Monday, September 07, 2009

Couch Time & Date Night



This is not the "couch time" I had in mind, but it is a nice picture of our family. I'll refer to it as (CT) from here on out.

Early in our marriage, when we had a couple of children, we learned this concept of having a daily CT. It entails sitting down together as husband and wife and just talking and the recommended time is 15 minutes. Sounds doable, right? That's not a lot of time, but it isn't always easy to attain. Here's the thing, though. When you have toddlers toddling, and children that want to show you their latest trick or want you to play with them, it's easy to get distracted. Or if you practice "child-centered" parenting, this whole CT thing is not going to work because you'll turn your attention to your children at their every whim. Now, hear me out on this, children certainly need attention, but our marriages vitally need for us to be intentional.

When we first learned about this, we would take the time and sit down and talk about our day. Believe me, it was difficult to pull off the 15 minutes because children want your focus. With work and effort, we were successful, but it wasn't always easy.

Now we have 5 children, and they surely keep us busy. I think there were chunks of time several years back that we didn't do our daily CT, because we got busy, or distracted, or just plain forgot. We would talk together at the kitchen sink, or when they went to bed, but our desire was to model to the children how important it is to nurture our marriage. They couldn't see that if they were sleeping. I'm thankful that we learned this principle. It has helped to knit us together as husband and wife.

Couch time has morphed into what I would call "Table Talk". We tend to sit together after a meal, grab a good cup of coffee, and connect in that way. Another thing we do is clean the kitchen together after supper and talk then. Shawn's parents are famous for this and I think it's a great way to connect.


Around the same time we learned the first principle, we also heard how important it is to go on regular date nights; to keep the romance alive and to have that much-needed alone time. It seems that on this one we are not always consistent. We are happy being with the children and sharing lots and lots of family time together. We have just about every meal together with the exception of when Shawn is at work, of course. On the weekend, you can be sure we are seated at our table breaking bread 3 times a day. That is an entirely different topic, and I know there are seasons when it can't always happen, but I'm truly thankful that we are able to do it as much as we do.

Moving to England has had a profound effect on our date nights. Afterall, who would watch the kids? We had to get creative on occasion and go on a date in our home when the kids went to bed. We would watch a movie or have a special dinner. I think the move has made us even closer as a family because of all the time that is spent together.

I realized that we have to get back to basics, though, and be intentional about going on a weekly date. I talked to my DH, and he wholeheartedly agrees.

So we picked THURSDAYS. Yay!

How about you? What do you do to be intentional about your marriage?


14 comments:

Andrea said...

You two are beautiful together and you have a beautiful family. I know your CT time has been a vital part of your lives. We have to have time together to truly communicate daily.

Blessings and prayers, andrea

steffenboysmom said...

You are so right~! You Must be a good couple in order to be good parents! What an awesome concept!

I would say that our CT time is our bike rides together in the evenings. ( without the kids) I so miss summer when the weather prevents us from doing this!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Love the pictures and enjoyed reading your blog....

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Heart2Heart said...

Carol,

Steve and I try and spend our evenings together, sometimes it just sitting in bed and reading while the kids are asleep or occasionally we do have a date day. Since things are usually less expensive during the day than evening meals and movies.

Another thing is Wednesday night services at our church because our kids are all in the respective classes so we can worship and study alone with our church.

Love this idea and thanks for sharing how you both are keeping marriage at the top of your priority list.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

McCrakensx4 said...

Love love love the family picture...too great! Ryan & I used to have date nights and then football happened! Every once in awhile we will go out! I hope you have so much fun on your dates!

SmallWorld at Home said...

We've also done "table time" (based on GKGW couch time) for years and highly recommend it to anyone!! Our kids have grown up with table time, and we cherish those 15 minutes, even twice each week.

He & Me + 3 said...

That is a beautiful family picture. I love the concept of Coach Time. How cool. We just try to squeeze a date night in once a month. We need to do better in that area.

Darcie said...

How wonderful! Yes, married couples need that time...it is so important. I had a lady tell me when I was first married to foster my relationship with my husband, because one day our kids grow up and leave home and we don't want to be living with a stranger when they do. Good advise that I took to heart.

Great pictures too my friend!

E @ Scottsville said...

I'm speechless at the moment, so just pray for me.

*sigh*

Lindsey the Muse-r said...

K, I haven't visited your blog in a while, but what a great post to come back to:) Great marriage advice to live by! My husband and I agreed that when he comes home, I get first dibs on greeting him. It's fun and the kids can see that we miss each other during the day.
You have a beautiful family!:)

Pam said...

You are so blessed!! Great post!! And you better believe I am being intentional as i continue the fight for my marriage!! :) one day!!

chili pepper said...

We have always tried to do this one way or the other to. We don't call it couch time but it is the same idea. When my husband is home for meal time we always sit and talk together while the kids clean up the kitchen. On the mornings when he is in town we have coffee together. And we always have our date night. It changes from week to week because of my husband's travel schedule but right now it is to go to our Bible class and dinner together on Monday nights. Over the years we never had anyone to watch our kids so we had dates at home. A movie, game of cards, carryout from a local restaurant...whatever, it was our time and the kids knew it. We made it a priority becasue we wanted a strong marriage...we love our kids but first and foremost we were best friends. And I think it is paying off. When our kids play house, I hear the Pa and Mama going on a date or the Pa telling the children he will be glad to talk to them in a little while but right now is Mama's turn. A few weeks ago Aedan was explaining to me that Pa and Mama's need time alone because dates make more friendship.

We love our kids...love to be with them... miss them when we aren't... but first and foremost and in the end, we will be a married couple.

Rachel said...

AMEN!!!!

So few people realize that to truly give your kids a healthy view of marriage and family, you have to put your marriage ahead of them. Great post, great reminders, and great principles! I wholeheartedly agree!!!

Gotta Have Faith said...

My wife and I need a date Month! I would love to be able to take her away for the weekend! We don't really have anyone who could watch them for a day or two, so we mostly hang out at home and try to get some alone time at night after the kids are asleep.

Of course, by that time we are both pretty wiped out!

Steve