Last week Adam and I went on a date. The night didn't require expensive tickets, outrageously priced food or fancy clothes. We have had those nights, but this wasn't one of them. This night took us to Target, Walmart, Best Buy and a steakhouse with peanut shells strewn about. It was glorious. I didn't take anyone to the restroom during my meal, the seat in my shopping cart was occupied by only my purse, and not once did I have to move boxes off a shelf to remove disobedient children from crawling behind them.
Halfway through our evening Adam looks at me dumbfounded and says "I am having a really good time!" Resisting the urge to reach across the table and knock the shock right off his face, I inquire gracefully as to why he seems so surprised. He goes on to say that this had been a stressful week at work and he just hadn't realized how much he needed to decompress.
I have spent seasons of our marriage waiting for Adam to ask me to go out on a date. The waiting always lead to disappointment and the disappointment left me complaining. It wasn't until recently that I have come to understand this cycle.
Adam rarely brings work home, literally or figuratively. He is steady and not much rattles him. Because he doesn't let "life" get to him, he doesn't feel the need to get away as often as I do. Adam is also and "all or nothing" guy. If we aren't spending hundreds of dollars on the perfect date, he would rather stay home. After a week with the kids, I would take Taco Bell and Redbox.
Understanding these differences makes our marriage stronger. Adam knows that if I ask to go on a date, he needs to make it happen...now. I know that when he doesn't initiate the date, it's not because he doesn't want to spend time with me. He just doesn't feel the need to get away. It has been said that if you want to know how your marriage is doing, ask your wife. I am much quicker to feel the disconnect that comes from doing life and so it is my responsibility to give him a heads up.
All too often I hear people say "What's date night? You get to go out without your kids? Maybe we'll do that again when they are in college." To these couples I say, your marriage can't afford to wait. Your kids need to see you making each other a priority. Don't wake up one day only to realize that you don't know the person laying next to you. Make date nights happen at least once a month. No excuses. Budget for a babysitter, ask another couple to trade childcare, or look for honorary grandparents in your church to fill the void.
Beside having date nights, Adam and I take a weekend trip away once a year. If you can find a way to make this happen, please do so! A little bit spent on upkeep can save you thousands in repairs. It's like the Casting Crowns song says "families don't crumble in a day, it's a slow fade." Take the time to take care of your marriage. It's more fun than car maintenance. Trust me.