It’s only December 18th, but Vic and I have already had 5 dates! Crazy, right?! In November, I found a new sitter and I pre-booked her for every weekend day she had available in December. That sounds excessive, but I had a plan. December is when the European Christmas Markets are in full swing and we absolutely love Christmas time here. I set out with a goal to hit as many Christmas Markets as possible, sans kiddies. This year I set out to trade stroller handles and bottles for cups of Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and we made it happen! Check out a few pics from our date at the Stuttgart Christmas Market.
Obviously, as a military family stationed far away from trusted family and friends, finding a sitter can be a challenge. However, even outside of the military, if you ask most couples why they haven’t gone on a date, not having a sitter is likely the reason. If you really got couples to be honest they would then tell you that they haven’t actively looked for a sitter (this was me L). The reasons for not looking are likely to vary, but I bet no one will say they just don’t care to go on a date without their kids. If that is the case, then there are surely other issues at hand. I like to think that every couple wants and deserves to go on a date without the kids. The challenge is making it happen. I have heard the reasons for not going such as, “my baby won’t take a bottle”, “my kids don’t sleep well” or “we can’t afford it”. While all this may be factual, the truth is married couples cannot afford NOT to have dates.
One of the main benefits of dates is you get to reset your tolerance meter, both for dealing with your kids and your spouse. Having time away from your kids is much needed. You need a chance to miss them and simultaneously reconnect with your spouse. Going on dates need to become a priority. There is no guilt in wanting to be away from your kids. You do not love them any less for wanting and enjoying time away. If you ask me, you can parent your children much better when you get some time away!
I recommend you pray and ask God to send you the perfect sitter for your family and create a way for you to go on some dates. If the sleep or eating patterns of your kids is the problem, consider a day date; go in-between feedings or during times when your child(ren) are not in need of sleep. Families can also swap sitting for each other. With this method, it was recommended to me to plan these dates several weeks in advance, so each family is aware of when they must sit for one another. This also makes it less likely for one family to be “unavailable” on the day of the date. If your children sleep well at night, consider only going on dates when your kids are sleep. Some sitters charge less if the kids are sleep and this could be a way to off-set the costs. If the total cost for the sitter and the actual date is really an issue, you can even do a low-budget date to your favorite mall to walk around for an hour. As you can see it is not rocket science and for every reason not to go there is a solution to make it possible.
Though it’s been a costly month, we have made a huge investment into our marriage. Every marriage, including yours, deserves the gift of time. My sister had no idea I was going to mention her, but she and her husband recently had a weekend away planned, but my niece wouldn’t take a bottle. Rather than cancel their plans, they worked tirelessly to baby girl to take a bottle. Eventually it worked, and they got to enjoy their weekend away. Though it was surely tough, I admire their persistence and will for making sure they could go on their weekend date. Every married couple should work this hard to enjoy some time together!
Do your marriage a favor and pre-book your next dates! Commit to spending time together at least once a month, without the worries and interruptions that present themselves when the kiddies are around. Don’t stress about planning elaborate activities for each date. Just meet the goal of spending time together. I have even volunteered to watch a friend’s kids for a couple of hours during the day, so she and her husband could literally just run errands. This counts! Whether it’s a day date or a date night, just make it happen!