“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2
Last year for Christmas one of our gifts came from drawing names for “homemade” gifts. The idea was to create something, or do a good deed, that would encourage the chosen family member (or, at least, celebrate who they are.) When I reached in the drawing bowl, I pulled out my son’s name. My son, a broke, but driving high school student has a girlfriend; so, that’s the direction I headed with my gift. I assembled a practical book (Yes, you may yawn at the word “practical”. I’m sure he would, too); I researched “dating information” (keeping his age in mind) and created a little black book of date ideas. This included a letter from Mom on how loved he is and how we expected him to respect his girl guests, basic etiquette, and an ongoing list of inexpensive date ideas from the mundane to the random. Christmas morning my son opened his package, looked at the book, smiled, thanked me and then, did what most teenaged boys would have done, stored it in his side desk drawer never to be seen again.
Until… I found it. (No, I wasn’t just nosing through his stuff –this time.) After a call from my man cub one early afternoon asking if I would mind bringing his guitar and gear for choir practice, I found the little black book as I shoveled through other “I should save, just in case Mom asks for it” junk, while looking for a guitar pick. As life would have it, my man and I were looking for inexpensive random things to do for dates. So we snatched the book for a few weeks. (Yes, asking the man cub would have been the polite and correct thing to do.) It was then that it occurred to me, my man and I needed our own little black date book. One filled with ideas that we would really do, like hiking or scrabble at the coffee shop; and so began its creation.
Lists of abundant date ideas fill Pinterest boards, so it was an easy book to create. The fun part of creating wasn’t just the filling in of ideas, though, but also leaving blank pages for the ideas to come. I wrote down Ideas from ordinary cooking together with jazz music (which sometimes leads to dancing in the kitchen), to taking a class together or enjoying a treehouse picnic. Fun that will certainly keep life a little unexpected and entertaining.
I’m very fortunate to have truly married my best friend. Cliché, but true. We don’t really have the same hobbies or always think on the same page, but we enjoy spending time together which helps align our thoughts, keeping our emotions healthy and our marriage strong. Having a healthy marriage isn’t easy when there are so many distractions. Especially, when those distractions are good things, like our kids, church, and work. However, we made the commitment to each other and want to see it through, even the busiest of seasons. Our new little black book will give us ideas to keep date night flourishing.
On our anniversary morning a week ago, I left our very own little black “Date Night” book on the counter for my man to find when he got out of the shower. Now after twenty one years of marriage, we will keep challenging each other to “date” and create moments that make memories for years to come.