I remember the days when I scoffed at people who said married life with kids was hard. I mean really, how hard could it be? You have a kid, you get a babysitter, you go out and still live a normal life. Right?
Turns out the ever-present “they” were right: it’s hard. Really really hard. And, while completely worth it, you’d be crazy to think that date nights and romantic evenings won’t change when a child comes in and turns life inside out. Even on the nights that we have a babysitter it’s hard not to be distracted with thoughts of how everything is going at home, but more often than not we just find ourselves falling into a routine of eating dinner on the couch and maybe renting a RedBox movie if we’re feeling fancy.
The truth is that with a really hard season in life comes strain on marriage. This pregnancy hasn’t been a cakewalk, although I could just kick myself for complaining even a teensy bit because I am fully aware of the miracle happening inside of me right now. Chasing a toddler all day is amazing and fun and totally worth it – but it certainly wears on me. And the stress of holidays and travel and unexpected circumstances takes its toll too. Add in work pressure for the both of us and it’s a recipe for missed connections and miscommunication.
We were in desperate need of a date night.
I was given the opportunity to read Ashley Rodriguez‘ new book, Date Night In, and responded within seconds of getting the email. I knew this was something we could do, something we needed, and the evidence of that was mounting heavily. I think I read the entire cookbook within a day and planned out our date nights in within an hour. I told Nate about the plan and he was 100% on board, even being so sweet as to center a Christmas gift around this new life rhythm.
So far we’ve had two official date nights in, and I can tell you this: it was awkward at first. We waited longer to eat, so by the time we got Wes to bed we were shoving the food in rather than talking. Then there was the “what now?” moment where we didn’t know exactly how to start talking again. Isn’t that silly? It feels silly even typing it out, but it’s true. We love one another dearly and have been married for almost 8 years. But the conversation was strange…at first.
But y’all? That all only lasted a few minutes. Then the laughter, hand-holding, real talk started and it was magic. Great food, conversation with the man I love, and time for it to just be us – it all happened because we took the time. Needless to say this is one weekly rhythm we’ll be committing to for a long time.
The book is beautifully written and photographed, touching and raw in moments and completely honest. The food? Well, the food has been nothing short of fabulous thus far. The first date night we had some fantastic Caribbean drumsticks, Parmesan-thyme sweet potatoes and miso mango slaw. The second time around was Pasta e Fagioli with crispy Prosciutto and crostini with ricotta and an amazing pea salad. All served with a side of romance.
Dating my husband will always look different at each stage of life; it’s silly to think that it won’t. As we work together in this thing called life the picture will always be changing and moving, but it has been so nice to be reminded of our desire to just be near one another. If you’re looking for a great way to fire up a date night in, I can’t recommend this book enough!