Friday, October 28, 2016

THE DIFFERENCE A DATE MAKES

Life has taken on an unrelenting quality, and there are times when it feels as if we are magnets for crazy.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are anything but extraordinary in this regard.  Life throws out crazy like candy on Halloween.  It's unavoidable and everywhere.

I'm not sure about you, but *sometimes* John and I do not handle the stress very well.  We are juggling a lot of torches, and when a torch gets dropped, things get set on fire.  I might be going overboard on metaphors in this particular post, but I'm just gonna keep on rolling with it.  Just imagine that we are regularly putting out fires - some that were set by us, but most just happen to be set around us and we are somehow, someway responsible for them.

In the midst of the dividing and conquering that makes up our world, we can easily find ourselves divided a the end of the day.

Maybe you can't relate.  But I'm guessing you can, because, we are not exceptional or extraordinary - we all have far more in common than we might feel like when we scroll through social media.  We want our marriage to be great, and we have moments of greatness, but we have hard, sad, angry moments in the midst of our very normal, very complicated daily lives.  Just like you do.  At least, that's what I'm guessing.

So, I'm writing this post to remind us all of what a gift it is to spend intentional time with our spouse. I LOVE my husband and want to be on his team every day of the week.

Except for the times when I accidentally love myself a little more.  It's so easy to prioritize how I feel and see things through my own little lens.  Then I twist things he says or doesn't say.  I take things personally.  I want things to feel "fair," which is a pipe dream and certainly not what God calls us to.  We firmly believe that marriage is not a 50/50 deal - we both have to give 100% all the time.  And ultimately, we have to be leaning into God and his grace to get through each day.

For us, we have realized that date nights are mission critical - especially when the crazy seems to be closing in on all sides.  

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(From a date night this summer.)

As we are looking ahead to a busy holiday season, we had a meeting of the minds and decided to make weekly date nights a necessity until things calm down a bit.  Different seasons require varied approaches, and after having experienced a particularly difficult holiday season the first year we had the mall, we have a better understanding of what we will need to come out not hating each other on the other side.  

Will weekly date nights make everything magically better?  No - of course not.

But, we managed to wrangle a sitter on short notice Wednesday night of this week - a week that already had us in her stranglehold of hard.  I'm sorry to say that we had barely spoken on Tuesday night.  Not out of anger - mostly out of pure exhaustion.  Wednesday night arrived, and we were off to a rocky start.  Things felt stilted, and we weren't connecting.  But - we pressed through.  We asked better questions and really saw each other and listened intently.  We ate good food.  Someone else blessedly tucked our children into bed while we visited a new popcorn shop in town and picked up a fun dessert.

By the time we got home, we were laughing, and life seemed less layered with gloom.  We remembered how much we really like one another.  We were back on the same team, and we both knew exactly what that meant.  Date nights don't make everything magically better, but it is amazing what a difference a date can make.  👊🙌😄

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