Throughout our marriage, Matt and I have been on and off successful at going out on formal "dates." For our first year of marriage, because of completely opposite work schedules and a lack of extra money, we didn't make too much of an effort to do the whole restaurant-and-movie combo much (but because we were newlyweds and giddy about spending any time whatsoever together, it didn't really matter). Once things got more stable for us financially thanks to my teaching job and Matt getting a part-time job, we had a lot more to play with as far as funding for dates went, and about two years ago we made it a habit of going out nearly every Friday night.
Fast forward to more recently, and pregnancy had changed all that. I don't know what it was, but we just didn't go out as much anymore--it felt like too much effort to waddle myself anywhere other than to my job and around the apartment, and getting all dolled up to go out fell pretty far down on the priority list, too. (Plus I was not one of those women who felt sexy and beautiful when I was pregnant. I just didn't.)
And of course, now that we have a baby in the house...well, going out on any date sans infant in tow is a Big Deal (at least for now). So we definitely didn't take it for granted!
I think that's the thing that surprised me most about going out--I had heard from everyone that it was important to still go out on dates (but I'd also heard how hard it was to make it happen), and everyone and their second cousin told me to take advantage of going out as much as we could before the baby came--but no one told me how thrilling it would be to go out hand-in-hand with our babe safely tucked into her grandma's arms with a whole five hours--five HOURS!--ahead of us to fill as we chose. It's like all the giddiness from that first year of marriage flowed back as we ran through the rain into the movie theater to catch the new Avengers movie, and we laughed together easily and talked animatedly over the ending of the movie as we went to "our" place to eat (Leatherby's).
And it was just good, ya know? It just felt right and necessary and rejuvenating to spend that time working on that most important of all relationships--our marriage. Before we had Raven, "working on the marriage" never really seemed like something we needed to do because our relationship was developing organically, and we had plenty of time and energy to spend only on each other. But now I get it--I get why people say that you have to be careful to not let the baby take center stage all the time--that you have to work on the initial relationship and love that made that baby happen in the first place.
So while we might not be getting back to our weekly just-the-two-of-us dates for awhile, I think we will start making "dating" a higher priority than before.
And that makes this new mama pretty excited.
(Pics are of the anniversary flowers Matt gave me and of us with Raven right before dropping her off with my in-laws)