Quality of Life 2: In Need of Lighter Fluid

It was a typical Friday evening.  I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my husband so we could have our ‘date night.’  I’m not really sure why I had gotten excited every Friday before; we never actually went anywhere and rarely had anything planned for the evening.

However, something about the day ‘Friday’ gave me high hopes for an exciting night–perhaps memories of when we dated in college and had plans every Friday (most Saturdays, too), memories of when we saw every movie we wanted, ate dinner at all our favorite restaurants in Athens, experienced concerts, theater–we were never out of ideas.  Apparently, we were never out of money, either.  Strange how things change, isn’t it?

We could decide at 11 P.M. that we wanted to go to Waffle House and have a late snack.  We’d hang out with one another until way too late and carry on coherent conversations, unlike now where all dates must begin no later than 7:30 P.M.  Once we cross the 9:00 mark, there’s no telling if anyone will be awake to remember the rest of the evening…

…so why I got excited all the previous Fridays was a mystery, but I was determined that this Friday would be different.  We had three kids now and not a lot of money to spend on lavish evenings out, but we weren’t dead, for goodness’ sake!  I decided to send Matt the following e-mail:

Pick one of the choices below (or add your own).  After you choose your date, add the necessary ingredient(s) to the shopping list.

1. Game night–we can pass time playing cards or another game we find in the closet.  Pick a candy to accompany this date. We can wager M&Ms or Reeses ( or a healthy version at Whole Foods) instead of poker chips.

2. A Quiet Evening–Recreate a book store.  Throw pillows around the den (not the bedroom; we’ll fall asleep), and grab a book to read.  We can relax in each other’s company while enjoying some literature.  At the end of the bookstore date, we have to tell each other a little about what we read and if we would want to buy the book.  Grab whatever you need to make a coffee or tea along with a coffee house dessert to split.

3. Secret Treasure–With eyes closed, reach into the DVD or VCR drawer, and whatever your hand chooses is what we have to watch!  No exceptions!  At the end of the movie, talk about what memories watching this movie invoked. Grab a munchy snack and/or Whoppers to accompany this date.

4. Plan your own date (but it has to show thought and have a communication component)

Matt replied that he liked the idea, and I spent the rest of the afternoon making sure the kids and I cleaned up everything as we went along.  As soon as the kids hit their pillows, the only thing I wanted to do was put the dishes from dinner in the dishwasher and begin our date!  Not knowing what idea Matt had picked made the coming evening all the more enticing.

Matt came home with Whoppers, and as I reached my hand into our movie drawer, we both had a little fear as to what I’d pull out–I was praying I hadn’t grabbed a Star Trek movie or the forever long The Lord Of the Rings. We laughed when I pulled out The Big Lebowski, a clear  flashback to college, and munched on Whoppers (or at least Matt did–he loves them, I hate them) as we snuggled and started the movie.

An hour and a half later, I woke up on the couch feeling rather disappointed that we hadn’t succeeded in completing our date.  Nonetheless, I had earlier felt something that I hadn’t felt in a while–giddiness.  I actually felt a little giddy waiting for Matt and then sitting on the couch laughing with him.  No, we hadn’t left our doors or done anything that amazing, but the fact that we made a definite plan for our evening together, a plan that was somewhat different from the other Fridays gave me a taste of the excitement from years earlier when I’d wait for Matt to knock at my door.

I guess the lesson I learned from this experience is that (1) I shouldn’t plan anything involving movies until Chloe is consistently sleeping through the night, and (2) ensuring that our marriage has a little of that thrill factor from years ago will take focus and commitment.

Life’s different now.  We can’t hop in the car on a whim driving to our next adventure.  We have three other lives for which we are responsible.  They drain us emotionally and physically.  At the end of the night, we have little left for each other.

Life’s different now…and it’s better.  We have the fullness of a family, and we have no better opportunity to show our kids God’s love than how we treat each other in our marriage.  It’s harder and may take a little more creativity, but it’s worth it to try to fan the flame or whatever other cliche’ one would like to use.

So…I need to brainstorm some ideas.  Tomorrow’s Friday, and I’ll be darned if anybody’s going to fall asleep on the couch this time!


Any relationship takes hard work, and those that matter most are worth the invested time.  Last week, I asked what tips you all had for taking care of the environment.  This week I want to know what tips you have for taking care of your most important relationships.  If you are married or dating, do you have any cheap date night ideas?  How do your preserve your friendships?  Share your comments!  Again, my hope is that we can all take away one idea to improve this part of our lives!

Quality of Life

12 thoughts on “Quality of Life 2: In Need of Lighter Fluid

  1. It always amazes me how much we have in common! We should all save our pennies and double date sometime. We seem to like to do the same things when we date!

    And, The Big Lebowski? Andy just introduced me to it a few months ago. I can't believe I spent so many years of my life without The Dude.



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