Will you happy dance with me? Last week, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives was released in bookstores everywhere—and my story, “Why I Date My Husband,” is in it.
In honor of the book release, I thought I’d share the original story again, which was first posted here in January 2012. For anyone who didn’t catch it the first time, and for all of us who need a reminder—no more excuses. Get a babysitter. Go on a date with your husband. Stare at each other across the table until you laugh or cry. Your kids need it as much as you do.
Why I Date My Husband
“My lover spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me,’” (Song of Songs 2:10).
She reached for my hand, giggling, eyes wide and sparkling with mischief. “Come on, Mom, we have a surprise for you.”
I followed downstairs to the spare bedroom. A dusty VCR sat on the floor, hooked to our ancient tube television.
“Are you ready?” my husband grinned. I settled on the edge of the bed, a toddler in my lap, and big sister bursting with excitement as she knelt beside Daddy on the carpet. Pop! The black screen sprang to colorful life, piano keys trickling in the background. I recognized a white satin princess, a raven-haired prince.
Our wedding video.
I thought we lost it. Through a couple moves and a basement flood, that priceless memento got neglected in the shuffle, until neither of us remembered where or when we’d seen it last. In honor of our tenth anniversary, my husband and our four-year-old daughter scoured the house until they found the videotape buried in a box. This was my anniversary gift.
Tears ran down my cheeks as I soaked in every frame of our wedding memories. The white roses, the vows, the dress my mother made.
“Do you like it, Momma?” our daughter asked.
“I love it, sweetheart. I love it. This is the best surprise ever.”
Then something strange happened. Her beaming smile melted into trembling lips. She climbed onto the bed next to me and bawled into my shoulder.
“My goodness, what’s wrong? Did something upset you? Are you sad?” Her dad and I exchanged confused sign language, baffled by this polar reaction. She was so excited to see the video! What went bad?
“No, Mom, I’m not sad,” she choked through raw wails. “I’m crying because I’m happy!”
That’s when I realized—I need to keep dating my husband.
Date night is not our greatest strength. The lag between our last two dinner outings sans children was seven months—pathetic, I know. Excuses are easy when we’re busy raising small kids. We’re tired, babysitters cost more than the restaurant bill, my babies want me to tuck them in—they’ll miss me. They need me.
No they don’t. Not on date night. Not as much as they need two parents united, strong, in love. They need to see Mom fluttery with anticipation of time alone with Dad, to see Dad clasp Mom’s fingers while he leads her out the door, blowing kisses to two little girls already immersed in the babysitter’s nail polish collection.
They need to know Mom and Dad are here for them, because we’re here for each other first.
It’s risky to convince ourselves we’re fine without regular dates—without time set aside to nurture our relationship, to rekindle the spark, to remember why I chose this person, why I love being with this person more than anybody else in the world.
Because we can get so absorbed in the routines and responsibilities—the teaching, cooking, cleaning, running, child-centric activities of each day—that we forget to make eye contact when we talk to one another. Then we forget to ask what’s on your mind or what are your dreams, until one day we wake up pondering dangerous questions like who are you and what happened to the person I once pursued with all my heart?
I’d like to think we wouldn’t let our marriage suffer. But nobody ever sets out intending to drift, do they? So how does it happen? Dates can’t hurt. They can only help.
When I witnessed our daughter’s sweet, unfiltered reaction to a video of her parents giddy in love, I caught a glimpse of my marriage through her eyes. And I finally understood. Date night isn’t just for my husband and me. Our children need it as much as we do.
So we made a plan. Hubby and I committed to one night out per month for the next year—a great start and a huge improvement for us—and we wrote the dates on our calendars to prevent letting them slide. Our kick-off was a tenth anniversary celebration. I sat across the bistro table from my handsome groom, and when I told him I loved him, I looked straight into his eyes and meant it to new depths.
Praise God we found that wedding video. We won’t make the mistake of losing it again. More importantly, we won’t lose track of each other. If our kids want to see Mom and Dad crazy in love, they need not turn on the VCR. We’re going to show them in real life.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, Momma Notes, Titus 2sdays, Grace at Home, Wedded Wednesday, Wifey Wednesday, Thriving Thursdays and Things I Can’t Say.
I shared to FB! Love this post!!
I shared on FB. I need time out!
Nikki Ward says
Shared on FB! Awesome!
April Goodwin says
I shared on FB…having this book would be perfect in my life right now, going through some difficult “wife/mother” time.
Oh, I LOVE this! I’m not sure my kids have ever seen our wedding video. Gotta go dig it out! And, yes, you are SO RIGHT.. our kids WANT TO, NEED TO see mom and dad crazy in love. My man better watch out… I’ll have the calendar waiting when he gets home tonight. Congrats on landing this marvelous tale in a book. I’m sharing on facebook!
Heather Erickson says
I shared this on Facebook for the giveaway 🙂
I shared this on Facebook! This article really hit home as this weekend is our 11 year anniversary and no plans or babysitter YET! 🙂
Beautiful story, and such wise advice! Congrats on having it in the book! Blessings to you.
Heather Lipe says
Shared on FB 🙂
The part about my kids needing me to tuck them in totally hits home.
Our New Years resolution was to date once a month…. We were going string until August. Ugh! Summer chaos took over. Time to get a sitter booked!
Laura Boggess says
I’m glad to share on FB and celebrate with you! Way to go, Becky!
Laura S. says
Congratulations, Becky. I LOVE your devotional and I heartily agree date nights are essential and we need to be so intentional about planning them or this wild ride called parenthood can take over. Off to tweet your praises right now.
Jennifer Schultz says
I shared on facebook! Love ya!
Sarah Berken says
What a great post, Becky!! I thought it was great last year, too!! I remind my kids every time we get a sitter why it is important for mommy and daddy to have a date night…because we love each other and so the love can continue to grow. Shared it on FB and if it’s okay, can I share your blogsite in the MOPS newsletter that I write, too??
Congrats on getting this published!
I love the thought behind it. My husband and I try to have date night at least once a month.
My husband and I have always made our together time on a date a priority–among a few other commitments to connect regularly, Becky. And I know that it has been one of the most important actions we’ve taken as a couple over the years. I’m certain it has kept us living as lovers instead of roommates over our many years of marriage. I’m so touched by how your daughter responded to seeing you and you hubby get married. Those are sweet memories that almost always involve a daughter not a son! ha! And since I have three sons, I look forward to any granddaughters in our future who will tear up at the love my husband and I share! Congrats and I’ve shared on both Twitter and FB! I’d love to win that book!
Laura Lane says
Doing the happy dance with you, Becky! Congratulations!! I tweeted for you. Would love to win the book! 🙂
Good for you Becky! So happy for you!
Crystal @ Serving Joyfully says
Congratulations to you, Becky! Love that story! I didn’t know that you could have pre-published stories in those books…that’s neat. Thanks for sharing–I got a little teary-eyed myself in reading it.
I shared about the giveaway on my blog’s fb page. Dating our husband is so important! Gotta keep the spark alive! 😉
Crystal Green says
I shared this post on my Facebook fan page. Such a great post! Date nights are very important for sure!
I’m so glad I recently found your blog. I’m so tired of reading negative and “funny” stories about how kids/husbands are driving people crazy on other blogs. I needed to be uplifted…and I get that here. Thank you! xo
Thank you so much, Amy! This blesses me. My objective is definitely to encourage and uplift… so I’m happy to hear you’ve found that here. 🙂
Thank you ALL for your kind comments and for sharing this post! I wish I could hug you all!