You’re thinking, “Unless something more important comes up?” No. That IS more important. Out of 52 weeks we manage about 50 dates. What’s more important? A funeral. Christmas. But we almost always still have the date, just on a different night. We are flexible on the time, not on the appointment. Why? Because 75 and 70…
- we are still in love;
- we have much to talk about, our dreams, needs, problems, kids, grandkids, prayers.
- we think generation, not family. We pray for our great-grandchildren who don’t yet exist, because God promises to bless godly parents four generations out. We want each generation to be stronger than the last. You get to the fourth, and they are stopping cancer cold and impacting the culture.
We discovered early on that if Dad and Mom ain’t happy, the kids ain’t happy. They take their cue from us. If we live at odds with one another, that is what they will learn about marriage, family, and us. That does NOT prepare them for their future as partners and parents. When we are happy, it gives them an “excuse” to be happy. So our dates help our parenting!
A little story that has now become epic in our extended family: Granddaughter Becca in the back seat, Grandpa Phil is driving and Grandma Margaret riding shotgun. They express words with each other that show a small level of tension, nothing close to a shouting match, which has never happened. Two minutes later from the back seat, four-year old Becca says, “We not sad, we happy, wight?” She read what was going on, and it made her very uncomfortable, and that was with grandparents. With parents, it goes to the next power. She was ready to intervene and break up the “fight,” and it was a 3 on a 1 to 10 scale. Imagine what kids go through when they regularly hear a 7 or an 8. Rips their hearts out.
All our kids know we were serious about date night–and still are. Guess what? They all do the same. We are often watching the grandkids so Dad and Mom can have time together alone.
- You keep the home fires burning. How high would you rate that for importance?!
- You don’t let anything creep in by way of competition. We have all seen it too many times. We are shocked when a mature couple decides to call it quits. It is not sad–it is tragic. Some kids NEVER get over the divorce that may have come because they did not manage their marriage.
- One of the best ways of staying close to the kid(s) is by staying close to the spouse.
- Karen and I are sometimes surprised when one of us shares something and the other person says, “I had no idea. So glad you shared that.” After 44 years, we are still learning about each other.
How do we do dating?
- We go out to eat so we can look at each other face to face. Important!
- God told me years ago, “If you spoil her, I will spoil you.” It has happened.
- The whole night is for the two of us. Once in a while, we will share the dinner-time with one of our children and his or her spouse. Always fun! But then we still have plenty of time to ourselves, often watching a favorite comedian or a great movie–alone. I love Karen. We’re 44 years in and it’s getting better all the time!