Matinee movies are much less expensive than later shows. THere are even "free" dates that you can go on. Pack up a lunch and picnic in the park/beach/back yard. Volunteer somewhere together. Stay home and cook dinner together. Pop some popcorn and watch a movie together, either one you own or rent one from the library (many have DVD's you can check out for free). Go to the library. Stargaze. Can't afford a sitter? Find another couple to swap babysitting with or see if there is not something you could offer in exchange for babysitting. I have a friend who will babysit in exchange for a homemade dinner. I just make a casserole and send it over on the night she watches the kids. If you just cannot find anyone, hold your dates at home, but only after the kids are bed for the night or napping, and try to get out at least occasionally.

Do not worry about the kids feeling cheated. They may at first, especially if they are used to be all and end all of your universe, but they are growing to realize you are a person and that marriage and the marriage partnership are important. They will also grow to feel more secure because they can see that the core (you and your spouse) of the family is growing stronger.

Also, do not let any other thing, such as work or other family members, get in the way of date night. Make date night a priority, like any other important appointment. A quote I like to keep in mind when I am feeling overwhelmed is by a man named J.E. McCulloch, "No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home." Let's do our best to ensure that our homes are successful.

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