FACING OUR FEARS – 31 STORIES FROM M.O.M.
“WAAAAAAAAAAAAA,” wailed my son from his time-out spot on the floor.
My oldest child whined over her brother’s cries, “Mom, make him stop! I am trying to do my homework and I can’t concentrate.”
I looked up from L’s reading homework and said, “I am sorry, he will calm down soon.” As I looked back at the book L arched her back and yelled, “It says, slet. slet. slet. slet.”
I pointed to the word “set” and asked her to sound it out, but she continued her diatribe instead of sounding out the word.
In the middle of the cacophony my husband walked in the door, home from a long day at work.
By the time we had a family dinner and got the kids in bed, my husband and my eyes glossed over and we could barely mumble one coherent sentence, much less hold a complete conversation.
Children change marriages. They are blessings and gifts from God, but they change all our relationships and none more than our marriages. Finding time to talk to my husband much less date him is a challenge. Yet I know a healthy marriage is important.
According to Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, 3rd edition, 2011, children who live with both parents (who are married to each other) on average have better health and are more likely to succeed in school than kids in single parent or cohabitation situations.
Our healthy marriages matter to our children and to us. Why Marriage Matters also says marriage is associated with lower rates of injury, illness, and disability for both men and women.
One practical way to protect our marriages is to date our husbands. There are many objections to this idea so let’s get those out of the way first.
1. We don’t have time. The truth is we make time for what is important in our lives. Dates don’t have to be very long.
2. We don’t have the money. Dates don’t have to be extravagant. There are ways to handle childcare so that dating your spouse is affordable.
3. We don’t have anyone to watch our kids. Again there are creative solutions to even this situation.
Here are some ideas for you who are time constrained:
- Go out for coffee/tea/soda/dessert.
- Wake up 30 minutes early and drink coffee together as you talk about your day.
- Stay up 30 minutes later and talk with your spouse.
- Spend the 15 minutes after your kids are in bed chatting.
For those of you on a tight budget:
- Consider making a special candlelit dinner at home for only you two.
- Rent a movie you both can agree on.
- Go out for dessert or coffee or a doughnut.
- Go to a park.
- Go on a hike, a walk, a run, a bike ride.
- Find free museums or nature centers in your area. Often things you like to do for free with your kids make a great date with your spouse.
- Create a fun at home experience: set up a tent, play a sounds of night track, burn a woodsy candle, perhaps cook hotdogs for a camping experience…play sounds of the ocean track, put on swim suits and sunscreen, make a picnic for a picnic on the beach experience.
For those of you with childcare concerns:
- Schedule your date while the children are in bed (either after the fall asleep or before they get up).
- Consider finding a friend or two or three to swap childcare with. So you don’t have to pay a sitter.
- Find churches in your area who offer a parent’s night out (often at very inexpensive rates per child).
- Schedule your children to go to friends’ houses on the same day or night.
- Ask your parents or another family member to help watch your children.
For those of you who struggle with talking to your husband, I found this great resource for conversation starters. If you are seeking further help in strengthening your marriages check out Focus on the Family and FamilyLife.
Let’s set aside our excuses and date our husbands!
What tips for dating your spouse do you have?