A few nights ago, my wife and I had the privilege of eating dinner out while a friend kindly watched our infant son. Although this was not our first time leaving him with someone else, it was our first time doing so for the purpose of a night out. We had been cautioned by numerous experts not to neglect ourselves amidst the joyous obsession of caring for a new baby; so with friends and family lining up to babysit, we decided it was time to relax and reconnect.
Upon leaving the house, however, we instantly settled into an awkward silence. Despite our best efforts, we struggled to maintain any conversation for the entire drive to the restaurant. Once we were settled in our booth, silence continued its stifling reign. Then, about halfway through the meal, we suddenly came alive, drinking one another in and conversing intimately. We simply needed the time and space to get reacquainted and rediscover the joy of being in one another’s presence.
As resilient as we are, humans are fragile beings, and if I may suggest so, marriage is even more vulnerable. Marriage requires proactive maintenance if its optimum potential is to be achieved. In an effort to keep our relationship from deteriorating, my wife and I have strived to maintain a routine date night. This habit always appealed to our common sense, yet we had no inkling of its vital importance prior to becoming parents.
Dinner out, without friends or agenda, was suddenly so foreign, even though we had done it a hundred times before. It was truly startling how quickly we forgot how to enjoy each other as a couple. Thankfully, we learned this lesson early. After all, it is no secret that marital relationships become frighteningly brittle when neglected. The subtle threat is that our attention is often courted by equally noble causes. Therefore, it would behoove spouses everywhere to establish their priorities early and remain alert and guarded against the forces that tempt. As for my wife and I, we will continue to make date night a priority, warding off the distractions of life that would make us strangers; for when the kids are grown and gone, we desperately hope to still be best friends and lovers.