Doing What Works

My husband and I went out to dinner a few years ago with some friends who weren’t from around here. “Where should we go?” they asked. “Um. We have no idea,” we replied. One of them looked concerned. “You guys really need to be having a date night. It’s important for your relationship — especially when you have kids. You need to connect.” I knew he was right.

After they left, I started asking pestering my husband. “Do we need to have more date nights?”
“No. We’re fine.”
“But maybe we’re not and we don’t realize it.”
“What?”
“Are you happy?”
“Of course I’m happy. If I weren’t happy, I’d tell you.”
“Maybe you just don’t realize you’re unhappy and if we had more date nights, you could talk about it.”
“Okay, now I’m not happy. You’re bugging me.”

So I worried for a few weeks about having more date nights and hiring a sitter because our family isn’t nearby and budgeting to spend twice as much now because we have to pay for food and the sitter and then I realized — we do have date nights. They’re just a little weird.

Every Friday night, the kids hang out on a blanket in the family room and eat breakfast for dinner while watching a movie. And after they go to bed, Chris either grills or we order sushi. This means we eat dinner at 10:30pm…but we do it while having an entire, uninterrupted conversation. This is what works for our life right now. And if we didn’t do things this way, I’d have no idea that I married someone who would do this

in order to grill us up some dinner.

So here’s another confession — we don’t drive to church together, either. We’re both involved in a ministry that requires us to get there early. And when we tried to get the entire family of six out the door early…well,  it did not put any of us in a worship-y mood (actually, I shrieked like a banshee while crying kids tried to find their shoes.) Then we realized that there’s no rule requiring us to go together. We spend the whole time at church together. So now Chris leaves early with whichever kids are ready and I follow with the stragglers.

I have a friend whose husband works at 5 in the morning…so she gets up at 4:30a so she can hang out with him. They eat dinner at 5 at night and everyone, grown-ups included, is in bed by 7:30. It’s not normal…but it’s what works for them. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from having kids, it’s that you do what’s best for you all. You don’t have to do normal. You just have to make it work.

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