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Making Time for Date Night

Hi Freshly Picked folks! I’m Shannon Willardson - blogger over at For the Love and and am a huge fan of all things Freshly Picked (duh). I’m hangin’ with FP today to talk about DATE NIGHT. Woot!

To say that date night saved our sanity would be an understatement. See, my husband and I found out about a year ago that our beautiful 23-month old daughter, Charlotte Rose, has an incredibly rare genetic disease called CDG-1p. How’s that for a name eh? Charlotte, or Charlie as we call her, is only one of about 11 documented cases of CDG-1p, and at present there is no cure for the disease.

Needless to say, my husband and I have spent the past two years staring down the barrel of a reality that we could not possibly have prepared ourselves for or anticipated. We have our faith and our family to thank for helping us stay positive and hopeful in what threatened to be a really dark time. And we have DATE NIGHT to thank for salvaging our sanity and frankly, our romance. No, but seriously.

As the hurricane of Charlie-girl’s health situation began to rage, Chase and I realized that making time for ‘us’ was going to be difficult. Charlie has as many as six different appointments each week, most of which tend to be time consuming and emotionally taxing. She also has a big brother, Jack, who is at the glorious age of 3 ½, where his energy and need for attention seem to know no bounds. Point being: by the end of the week, we were spent.

It became very clear very fast that if we didn’t do something intentional each week to focus on US - our relationship, our identities as something other than parents, etc. - we would be eaten alive by this curve ball life had thrown. While our scenario is perhaps a bit atypical due to our daughter’s health condition, I’d wager that we’re not the only ones whose unexpected trials and busy lives threaten the quality of our most important relationship - the one with our spouse. And to that I say: Date Night to the rescue! Well, date night among other things obviously, but date night as one of those things. For us, date night has been everything. It’s how we’ve reconnected and re-charged each week. It’s how we’ve stepped away for a moment from life’s challenges and gotten a breather from what feels heavy and out of our control. It has reminded us of what it was like when we were dating and falling for each other. It’s how we’ve kept the spark alive.

Some weeks it’s been really hard to pull off, and then other weeks it’s been even harder to pull off. There are babysitters to try to find (and sometimes you just can’t), budgets to consider (and sometimes you just feel broke), and lots of competing priorities (work deadlines that spill into the weekend, church assignments, kids’ activities, etc.). In our case, there have been weeks where hospital stays or rushed trips to the ER have made date night literally impossible. Most weeks though, we try to do something, even if it’s just takeout and a movie at home after the kids are in bed. Something, intentional, together - that’s really all it needs to be. And for us, it’s made all the difference in the world, both in our ability to cope with life’s madness and more importantly, in the level of connection we feel with each other.

What are YOUR thoughts on date night? How do you make sure it happens?

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