The other day, my hubby and I went on our first solo date sans kids since their birth. I know that might seem extreme to some as our babies are about to turn fourteen months old, but the facts are that with their being breastfed bottle rejectors leaving them anywhere without me just wouldn’t have gone very well. We have mutually chosen to practice attachment parenting, and both understand the additional sacrifices (and joys!) that choice brings. We’ve been on family dates which we have greatly enjoyed, and are innovative with how we achieve special time together. But, I decided the other day that they would be ok for a brief time and surprised my husband by taking him for a coffee, just the two of us. It was quick, we were gone less than an hour. It took some prep, babies had to be fed right before we left and I snuck out the door while my patient and wonderful parents danced and sung to distract them so they would not notice my departure. And, I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about them at all (yes even for that hour!) and my husband and I sat feeling slightly awkward in the quiet without our kids.
But, there’s been a lot of stress and change in our lives and as I’ve mentioned before, I think its extremely important to continuously put work into the marriage relationship. Not only because if we don’t put the work in one day these sweet little birds will fly the nest and there we’ll be, trying to get to know each other again because we feel like strangers (if we even made it at all) but because I want my children to have healthy spousal relationships one day and guess who they’ll learn from? Us. We are the example they see. Last week I wrote about setting an example of self respect and care, and this goes right along with it. I want my daughter and son to learn to both treat their future spouses with reverence and to expect that reverence back. And, marriage and parenting are WORK. It doesn’t matter how in love you are or how incredible your relationship is, if you don’t tend to it, it’s not going to last. And I want my kids to know that. I want them to know it’s ok to buckle down and work it out when the going gets tough. That we won’t like each other every moment of every day, but at the end of the day we still love each other. That while not every moment is butterflies and rainbows, it’s important to make those moments happen too. My parents have been married 45 years. And I’ve been privileged to watch their relationship since my own birth. Nope, they haven’t gotten along every second. But they never quit working to make it through. They still haven’t. That is the example I want to set for my children. Unless there is some extenuating circumstance in which the relationship is emotionally or physically dangerous, it’s worth the work. And work it will be. But work that is absolutely worth doing.
So, my husband and I went on a date. I did my hair, put on the outfit I wore for our first ever date (or at least the skirt part of it), slapped some mascara on and off we went. I even blindfolded him for the three minute drive. Yes, it took longer to get ready than our actual date. But that’s ok. The coffee shop tables were all full, so we tried to sit outside. That was cold, so we had our date in the stale smelling car (but of course not until I had documented the event with a pic). And yes, it would have been a heck of a lot easier to sit at home. But we did it. We made the effort. And we will make the effort again, and again. Because it may sound cliche but it’s true. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.