Seeing their parents acting loving towards each other makes children feel secure. It makes them feel that all is right in their world because the foundation of their family is solid. I have seen evidence of this starting even when our oldest kids were just toddlers. If The Husband and I danced or hugged or kissed, they would peek around the corner, unable to hide their little smiles. Sometimes, they would come over and join in the hug or want us to pick them up and hold them while we danced. When they did, I could see by their body language how at peace they were.
I have heard and read of the importance of reassuring your kids that your marriage is on solid ground by demonstrating affection in front of them and have witnessed first-hand how happy it makes our kids, but in the day to day busyness of life, it’s easy to let romance fall to the very bottom of the list. In fact, on our to-do list, it probably doesn’t even appear. Yes, I have excuses. We have been under a lot of stress. We have a sick daughter and therefore I have been getting very little sleep. We are busy. We are on a tight budget. We don’t have extra time. and probably the biggest one… There will be time for dates and romance in our marriage when this or that circumstance changes. But the thing is, there will always be excuses. It may never be a good time to add another thing to our to-do list.
We have been working on our marriage. We are right now signed up for a Love & Respect video series at our neighbour’s (though we missed the first one because we couldn’t find a babysitter for that night). We have been communicating more and have gone through some pretty amazing counselling. We have been kinder to each other and things are better than they have been in as long as I can remember, but romance hasn’t been one of the things we have put effort into. To be clear, I am not talking about s*x here, just romance…you know…stolen kisses, candlelit dinners, bubble baths, slow dancing, love notes, intentional dates, thoughtful gifts…
Friday, my friend D. took two of the boys for the afternoon and evening. The girls were busy watching a movie while I was cleaning the kitchen and as it felt that some time had opened up, I decided to make a special meal for The Husband and I. I had seen a blog post with the recipe earlier in the week that had given me the idea. The Husband and I love good food, but going to fancy restaurants just doesn’t fit into the budget of late, so when I read the recipe for this Cajun Chicken Fettucine Alfredo, I thought that just maybe we could eat restaurant type food at home! It was even more delicious than it sounds, rich with a bit of a kick (I doubled the cajun spice and the garlic called for).
The Husband arrived home and as the table still had remnants from a craft the kids had been working on, we decided to take our dinners out and eat on the deck. It was a beautiful evening and as we sat together, it was honestly not all that romantic. It had been a long week for both of us and things were fairly quiet as we both just tried to decompress. Then, as we sat there, the back door opened and three cute little girls came out carrying glasses of wine for us. They were giggling and smiling and whispering about “mommy and daddy’s date”!
Soon after, they came out carrying a basket. They had taken some of the petals off the roses I got for Mother’s Day (romance does happen occasionally!) and came out tossing the petals and talking about it being like a wedding. They also handed us each one of the yellow roses.
This lightened the mood as we were smiling and talking about what great kids we have! Before long, the door opened again and this time, my ipod appeared on the table, playing a song about marriage. It was cute to envision that our three sweet girls had been conspiring in the kitchen, finding just the right song to bring us!
Once the music was in position, they scurried back in and we could hear them whispering and see the blinds moving as they spied on us, so we felt that it was only right that we get up and indulge them by dancing. It’s been a long time since we danced. We could hear squeals of delight from inside and we hammed it up a bit for our audience!
And on the off chance that we had not yet gotten the hint that our children wanted to see us outwardly demonstrating our love, these signs appeared:
This at-home-date-night was a very humbling reminder to me that some of the things I put my time into are not what my kids really want or need.
What kids need is to feel secure and to see an example of what marriage should be. Lately, some of the marriages around us have broken down and this has brought out some insecurity in our kids, with some of them asking if we are going to “break up” or “have a divorce”. They need more than just verbal reassurance. They need to see their mommy and daddy kiss. They need to hear what God intended marriage to be. They need to see our romance.
Last night, I was tucking one of our daughters in and she smiled up at me and said, “you know that night that you and daddy had your date on the deck? That was my best day ever.”
I hope her words help to inspire you to put the romance back in your marriage. I know that those words will stay with us and remind us that romance in our married love life is a lifelong gift we can give to our children.