David and I got into a fight a few months ago. This is a rare occurrence in our nearly 12 years of friendship and 8.5 years of marriage, as neither of us tend to verbally express our frustration with one another…until the emotions boil over. (If you know my amazing husband, then be assured that my explosions are always much more spectacular than his 🙂 )
The details of this particular fight aren’t important, but the conclusion may have been life changing for us: Under the influence of opposite work schedules and the presence of children, our marriage takes work. A lot of work. It takes time. Time and careful planning.
In the past, the friendship aspect of our relationship has helped smooth over rough patches in our romance and kept us bonding and talking and dreaming even when life was busy and finances were tight. I remember soap wars through our first apartment and night after night of homemade pizzas on the grill. We slept in our purple van on cross-country road trips and carefully budgeted our meager teacher salaries for years after moving to Colorado.
But, now David is a full-time Mines student with one year left in his degree program, and I’m a full-time doula with on-call hours that have me leaving the house at 2 a.m. on occasion. Oh, and we are parents. Parents to a child who has never truly slept through the night (She has made it to 5/6 am three times in the last 14 months, so perhaps that counts), and who still nurses every 3-4 hours some days. With David’s lack of salary and my unpredictable one, budgeting has gone out the window, and we are just grateful that God always provides through our savings and through family.
However, the reality is that we had lost all energy to pursue one another. Without parents in town, we didn’t make the effort to find and hire a babysitter, so we just didn’t go on dates. We both needed together time and alone time to recharge, and both were lacking.
For the first time in our marriage, we have a consistent date night. We didn’t need it when we were hanging out all of the time and able to go on adventures at the drop of a hat. But, now, it is our lifeline. Every Thursday night unless I am at a birth, we schedule an amazing babysitter and go to dinner. Or dessert. Or whatever. But, we have scheduled time to reconnect and talk and discuss issues like parenting techniques, church launch logistics, and the myriad of events that have occurred since we saw each other last.
The beauty is that we didn’t just plan Thursday nights. Rather, the Lord had been convicting me for a long time about having dedicated Sabbath time to rest, so we now also protect Sunday mornings before church to go to a Farmer’s Market with Abby or go get bagels as a family. Something small and simple that a toddler can enjoy, but that also helps us prioritize quality family time. We desire devoted, fun rest/worship time to be a value in our home, and clearly we needed to start this tradition months ago!
But, now is better than never. And, hopefully, our date nights and Sunday mornings will bring a new peace to our home no matter what the coming months may bring. We know that we have job offers/transfers/applications to process through together in the next year. We know that the IVF journey will begin for us again when our lives are a bit more stable. We know that Abby isn’t slowing down anytime soon 🙂
So, we eat and talk and dream.
Oh, and I make Kombucha.
I guess I can’t have a season without a new “hobby/infatuation/etc.,” and this summer I’m apparently obsessed with making homemade Kombucha. Perhaps this “brewing” is part of the me-time that I need to unwind from work and motherhood. It’s simple, but very needed.
And, as an added bonus, Abby loves the fermented drink, and I feel so much better when I’m consuming a lot of the stuff. But, it’s expensive. Like $3 for a small glass jar. So, in my suitcase I carefully packed a SCOBY (the organism colony that “grows” the gut-friendly bacteria) from my Mama’s in Houston and gingerly made my first batch in Denver. Surprisingly good, easy, and cheap. I’m hooked.
So, while the importance of this discovery by no means equals the importance of date night and preserving one’s marriage, it is, however, a small symbol to me of personal growth. Learning new things. Adventure. Turning my kitchen counter into a habitat for Kombucha “Mothers” and their “SCOBY” babies. (Don’t you want a habit that has such amazing terminology?!?!)
Anyway, I don’t know what is right for you in this season of your life. Many of my dearest friends aren’t married and don’t have kids, which comes with its own set of challenges, dreams, and desires. But, in whatever season you find yourself, make sure that you are making time to preserve those relationships nearest and dearest to you. Drop everything else – including budgets if absolutely necessary – to allow real, meaningful conversation, rest, and worship occur in your heart and home.
And, if you must, make Kombucha 🙂