Friday, March 15, 2013

Still Dating

Today is mine and my husband's 10th wedding anniversary!  

Get ready for some throwback pics. We take fabulous self-portraits :-)

We didn't start out like a lot of couples we know.  We dated for less than a year, got married, and had our first baby in year one of marriage.  After 5 years, and two kids, we got a dog...then had one more baby, just for the fun of it. I think we did things a little backwards from a typical newlywed's perspective. Generally, you get married, practice your parenting on a puppy, THEN after a couple of years together traveling and establishing careers, start a family. 

We've just never been big planners.  We seem to, kind of, go with the flow of life, and it seems to work for us. If anything, we have learned to trust God even more than if everything had been planned OUR way.  And we tend to work harder on our relationship, because it has never really been "just us."

Because that "us" time is hard to come by, I have never felt guilty for leaving my kids to spend time with my husband. I know that this is hard for other moms.  They don't want to leave their children out or have a problem trusting others to take care of them.  Honestly, I still get nervous and a little over-prepared when the grandparents or babysitters take over (like 3 typed pages of information), but I  know (and pray a lot) that they'll be okay without me for a few days.  Our kids actually have fun hanging out with different adults and enjoying a change of pace.  It's good for them too (I cautiously hope that they'll appreciate me more when I get back as well).
It's important to get away, because my husband and I cannot have good quality time together with our kids' needs constantly interrupting. They will always need our attention- but what about our marriage?  Will it stay strong if it doesn't get the attention it also requires?  We have to make time for both.

Regular date nights are a MUST for us!  Our kids know it.  My husband and I have always been intentional about getting away together, at least once a year, in addition to two or so date nights a month.  I'm not too proud to say that I still cry when I leave the kids sometimes, but I recognize how important it is for all of us when we give our relationship attention. And we can't wait to hug the children when we get back, strengthened and refreshed, as a team, doing this parenting thing together!

If we never separate from our roles as parents, and stop nurturing our roles as husband and wife, I am afraid that our paths would divide and "together" would become only "he" and "I." That is something I hope will never happen.
Family business and marriage survival aside, I actually LIKE dating my husband!  He still tries to impress me and knows how I love surprises.  I always want him to know that I'm his biggest fan and look forward to a lifetime of adventures with him.  Plus, he makes me laugh and lets me talk his ear off in the car, when we're alone.  Those trips and discoveries build new memories that only we share as a couple. They add to our story. 

Forget the mom guilt.  I believe it's worth the time and effort to find a babysitter, to mark a date on the calendar, to sacrifice a little money, and keep dating.  Keep winning each other's hearts.  Keep supporting for and cheering for each other. Keep making memories together.

I am so proud to say that ten years after the "I do," I'm still dating my husband...
I love you, Jason! 


miller_schloss said...

Getting babysitters so you can go on dates is so vital. So is getting babysitters so you can try on clothes without kids ransacking the dressing room. And having coffee with friends. And getting haircuts. Etc. It's so vital to share some of the childcare load so we can stay sane! When I was a kid, I loved it when my parents would get babysitters...frankly, they were more fun than mom and dad. :) Now that I'm a grown up, I'm still friends with some of the amazing women who took care of me when I was a kid. Good babysitters are worth their weight in gold.

Dani Byham said...

You're right! I've never felt badly about getting babysitters for date nights, but it's taken me a little longer to throw out the mom guilt to ask for help for "me time" too! Good point.