It was as if I were 21 again. I took more time getting ready than I had since before we were married nearly 10 years ago. I spent some time with a blow dryer and a curling iron. Some red polish. Lotion. He wore a tie and I pulled on heels. A dress. A sparkly thing in my hair. New earrings.
After getting the sitter situated with our three young kids, we went out into the dark winter night and headed downtown. We found a lucky parking spot, I lost an earring back, he found a pencil for me, and I fixed the eraser as a makeshift back as we walked down the city sidewalk. I felt like a real grown up with my real man on a real date, rushing through the cold dark, anticipating the evening together, the sound of my heels hard on pavement. But things aren’t always what they seem – and this wasn’t really a date. Because I? Was not the only girl in the room.
That’s my husband there in the middle of 10 beautiful girls – girls from our youth group at church. And you guessed it – he’s the youth pastor. We had a winter social, and it was fun. It was also his job. It was also not a date.
Except that it was a date. Because after 10 years and 3 kids, I’ve discovered that date nights are more of a frame of mind than a date on the calendar. There was a time when I would have complained my way out of a night like this, lamenting that if we spend the time and energy to get a sitter and dress up, by all means we should be alone at dinner! But I’m learning to find the date in the plans rather than always trying to plan the date. And while I believe that date nights (without 100 high school students around) are important, I’m also learning the importance of flexibility, and of finding the unique gift in what I’ve been given.
As it turns out, we really love high school students. And we really love each other. And that night was fun and relaxing and life-giving. When thinking about time with my husband, it helps to remember that life is a series of seasons, and youth ministry and having young kids is the season we are in right now. And it’s okay to embrace that, and to be flexible with the date nights.
Do you have a creative and unexpected date night story? We’d love to hear it and be inspired!
by Emily Freeman, Chatting at the Sky