The keys are jingling and as the door opens the kids drop every toy they are playing with to run to the door and tackle their papa as he walks in. He has a sweet smile on his tired face and gives them great big hugs. He carries his many papers to grade and makes it down the hallway to lighten his load. I get a quick kiss and then we may get a few sentences in between the time of his arrival, dinner, brushing teeth, stories and then bedtime. As we take turns tucking in covers, giving ugga muggas (Daniel Tiger), and turning out lights – we close our sweet babies doors feeling happy but spent from the day's events. It's Friday night and when we used to spend our free nights planning extravagant (overpriced) dinners, concerts, movies – you name it… We now want nothing more than to curl up on the couch looking at our devices, watch tv and then fall asleep at 9:00.
It has never meant that I love Tyler any less or that I don't want to spend time with him – in fact I love him more now after nearly ten years of marriage and crave quality time by his side (after all it is my love language). Coincidently, this has become the most consuming time in our lives as a married couple because we no longer care only about ourselves, but for these precious babes we have the honor of raising. Ty works full time and then some while I stay home with the kids. It is natural to drift apart because of your tiredness and because you give so much of yourself while caring for smaller ones that depend on you for their every need. Which is why it is the most crucial time to be proactive and continue dating. This notion was much easier when babysitters, feedings and nightly wakings were not a part of the daily schedule. I am thankful every day for my children and to be their mama; with the blessing of children comes change and unique challenges when attempting to date your husband.
Tyler and I decided after our second child was born that we would start dating at home. We committed to 1 night a week (most often a weekend) and in addition we would honor our budget while doing so. Since then, I talked with other mamas, searched Pinterest (here and here) and got the inspiration to come up with a plan. I am aware that not everything is a one size fits all and some of these things may appeal to you while others won't work. My hope is that no matter what, it will encourage you to find ways to spend time dating at home and thinking outside the box to spend intentional time with one another…
Here is what we do:
• We pick one night a week to devote to intentional dating
• A few days before our date night, 1 person picks a Popsicle stick from a Mason Jar with the date night's activities… (each Popsicle stick has a different idea and there are enough ideas to use throughout the year). Only 1 person picks and then plans based off of the idea so that the other person can be surprised. We take turns each week on who gets to pick.
• The night of date night, we get the kids to bed and then spend our evening focussed on each other.
Here are some of the ideas we have put on our Popsicle sticks:
• Breakfast in Bed
• Cocktail night
• 1st date memories
• Sports night
• Comedy night
• Band night – music only
• Cheese, candles and wine
• The Newlywed Game
• Things you don't know about me
• Read a book together
• Video Games
• Cook a meal together
• Popcorn and you tube
• Re watch your 1st theater movie together
• Christmas movie and presents
• Memory Lane with old photo albums
• Fix it project around the house
• Camp out in the living room
• Favorite board game
Again all of this can be customized for each couple and doesn't just pertain to couples with kids. It can be for those of you on budgets, busy jobs, etc… Like I said earlier my ideas may not interest you, but it is simple to start planning on your own. Ty and I have seasons where this falls to the wayside but we do keep at it. The point is to set aside planned time that encourages you to do things out of your norm and for each other. These actions take extra effort in the beginning but are well worth the payoff. Please feel free to share additional ideas you may have and enjoy week!