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“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife” -Mark 10:7

It struck me earlier this week that our daughter is almost 5 years old.  In January we will have been married for 6 years and we have been on a weekly date or bi-weekly date for nearly 4 years now.  (Not counting our dates when it was just the two of us… we did that too).  My how time flies.  Our good friends the Meyers had their first kiddo about 4 months before we did.  I have no idea when we actually starting rotating date nights every other week with childcare duties on the off weeks.  But Belle and Elijah were still quite young.  In fact, we have pictures of them playing together on the floor and Belle was just sitting up.  So it was pretty early on.  And since that time though sunshine, rain, sleet, snow, coughs, fevers and colds, date nights have prevailed.  Yes, they are that important to us.

When life gets busy and full, Jason and I have this saying that we tell eachother, “I feel like we are business partners” – or just two adults living in the same house.  Things are busy, jobs require thought and energy, people need loving and kids need taking care of and training.  Add to that upkeep on homes and cars, you are bound to lose that spark which ones shone so brightly.  I remember people telling us when we were courting and engaged how cute we were together and how they enjoyed the “newlywedness” in us.  And I remember thinking, “Um, this is how it is always going to be!” 5.5 years later a couple of mortgages and kids and I now smile when I see comments and pics on Facebook of newlyweds and couples dating because I now understand what all those people were trying to say.  It is a special time that should be treasured forever.  Don’t wish it away, it will be a sweet sweet time you will look back on with fondness.

However, with our date nights we are reminded each Thursday night from 6-8pm how much we really do enjoy eachother.  How fun it is to hold hands and just take a walk and talk.  Or split a free coffee from a punch card that is full that we “save” for date night.  That was what we did last night.  Split a coffee, sat outide for a good hour talking and then took a walk.  Nothing fancy or expensive, but somehow two hours of uninterupted conversation reminds me how much I like my man and all of a sudden that ‘business partner status’ seems to melt away.

So, how do we make this happen each and every week?  Well, it does get tricky at times, but we keep pushing ahead. For starters, Jason and I budget a date night slot in our budget.  We usually use that to go out to eat those two times a month.  And my children you ask?  Well, it really is not a night free of cooking if I have to cook for them.  So every other Thursday night my kids have oatmeal for dinner.  Yes they do! 🙂  They love it and I prefer not to make it in the am’s for them because it takes a while and takes forever for it to cool and they are so emotional in the morning when they wake up…. cold cereal or toast works best for us.  So oatmeal for them is a treat and momma has to do about 3 min of work and then I’m free for the evening! 🙂

As far as trading childcare goes, every other week we just drop off our kids at 6 and pick them back up at 8.  And vise versa. The winter time/cold/flu season the past year or two has seemed to slow things down a bit.  But in most occasions, we still get one of the couples to get some time away.  For instance, if it is my kids that are sick, Jason or I will offer to go to the Meyer’s house to watch their kids so they can still get out. Or occasionally we will just shorten a date night for one or both of us to an hr if more kids are sick or weather is looking ugly.  It really is that important to each of us.  And while it is more of a hassle at times to get the details planned out or even think about going on a date after a long and tiring day, I am so glad we have persevered through these years and continued to carve out the time to get away.

What about you?  How do you make time to get away?  Any budget friendly date night ideas?