Friday, May 08, 2015

How to date your Husband

How to DATE your husband

Brian and I got stopped the other day in the gym. We had just worked out together and were on our way down to get the kids. A guy, who had just had his second baby, stopped us. He wanted to understand how we did it. How do we date? How does this all seem to look easy for us when he knows its not. We ASSURED him that nothing about us or our life is easy. Nothing. It is NOT easy. And that we are drowning. I told him that I often feel like I have one nostril out of the water and I am treading water. Not a neck out of the water. Or a head. Just a nostril. I'm not treading water and moving. I'm not going anywhere. We are just barely surviving. 

These last few months have been HARD. 

When I was a little girl, we traveled a little bit. When we traveled, we traveled in the car. Only in the car. Never planes. Just an old clunker of a station wagon. Blue, with wood paneling. I rode in the back seat. But sometimes, I sat in the way-way-back. The seat that faced the back window. My sister and I did the silly honk-honk motions with our arms. I don't think the truckers could resist honking at two little giggling, strawberry blonds. I have fond memories of that time of life. Being a kid. Maybe I've forgotten the negative….how close my legs were to my siblings. And how small a car can feel. How hot it got in the back-back. How little there was to do in that back seat. But from where I am now, I remember it with fondness, those super sweet trips. To the mountains. Or to Michigan. It was simple. The sun would be in our eyes. Siblings would be smashed on either side of me. And I had not a care in the world. Mom would pass a snack back to us. And Dad would drive. Fast. It felt like he was going 100 miles per hour. I remember the journey. Even more than the destination. I remember the journey. 

The journey. My  journey is blowing me away right now. 

I read a quote recently about travel. I'm paraphrasing from what I remember. The journey should be as much fun as the destination. 

I feel like my journey right now is so incredible. Much more full that it ever has been before. And if you've read my blog over the last years, you know life has already been full of the goods and bads.

The girls are doing out-of-town, competitive dance, so every week requires a lot of time on the road just for practice, with competitions and rehearsals on the weekends too. 

Last week, I was pulling back into Florence, with the girls, after a dance rehearsal. It was Tuesday about 7:00pm. My friend, Kesler, was at the house with the little three. Brian was at Jiu Jitsu. As I drove, I was trying to figure out which night we could do date night. And realized that tonight was probably the best night. 

So I pulled into the Jiu Jitsu academy where Brian was training. I sent my girls in to get him and tell him we were there. And when he came to the car, I like a smiling school girl, asked him out on a date. I asked if he wanted to go to dinner with me. 

He smiled, said Yes. He IMMEDIATELY told his training buddies goodbye. Like immediately. Talk about making me feel loved. He had gathered his bag and stuff and was out in the parking lot before I even pulled away.

'Successful marriage requires falling love many times, always with the same person.'  German Greer

True dat.

He told me later that night on our date, that when the girls went into Jiu Jitsu, they said, 'Daddy, Mommy wants you!' All the guys said 'Uh Oh. You're in trouble.' 

Interesting that the reason I came was exactly the opposite. I am so desperately in love with him that I was there to ask him on a date. Not to fuss at him…or whatever the guys thought I was going to do. 

Makes me sad that when men see a wife wanting to talk with her husband, they think its trouble. 

We have a date most every week. Some weeks we have two. As much as we can get away together, we do. Our lives are very extreme. Because of the size of our family and some of the decisions we have made, life can be intense. So slipping away for us is vital. 

I love this guy. 

Dating your husband is worth it. No matter what the cost. 

We went to our favorite date-night restaurant. We rarely go anywhere else. Maybe every 38th time. So we sat in a big booth, in our favorite restaurant, and slid over to the far side, beside the wall, so we could really talk. 

We left a naked, potty training 2 year old, piles of dishes, mounds of laundry, a little one on roller blades rolling at breakneck speeds through the house and other wild shenanigans We just left. We unplugged. There were lots of things to be done and reasons for me to stay and check off of my endless list. Please ask me often about our date nights. How do we, of all people, date every week, since we have all these kids. 

Here's what we've learned about love and dating in marriage after 15 years. 

How to Date your Husband:

* Go on a date night once a week…or more. Love is like water, you can never have too much. (You can quote me on that.) :) Take advantage of every opportunity to be together. 'And let us consider how we may spur on another on toward love and good deeds, not  giving up meeting together.' Hebrews 10:24

*Make it happen, even if it's inconvenient. 'I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.' Song of Solomon 6:3 

* If you have a hard time switching hats from Mom-hat to fun out-to-dinner-cute-Wife hat. Here's my advice. Go to a movie first. Go bowling. Play tennis. Take a run together. Whatever it is that will get your mind off challenges with the kids. That gives you time to shift gears so that when you finally slip into a seat at the restaurant, you are enjoying being there across the table from your husband. Not telling him about the bottoms you just wiped, or the fight you just broke up, or the other endless challenges that go with parenting. That stuff never changes...Use date night to build one another up. Encourage him. It's not the best place to complain about the kids. Save that for a boring night at the house :)  'Therefore, encourage one another and BUILD EACH OTHER UP.' 1 Thessalonians 5:11

* Have your babysitter come 30 minutes before you leave. Or an hour if your budget allows for that. The babysitter can be helpful with feeding the kids, or acclimating to the kids, or finishing put the dishes in the dishwasher or whatever you need help with. Her arrival gives you 30 minutes to calmly get ready without someone hanging on your leg, asking you every question in the book, running circles through your closet as you try to get dressed. The $6.00 or $7.00 you spend on those 30 minutes will be the best dollars you've spent that week. Then when you are done getting ready, dash for the door, don't do long goodbyes. It is after all, just dinner. 'Take me away with you-let us hurry!' Song of Solomon 1:4

* Use date night as an opportunity to profess your love for him. 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth- for your love is more delightful that wine.' Song of Solomon 1:2

* If you are not in a financial position to dine out every week AND pay the babysitter, do a swap with another couple that also has kids. We did that for YEARS. You watch all the kids while the other couple goes out. Then they watch the kids while you go out. And, the swap will hold you accountable too. 

It's crazy fun for me to have spontaneity in our wild life. I've never lost the desire to WANT to be spontaneous. But it seems like, in some ways, I've lost the ability to BE spontaneous. 

So we went on our spontaneous date night. Over dinner we discussed the coming week. I told Brian that I think for the first time since Christmas, the girls would have a week long break from dance. While we sat at the table I emailed to double check. 'No rehearsals?' 'None.' Was the reply. 

I got a wild hair, I suggested to Brian that we go away to the beach for the week. Brian is very very very not spontaneous. He likes a very well thought-out plan that he's double checked. So God gave him me. :) I am good for him. I pull him out of his well-thought-out/planning shell. 

Could we do the impossible? Could we pull off leaving for a vacation, packing, getting subs for aerobics, making sure Brian's office is settled, book a vacation home and unplugging our whole family for a week…with only 4 days notice?  

Maybe it was the delicious dinner, or that we were tucked away in a little booth, or that it was date night, or that I had asked him on the date, which he LOVED, or maybe he is becoming more spontaneous, or maybe it's just because he loves me, but he said it sounded like a wonderful plan. Hmm? My planner husband is becoming spontaneous? 

By 10:00am the next morning, he had not yet pulled the trigger on a rental house in Destin, FL he'd found. He had searched rentals on the entire Gulf coast of Florida and come up with a handful that fit our criteria. 

We talked, he texted me some pictures. We agreed that one of them looked incredible. 

He. booked it. It was Wednesday. We would leave in 4 days. 

And in that short time, I drove to TN and back, to speak at the His Proposal conference with my best friends. 

We pulled out of our driveway on Sunday morning at 5:00am. Hunk-of-Burning Love and Me….and 5 little girls. We pulled them out of the bed and put them right into the car. We were almost to Georgia before anyone really said a whole lot and before we stopped for the first time. Thankfully. And somehow we made it 9 1/2 hours with only two stops. Pretty sure that if we did that trip again 6000 times we'd never be able to make it in only 2 stops. The drive home was not so lovely. I asked him sometime during our trip back home. 'Do you need a break from driving?' He said, 'No. I need a break from stopping.' 

Destin was gorgeous. It had been 5 years since I've been there. I forgot how blue the water is and how bleach white the sand is. It was a time of REFUGE for our family. We laughed. And lingered over lunches. And moseyed down to the beach. And dug in the sand. And relaxed. I got to read my bible on the beach. The girls slept in bunk beds, which they loved. Brian and I slept in a king size bed, which I didn't love. We had dinners in. Dinners out. Two of the girls had a stomach issue.. Each lasted about 24 hours. The roughest spots during the night. But it wasn't even a blip on our map because everything was so lovely. 

It is absolute heaven. Dreamy views for as far as the eye can see. We have had the doors open from the moment we checked in. 

It's late, got an early morning tomorrow. 

A few more thoughts. Baby Genevieve is heavenly. Growing wildly. She tried those squeezy baby food packs that Target sells, for the first time here at the beach. Somehow I've always forgotten to give them to the other girls when they were the right age. She loves them and they are easy. 

Hope to begin blogging again once school is out. Only 5 days until we are out for the summer. Really fun things await. 


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