Married with children.
I love our children. They are fun, smart, and engaging. They are (usually) a joy to be around. But no matter how wonderful your children are, you need to make time for just you and your spouse.
Maggie and I are blessed in that we have family nearby who love having the kids stay with them. In fact, I think my parents would rather they keep the kids and let us visit every now and then! Because of their involvement with the kids, Maggie and I are able to carve out a date night every week.
Now, I’m not saying we have the most exciting time of any couple. We frequently stay home, have a relaxed dinner together, maybe walk the dogs, and watch a movie. We also make a point of talking about real life. About struggles, joys, and frustrations. About hopes and dreams. We spend part of our date night praying together for each other. I cannot tell you how much this means to us, and – if you’re married or in a serious relationship – I strongly encourage you to find a way to do it, too, if you don’t already.
Maybe you don’t have the luxury we do of nearby family who want to be engaged. If that’s the case, put the kids to bed, have some dessert together, and talk. And pray. You don’t have to invest a lot of time, but you’ll reap the benefits of any time you invest.
It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of work and raising children. It’s easy to invest all your relational time and energy in friends and coworkers. But remember that wonderful person that swept you off your feet? They’re still there across the room. Get a little closer. Spend a little more time. Talk. Pray together. Don’t let the gap that creeps into so many marriages sneak into yours.
In the words of Under Armor: We must protect this house! Date night is a great way to protect and invest in your marriage.