During the years I was growing up, every Wednesday evening my parents went out together for a “date night.” A date night consisted of a trip to one of the local restaurants (usually Hunt’s or Lum’s) for a sandwich and then to the Eagle food store to buy groceries for our family.
On one particular Wednesday, after Mom and Dad returned home with a car full of groceries, Mom decided she was going to tape the grocery store receipt to the refrigerator. She wanted her children to see and appreciate how much money it took to feed our large family. Mom continued this practice every Wednesday for several months.
Her plan didn’t work. No one paid attention to the receipts. All her children cared about was whether there was food in the refrigerator.
Out of curiosity, on one occasion I looked at one of the receipts Mom had taped to the refrigerator. The receipt was longer (in length) than usual and showed that $283 had been spent on groceries for that particular week. At that time, my parents had 14 children. It was in 1971 and I was 14 years old.
I recently looked up how many dollars it would take today (2012) to buy the equivalent of what $283 bought in 1971. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website shows that as a result of 41 years of inflation, the dollar amount needed today that would have the same purchasing power of $283 in 1971 is $1603.51. Can you imagine spending $1603.51 for a week’s worth of groceries for your family?
As I recall, my parents rarely missed one of their date nights. They felt that it was important to get away together at least once a week without any children or friends. They believed they needed time together every week to keep their marriage stable and fresh.
As a result of my parents’ example, Georgette and I adopted the same weekly “date night” ritual (after our first three children were old enough to leave at home with Georgette’s mother). At first, we weren’t able to eat out at a restaurant every week because we didn’t have the money. Our dates consisted of going for long walks or stopping by a restaurant for a soft drink. As our children grew older, we were able to get out every week on a consistent basis.
In the early 1990s, I purchased two tape sets by Ellen Kriedman, a well-known marriage counselor and “relationship expert” in California. Kriedman was in the business of offering classes for men and women in which she taught them what they needed to know about each other and gave them pointers as to how they should treat each other.
After years of counseling couples and teaching her classes, Kriedman recorded two cassette tape programs: Light His Fire for women and Light Her Fire for men. In each program, Kriedman offered 50 ways for her listeners to enhance their relationships with their spouses.
I never listened to the Light His Fire program, but I can tell you that the content in the Light Her Fire program was excellent. Georgette felt the same way about the Light His Fire program. (As a bonus, there was nothing inappropriate or improper in either of the programs – just good practical advice.)
One of the 50 suggestions in the Light Her Fire program was to set one evening aside each week as a “date night.” Kriedman emphasized the importance of a married couple spending time together without anyone else present. She made the obvious point that by the time children grow up and leave home, most couples have grown apart and no longer really know each other or have anything in common. The purpose of the weekly date night was to replicate what actually occurred when the couple was dating – a relaxed environment where the couple could chat, laugh together, and enjoy each other’s company.
In case you’re curious, I didn’t buy Kriedman’s tape sets because Georgette and I were having problems in our marriage. We weren’t having problems. We were very busy working and raising our family and felt that our marriage was strong and stable; however, since I’m always looking for ways to grow personally, when I heard about Kriedman’s tape sets, I bought them in the hope that Georgette and I would benefit from her years of experience.
After 32 years of marriage, Georgette and I still maintain our weekly date night ritual. Successful marriages don’t just happen. They must be nurtured and developed over time and the weekly date night is the perfect tool to help accomplish the goal of a successful marriage.
Weekly one-on-one time together not only works well in building a stronger relationship between a married couple; it also works well for building a stronger and more lasting relationship with God. Just as we need to set aside dedicated time every week to spend with our spouse, we also need to set aside exclusive one-on-one time to spend with our Lord. There is no better place to do this than a perpetual adoration chapel where Jesus is always present – body, blood, soul and divinity.
We currently have some open weekly holy hours in the St. Philomena Perpetual Adoration Program. Are you willing to set up a weekly “date night” with our Lord so you can nurture and develop your relationship with Him? I’m sure you would agree with me that if you want your relationship with God to flourish and grow, you need to be spending exclusive one-on-one time with Him every week.
Don’t put this off any longer. Call the church rectory and sign up for a weekly holy hour. By spending an hour of your time each week with the Son of God, your love for Him will continue to mature and grow.
When the time comes for you to face God, you want Him to be able to say to you, “Welcome! You continually made an effort to show your love for me by taking an hour each week to visit with me. Come and enter into my heavenly kingdom where you will spend all eternity with me, the angels and saints, and the members of your family who also showed their love for me. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”