Several months back I started an experiment in “The Art of Dating In” in which my hubby and I attempted to plan evenings (dates) at home after the kiddos were in bed.
In my opinion, epic fail.
And here are my reasons why.
One thing my husband and I try to do is plan out time together each day to just “be” together. That is already usually after the kids are tucked in bed. We snuggle up in our room and watch some of our favorite tv shows & even a movie now and then. It’s great down time. Just hanging out with my best friend in a very similar fashion to when we were dating. But this, my friends, is not a date.
This too, is how our dating in experiment became. Basically the same routine, only snuggled on the sofa with fresh baked cookies. And this is why I feel it failed. You see, the kids were still there. If they decided to “need” something, they were completely able to get up, interrupt our date, and then whine for a while about not having a cookie too. We were not removed from the distractions of home. When I would return our empty saucer to the kitchen, I found myself reminded of the undone dishes. No matter how hard I would try, that took away all relaxation and lessened enjoyment of the evening. It just was not a “date.”
Don’t get me wrong…I understand (believe me, I really understand) that funds don’t always allow for a dinner & a movie, plus the cost of a sitter, etc. We’ve lived that for a LONG time, and being in ministry, we continue to live it every day. Our actual “away from home” dates are fairly spread out, compared to the recommended at least bi-monthly marriage advice you might get. We just can’t afford it. What we can do is seek out friends who are in the same place. LONGING for a night out, but honestly can’t afford a sitter. Date swap my friends. And still on a small budget…it’s doable. Sometimes we have an inexpensive meal…sometimes we share a meal depending on the restaurant. We walk & window shop. We TALK! We DREAM! We enjoy each others company. That’s the point. Enjoying each other.
But I find, my sanity is better kept when we can be away from the normal surroundings. Even if only for 30 minutes.
I also have this same mindset with vacationing. Lately the popularity of a “stay-cation” has been growing. I can’t wrap my mind around how anyone can find this relaxing? We don’t vacation yearly (although I wish we could). We simply can’t afford it…yet. (Getting back to our Dave Ramsey training & getting started building our savings…woohoo!) Anyway, I would go insane with the idea of stay-cationing as my “refresh our family time”. Especially, again, in a ministry role. My husband definitely wouldn’t be “away” from work. The everyday parts of being at home would still be part of that daily routine. Sorry, but no “vacation” in that. There is something to be said about not having to clean the bathrooms or put away laundry or wash those dishes when on vacation. Yes, I know it all has to be done when you get home…but if you are at home the temptation is staring you in the face everyday. And you know as well as I do that you WILL do it. (And please don’t think I mean we’re slobs on vacation…I do have to keep an amount of tidiness to keep sanity.) I also find it a LOT easier to “not answer the phone” and “unplug” when I’m away on a vacation that has been paid for and will NOT be cancelled mid trip. We’ve promised each other that vacations (which don’t happen often) are for family bonding time & work WILL wait. That’s hard to do when you’re home and work can knock on the door…seriously, would you pretend they aren’t there…no.
Anyway, those are my ponderings for today.
If you have mastered either of these two methods of dating/vacationing, PLEASE share. 🙂