The Biggest Hurdles to the Vincent Love Challenge:
1. Having a Toddler. (And getting a babysitter for said toddler for date nights and making sure said toddler is not sick when we get said babysitter. If you are a parent, you know said challenge with said toddler and said babysitter.)
2. Surviving the particularly difficult first trimester of Baby #2. (Therefore feeling guilty getting said babysitter for date nights because we've got so many for doctor's apts.)
3. PhD school. (Enough said)
4. Our nutzo schedules. (I can't even.)
5. Selfishness. (Don't even get me started. The root of most of my problems)
When we started the love challenge this year, I had no idea really what a challenge it would be. We knew the PhD would get difficult, but adding all the other ingredients made it boil over. I suppose this is why we needed the challenge in the first place. I didn't want our marriage to ever be in survival mode, no matter where our life took us.
Let's just call it. Marriage usually gets a backseat when people have little kids. These little people need a lot from us. No wonder we spend most nights next to each other watching Netflix. At least we are holding hands while we do it, right? That counts?
When I was preparing to have Titus, I remember a friend describe pushing in childbirth. She said you had to push through the contraction and then some. You have to push even past when you think you are ready for a break. After a lot of hard work, you get to meet your baby at the end. You are rewarded exponentially... and then some.
(Maybe I should've warned you about the childbirth metaphor in advance. Sorry not sorry, mate.)
The season of taking care of little people is an absolute push in and of itself. For Tim and I, we are both ready to give up at the end of the day on everything because we've pushed so much throughout each day. The Vincent Love Challenge is our "And Then Some," the effort at the end of the day or in the midst of our days that makes the difference in our marriage. I'm scared to death of looking back on these years as "the lost years" for us.
We've given each other a lot of grace in this hard season, but coming up on the summer, I realize we are three quarters of the way through our challenge! I'm ready to step up my game and push through And Then Some. I've made it through all Tim's sticks a few times, but I'm going to do them again because that is how he has asked me to love him. Even though I'm bored of making his lunch and organizing his tools, of doing laundry and making dinner, this is my AND THEN SOME battle for our marriage. He loves acts of service, so I will keep serving him. It's not always sexy. Most times, pushing for our marriage means making Tim yet another ham sandwich.
Date night wise, we are struggling ya'll. We've done a few makeovers to our date night sticks. We way overshot a realistic goal in the beginning. We've made it more doable by taking out the ones we've already done but would like to do again. Goodbye dinner at Roost and movie at the Neon. We've taken out the more expensive dates because we are choosing to save for Hawaii for our anniversary in August. Goodbye Ballet and Show at the Shuster. And we've invested in a getaway when a date night really wouldn't do what we needed anyway. Hello Breakfast in Bed! But still, I'm not sure we are going to get through the ones we have left by our sixth anniversary, which was our original goal.
Instead of continuing to worry about or beat myself up about what we may not be able to do, however, I just picked the next stick, Dinner at Lily's Bistro! I'm going to work on getting that in our said nutzo calendar and rejoice with all God has done in our marriage this year. I know the measure of a healthy marriage is not how many dates you can have in a year, but I do know that having new experiences with your spouse breathes new life to your marriage and that making time for one another is crucial. I have great hope that God is for us, for our marriage, and for Lily's Bistro. Amen.
Are you doing your own love challenge? Have you picked a stick lately? What are your biggest hangups? I'd love to hear how your challenge is doing!