The following is the first of several letters about love & marriage that Melody wrote to her children…enjoy!
Dear Brock, Malary, Madi, Max & Mitch,
I remember every Friday night while I was growing up that my dad would take my mom out on a date, almost without exception. Once in a while when it was one of our birthdays or some other special occasion, we got to tag along…but usually they just went out alone. I always thought it was kind of funny, I mean, they were married! Why did they need to go out on a date? They already dated and fell in love a long time ago…..and now they’re married….I just didn’t get it…but it was really important to them and they always went out…every Friday night.
You can see, even now, how much Grandma and Grandpa love each other…they always have.
Now I understand how important that weekly date was to them…or the way they would play card games, or go to the mountains, or work on the yard together….or sing together…they always make time to be together. The love that they had for each other affected my life so much, I always hoped that I’d have a husband someday who would want to take me out on dates like that.
One thing that we know about Dad is that he loves to have fun.
He works hard and he plays hard. Dad has taught me how important it is to stop and have fun together. As you know, I am a productivity addict….sometimes an absolute workaholic…but dad and I have always found ways to make everything fun, even work. In the beginning of our marriage, we didn’t have much money…well, we didn’t really have any money after our basic needs were met…but we always had our Friday nights together for a date…most of the time we date TWICE a week.
And, as you know…dad and I have always done lots of things together with our friends and with you guys…and with our families….camping and boating and parties…but the time I am talking about is one on one time….dates.
Here’s the deal….sometimes it’s really hard for me to stop what I’m doing to go on a date…seriously….sometimes I have to make myself go…and make myself want to be there….and, I’m sure sometimes it’s the same for dad. Things get stale, and we get sick of being around each other…or maybe we’re sort of annoyed with each other (you know how hard it was to be around dad much of the time when he was so depressed and sick)…and I’d rather hang out at home and read a book, or he’d rather go outside and dig a hole with his tractor and fill it back in again…..but, we always make time….we get dressed up, and he shaves and wears cologne and I wear my hair down and we get in the car and go…..and before the night is over, we have decided, once again…that if we had it to do all over again, we would have chosen each other for sure.
That’s what dates are for…to remind us.
It’s been a really critical part of keeping our marriage first…of keeping it alive and of showing each other how we really feel about each other. It’s been really important during all of the different phases of our marriage that we stopped what we were doing, at least once a week, and focused on each other to the point that we forgot everything but each other…you HAVE to take yourself out of life, just the two of you….and step into a place of fun that reminds you why you got married in the first place….that you don’t just LOVE each other, but that you really do like each other, too.
The key to all of this that when you are going out together, treat each other the way you did when you WERE dating….plan special things…ASK each other out…get cleaned up and dressed up like you really want to impress each other…hold hands, sit next to each other….flirt with each other….walk next to each other, walk slow, cherish your time together…talk to each other…ask each other questions
….figure out how to make each other feel like THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON ON EARTH….
because I promise, the key to happiness is understanding that your spouse IS the most important person on earth to you….just like I said before….you are the ONLY person on the earth who has made a promise to be this person’s partner…to help them and love them through life…to accept them and help them find happiness and be successful….you’re the only one they’ve got…and they’re the only one you’ve got…make the MOST of it…..
Now you understand what we were doing every Friday night when you always asked “why are you going on a date again?” …..we were doing it for you and for us…..and you need to do it for your children and for each other….it’s very very important and you’ll see dramatic changes in your marriage when you really make a commitment to it.
And…dad and I will always be here to babysit your babies when you want to go on a date!!! We’ve been looking forward to it forever!