When we had a smaller family, we would generally have a babysitter once a week to watch the children in the evening (many times after they were already in bed) and my husband (David) and I would enjoy dinner out and maybe a movie. That changed once Courson came into our lives. He was born so tiny and needed a lot of special care, so we began having date nights at home.
That phase of our life took some serious caregiving. There was a time we had six children under three, and our oldest was just 14. You could barely leave a room at that point without all the wee ones contained in some sort of high chair, pack-n-play, or exersaucer! Forget leaving the house to a babysitter. So we began to really plan one night per week where we would get all the children to bed early and have dinner for just the two of us, spending the evening talking or sometimes watching a movie. Generally we either ordered delivery from our favorite Italian restaurant, or we broiled steaks and enjoyed them with a salad and baked potato.
The date night became a very special witness in the minds of our children as they would set the table for us after their dinner was cleared and kitchen cleaned. They would pull out the pretty placemats, the cloth napkins, best silverware, and china. Candles, flowers from the garden, sparkling apple juice or grape juice, and music completed the scene. Many times, extra gestures would include candles in our bedroom, turned down bed sheets, and even pajamas laid out!
Every once in a while, I miss the opportunity of going "out" with David. But when I see the great lengths our children go to in participating in our "romance" as their little hands and hearts go about making such a lovely evening for us, I am actually thankful they have the heart and desire to see their parents’ relationship flourish as a result of time taken on their part to serve us. Not having a regular babysitter (we have a few trusted friends in case of emergency or very special occasions) and enjoying a date night at home has been a unique reminder for them of the time it takes to maintain a marriage relationship.
As you can imagine how busy our days are, how many evenings are filled with work not completed in the day, it is vital to take an evening a week and stop to sit and enjoy conversation...revisit goals...encourage one another. For many women, the physical part of a marriage is difficult to maintain without feeling as though they have been listened to or that quality time has been spent with their spouse. Our date night fills the gaps left throughout the week, as I know that come Monday evening, I will have a chance to really catch up and speak privately with my husband.
I encourage those of you who are in a season where going out for a date is just not possible either due to financial constraints, time restraints, or even lack of a quality caregiver in your absence, to consider practicing date night at home. Let your children participate by setting the table or prepping the meal. Talk about how special the time is you will get to spend with your spouse. The example you are setting for them will affect the future of their marriages. Spend time with each other and let your children see how special that time is. It will quell their hearts, give them confidence in your husband/wife relationship, and teach them the value of spending time with their future spouse!
Lyette and her husband of 23 years, David, have 15 children (and one on the way). Their ten daughters and five sons range from 20-years-old to almost two. Lyette just so happens to believe that her children and yours will change our world for good. With Lyette's vast experiences in parenting, she loves to offer hope and help to families on her website TheRebacks.com. Lyette is also the author of Please God Don’t Let Me Screw This Up: Hope & Help from a Mom of Fifteen.
Image Credit: Lyette Reback