13 February 2019

Time Limitations, Dates, and Valentine's Day

"We need a date," Angel texts me.

Which may seem like a semi-normal thing for a husband to say. Or not. I don't know if husbands believe in dates in general, or if it's more of the wife's domain. Because it's probably the first time my husband of eight years has ever said it to me.

We've always liked to have fun together, but in recent years when I've suggested us going out to get a meal or go for a walk or watch a movie, he's said, "Great! Let's invite your sisters, too!" Or my parents. Or friends, or kids that we know. We lived far away for so long that we don't want to waste the chance we have now to invest in our relationships with our family and community on this island. Angel fits very well into the community-based lifestyle where everyone does everything together. He reminds me that we moved here on purpose to serve this community, and we can't lose sight of our purpose. I also cherish the opportunity we have to live with others. I love that I finally get to see my sisters grow up. We live much more closely with others here than we ever did before--as an illustrative example, we had nine different people stay in our house for various reasons over the course of our first year in Malaysia, and it was fun.

When we lived in Michigan and when we lived in China we weren't quite so surrounded with a close community and we went on dates and watched movies alone and had a lot of our own traditions with just the two of us.

Life has changed dramatically since moving back to my hometown: diving deep into our community here and spending weekends with the kids at Awana and the teenagers at youth group and finding times to meet up with friends and having family game nights and making sure we're there for my sisters...oh, and now we have a baby, so that even when we go home at night, there is no more "just the two of us."

And now even Angel's at the point of saying, "We need a date."

Because between nights when he's coming home from school at 9 p.m., plus a couple nights of Angel staying out to watch movies with my family while I stay home to put the baby to bed, and then me going out while he watches baby, and trying to schedule when we're going to do our taxes and me reminding him that we can't do taxes at those times because of Awana and other commitments...we're becoming the two proverbial ships passing at night.

We can get a little caught up in our ideas: we need to make Cyrus a priority, we need to teach him new things and take him out to experience the world...and we need to spend time communicating with faraway family and spend time playing with my sisters....and we need to give haircuts to friends and go to a party at someone's house and bring a dish to a potluck and sign up to lead an extra-curricular activity at school and....all of these are valuable. We believe that our marriage is one of the strongest things about us and we believe that it can go without watering for a time, especially during crunch times like the first year of parenting a baby who doesn't sleep much while I have postpartum complications to recover from and our finances are stretched too thin and then Angel begins a brand new career and has to start from scratch in a new field.

And we can. We can. Maybe it's not the best idea, but we can do it. We're a tough pair.

But even Angel can get to the point where he says, "We need a date."

I've started to realize that the homesickness I struggle with sometimes isn't so much homesickness for Michigan as that it's just that I miss Angel. A three-day-a-week hospital job and a rather selfish newlywed lifestyle with few responsibilities...yeah, that was really really fun. No wonder I feel like I miss Michigan. But I don't want to go back, and don't plan to. What I do need to do, however, is schedule in those dates--those nights when we do eat dinner together and watch funny youtube videos. We do need to both watch Cyrus at the same time and play together as a family rather than constantly trading off so that the other adult can get some work done or go to an appointment. Hey, someday we probably need to even both sit in the front row of seats in the car while driving (I always sit in the back with Cyrus...). We're both good at getting work done together, now we just need to remind each other that we ought to have purposeless fun together, too. Put it on the to-do list, maybe. That might just work.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Kay R. said...

This was so sweet. I hope you guys have the best date ever and more to come.

rooth said...

Happy Valentine's Day! A proper date seems to reinvigorate things and also give you a break from the routine :)

Amanda Bumgarner said...

Curious why you sit in the back with Cyrus! Not judging at all, just curious if there was a reason other than because you want to :)
One of my favorite things about the trip Jordan and I took to England in September was how much FUN we had together just the two of us. It was like I remembered how much I like him and how much we actually can get along when we aren't stressed about work or the kids or just general life. We aren't the best at going on an actual date, but it's definitely fun to do every once in a while just to be together the two of us.

Suzanne said...

I think it is so important to make time for each other.

Happy belated Valentine's Day!


AnneMarie said...

It is awesome that you guys are able to recognize the whole "becoming ships in the night" thing-it is so easy for life with kids (and life in general) to completely take over. I hope that you and Angel are able to have some wonderful purposeless fun together sometime!

Julianne said...

One of the best pieces of advice we were given before having kids was to make time for each other and to try and get away alone once a year. It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and all the good things we can be involved in that our marriages can sneakily get the short end of the stick or whatever “leftovers” we have at the end of the day! I really believe our kids benefit from watching Mom and dad put each other first!!

Farrah said...

It's so important to make time for each other! Hope you two had a fun date, and happy belated Valentine's Day!