Sharing Homemade Treats
Cheap dates are not the sort of thing you'd address when you first start courting. But after marriage, especially with the cost of family life, cheap dates become important. Others, too, can teach us why we need time alone as a married couple. For example, over the Christmas holiday, Jane arrived at our neighborhood party, her petite, pretty self. I wanted to ask her about her recent separation.
Although I knew I was prying, I said, “Jane, I know it isn’t any of my business, but I was concerned when I heard about you and Tom. Is there anything I can pray for?” Some part of her private heart broke loose, then she looked at me intently and said, “Martha, Tom, and I quit working on the marriage after the children came. We just kept brushing our feelings under the rug and didn’t deal with them. We didn’t make our marriage a priority and make time together. Whatever you do, work on your marriage!"
It's not often that someone you know in a casual way shares so deeply, and her words hit me. Not that Michael and I don’t work on our marriage of 30 years, but she verifies something I know to be true but so seldom heard. Take time to work on your marriage!
Looking through the eyes of Catholicism and frugality, what are some ways we can strengthen the Sacrament of Marriage? Below are a few of which Michael reminded me, and I will rate them according to restaurant symbols.
Remember: An investment in your marriage is like savings in the bank. You dated before marriage, and monthly reconnecting is a vital glue within your marriage now. Dates don’t have to be expensive, but they speak loudly to your children and the world that you make your marriage a priority!
$$$= OVER $50
Hire a babysitter and sail off to the city with your spouse for the afternoon. Hit a hotel.
Find coupons for dining out. Heck, go to an expensive restaurant and order the menu's cheapest thing. Or you can order one expensive entrée and split it.
Visit a timeshare presentation, say at Whistler BC, and sit through the 90-minute event for the privilege of having two nights free. Many couples do this as a common weekend getaway but don’t bring their checkbooks.
For dinner out, without going out, try “dining in.” Get two prepared meals from a caterer or Stouffer’s Lasagna, and when the children are down, enjoy a candle-lit meal with a $3 bottle of wine or sparkling cider.
Net flicks or a movie off Amazon equals a movie at home. So why not add to the event with some homemade popcorn.
And finally, consider family camping or even back-packing. Dates work there too. Some of my sweetest memories are sitting with Michael around the campfire when the children were asleep in the tent.
$=FREE or nearly so (these simple acts can truly add to your marriage)
Grab hands every time prayers are said at Mass.
Go for a long walk on the weekend.
Read the Bible together at your dinner table, which has been set with candlelight and placemats. Dinner can be such a wonderful time to retreat and reconnect as a family.
Set up your house for romance where you can light a candle, enjoy some wine or tea, and talk after the children are down.
Rent the first movie you ever saw together.
Re-read as a couple, love notes or greeting cards you’ve given each other over the years.
Look through photos or videos of treasured times.
Write and share a list of 10 reasons why you love each other.
The greatest gift Michael and I can give to our five children, besides our Catholic faith, is our marriage, where we continue to “date each other.” It's money well spent.
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.