When Edric and I have date night on Mondays our favorite places to go to are quiet and crowd-less, where we can talk. Sometimes we will throw in a good movie at the theater but we definitely want to sit down and connect.
We checked out SM Aura last night but it was swarming with people. Well, swarming by our standards. Usually, we enter a mall on a Monday night and it’s like having the place to our selves (almost). Aura is going to be a fun mall to shop in when all the stores are open, but for now, people are flocking to it out of curiosity. Lots of people traffic. We were there for 20 minutes until we realized it wasn’t going to be conducive to conversing on any sort of private level. So we got out of there as quickly as possible and went to a place called Casa Marcos.
Aside from a mom and her son, we were the only other customers. That was more like it. Tucked away in a corner, we ordered Paella Valencia, a salad, and gambas. The salad was so-so but the Paella and shrimp were fantastic. I wasn’t hungry but I probably ate two pounds worth of food. I’m sure the baby was thrilled!
These date nights have been a significant part of our marriage. Parenting four children can blur the borderlines of our identity as a couple. Plus, our schedules tend to get pretty hectic so we need to get away at least once a week to be together.
Even though Edric and I interact with one another daily, the “how was your day?” and chit-chatting isn’t enough. At home, the kids are all vying for attention. Cell phones, gadgets, and social media are a distraction. And pragmatic concerns are top of mind. So we have to escape from all of that.
On our way to Casa Marcos, I actually made the mistake of asking Edric if I could call the kids and tell them where we were going to have dinner. He turned to me and was like, “Are you serious? No. You don’t need to call the kids. This is you and me time.” Of course, he was right.
This time is supposed to be “sacred.” There can be 10 million things going on in our lives but when we choose to be fully present for one another, communication magic happens. We listen, exchange ideas, share our longings, fears, dreams, and confess (if necessary) anything that might be a threat to our relationship or to our walk with the Lord. There is vulnerability and accountability, a lot of laughter…hallmarks of oneness and connectedness – intimacy.
I praise God that there is nothing I can’t talk to Edric about and he would say the same. There are certain issues that I may bring to the Lord first but I have no dark secrets or untouchable compartments in my person that are off-limits to Edric. He has free access. Similarly, there is no hiding or pretense on his part.
Last night, over Paella, shrimp, and salad, we discussed some very important issues that were weighing heavily upon Edric. Of all the people in the world, he knows that his feelings are safe with me. Over the years, I’ve also learned to see where he is coming from first and pray for him quietly in my heart, even when I’m itching to make comments like, “You should do this…” Or, “You should change your perspective…”
As a wife, I may not be able to solve Edric’s problems or win his battles for him. Honestly, there are occasions when I don’t know how to encourage him or what to say to make him feel better. But, he has more than once told me that all he needs from me is to listen, pray for him, and focus on my role as a wife.
Every married couple needs to cultivate habits that foster intimacy. The reality is all marriages are at risk. It doesn’t matter how many years a couple is married or what stage their marriage is in. The evil one is hell-bent on destroying families and will target a husband and wife – the nuclear relationship. If he can tear that apart then he gets the family, too.
For Edric and I, having a weekly date night has been a way to counteract his attempts to keep us too busy and too preoccupied with parenting, ministry, and work to pay attention to our relationship. The kids have learned not to dissuade us from going out, too. Occasionally, they will make comments about how sad they feel when we are gone, but they have learned to cooperate with us. On weeks when we can’t have date night but want to be alone in our room, they will respect that. When we tell them that our relationship as husband and wife is a priority, they understand. And, they are happier children because of it. They reap the benefits!
Someday, I hope this habit of preserving a beautifully untouchable space in the week like date night will leave an imprint in their minds, an example they can pass on to their own children. It’s not so much the date itself but the act of giving one’s spouse the time and attention they need to feel loved and important…making the effort to build intimacy.