This week I’m celebrating my 4th wedding anniversary with my family, not just my wife. From before my son was born my wife and I talked and decided family is always apart of every celebration. This does mean that we need to do things a little different and go places that my son can go with us. We have taken him to a few restaurants that most wouldn’t normally take a child just because they are considered more “upscale”.
Cultures are different some see family as a significant part of everything and others have importance for family but also separate evenings/dates just for the parents. I’ve been told by many that I need a “date night” with just my wife and not my son. I’ve listened respectfully and say “I hear and understand your perspective, thank you.” and leave it at just that because I feel different about the issue.
When my wife and I were getting to know each other a majority of it was in groups with others. Much of that time we weren’t even dating because of what we were doing at the time wouldn’t allow for dating. However we both knew without even talking that we would be married someday and we accepted that we couldn’t date. As we did finally start dating we talked about having a family and what that would mean for us and family is and was always in the picture.
My wife and I have had a few times in the past three years that we have gone to conferences or other places with close friends and they will take our son for a short amount of time giving us enough time to sit down and have ice cream or maybe a quick meal. But the one thing we find in these times is all we talk about is —family— this is so much apart of who we are and how we live that separating or telling our son “no you can’t go with us” feels like rejection.
For me I don’t like to set aside an evening and say it is a “date night” for me and my wife. Instead we have one day a week that we have “family day“! It is the one day a week that I put aside all work, all emails, and all other contact with anyone outside of our family and I ask “What does the family want to do today?” We have some of our best memories from these days. It was hard at first for me to tell others I can’t/won’t do any work on this one day a week because it is in the middle of the week and not on the weekend but I felt strongly as the head of my family this is what I needed to do for the wellbeing of the whole family. Now it has become a part of our life and most everyone I work with and our friends know this one day a week is off limits to them.
The past four years I have just started learning about what family is. One things I know and feel deep inside is that family is more important than any work, any ministry, and any friends. I believe in continuing building my relationship with my wife and growing together and a big part of that growing has been our son for the past three years, and coming soon our daughter. They will always be the middle of our “family day“— and if that means we are not welcome in some restaurants because of our children or we are asked to leave other places because of our children those really aren’t the kinds of places I want to be or need to be.