Marriage is one of those things that you can't fully prepare for until you are in the throws of it. I think it's probably similar to having a baby, though slightly less drastic. You can read and pray and prepare all you want, but there are aspects of marriage that I just wasn't briefed on until Parker and I were living together under one roof, completely sharing our lives. I remember being so ready to marry Parker. We would get to have every meal together and fall asleep on the couch to the latest rom com while eating chocolate (okay, so Parker and I may have had slightly different expectations on the idealistic marriage. He would probably skip the chick flick and sugar, but I digress). Marriage would be so fun. Every night is date night when you're married!
.... yeah, no.
Okay, so marriage IS fun. It's a blast in fact, but every night is most certainly not date night. Life is going to happen. Parker is going to have to study. I am going to have dinners with girlfriends. We are going to have people over. He is going to want to play video games, and I am going to relish an evening of reality television on the couch by myself. If every night were date night, we probably wouldn't appreciate it. Marriage is work, and you have to work in those date nights when and where you can.
The whole idea for this topic came from a text I received from a friend a couple of months ago. I can't remember the exact context, but he asked if Parker and I wanted to go out with a group that Friday night, and I told him we were doing a date night. His response was, naturally, "You're married. Every night is date night". I really can't fault him too much since I used to think the same thing. When you're married, you know this isn't the case, but when I was single, I certainly thought it was. When one of your friends gives you the friendly guilt trip of going on a date night instead of hanging out, you kind of want to slap them. Then you want to slap yourself for thinking about slapping a friend. Then you remember why you wanted to slap them in the first place, and you want to slap them again. It's a vicious cycle.
The thing is, our marriage is not an episode of The Bachelor. We don't go on helicopter rides over one of the seven wonders of the world one night and then ride horses on the beach the next. That's cute, but that's not reality. The reality is that every night is not date night. Honestly, I am glad it isn't. It's hard to appreciate something that's handed to you on a silver platter whenever you want it. Date nights are special because they don't happen every night. Parker and I still get so excited to dress up on a Friday night and go on a date. We still get excited when both of our Tuesday nights are perfectly clear, allowing us to do dinner and a movie on the couch. Life is going to get in the way sometimes, but it sure does make those date nights you do get to experience sweet!