I remember our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife. After a full day teaching, I rushed home from school in order to arrive before my husband. Pulling the heart-shaped cream cheese mints I had made the night before from the freezer, I threw two potatoes into the oven to bake while I marinated the steaks, then set the table with my best dishes. With everything cooking, I ran to the bedroom (not far in our tiny house) to change into my best formal dress. It was, after all, Valentine’s Day.

I laugh at the memory of this, our first “home date” that I can remember. My husband and I had two full-time jobs and few expenses, with disposable income to spare every month, and no children yet. Why didn’t we go out to a restaurant? Though I can’t remember the exact reason, I can tell you that I remember more vividly many of our “home dates” than I do the ones where we went out.

Home is our safe, secure, “happy place.” There is no server constantly (though well-meaningly) interrupting our conversation. We can choose the music to be played, and choose and prepare our own food, saving money and eating more healthfully.

Fast-forward a few years. We have three small children, and this particular weekend, no babysitter. What to do? Pull out the home date option. Children bathed and in bed by 7:30 (having an already-established bedtime routine is helpful), we head downstairs to mix up an appetizer together, consumed along with sparkling cider in fancy glasses. Next, we fix the main course and eat it while watching a new or “old favorite” movie. Part-way through the movie, we bring out dessert. Dinner finally consumed, we cuddle on the couch to finish the movie. (You don’t have to be a foodie to date at home…you can also order a pizza and open some cans of soda!)

A few years later (wow, the time sure goes fast!) all our children are older and don’t retire as early as before, and they have busy activity schedules. How to get that home date in? Light bulb! Youth group, when all three are out of the house at the same time. Movie? Check. Steaks? Check. Sparkling cider? Check…chilling in the refrigerator. Going to get it, I glance at the old picture of three little ones posted on the outside. I am so happy they have a mommy and daddy who still love each other and want to spend time together after all these years.

Spending time with your spouse without the children around is crucial to a good marriage. Children need to know that mommy and daddy sometimes want to be together, alone. Your affection for each other is part of their overall security. In short, while it seems you’re doing it for the two of you, you’re also doing it for them.

Wife and homeschooling mother of three, Kim enjoys reading, writing, and watching old movies.  A self-proclaimed chocoholic, she also loves to cook and bake.  You can find more of her musings (and recipes) at thedaisymuse.com.

Plus Kim offers us another Habit for a Happy Husband today. Please visit Passionate Purposeful Parenting for A Letter to My Husband of 20 Years.