“Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won’t be an end.” – Anthony Robbins
At my bridal shower, my bridesmaids had each guest write words of advice for me as I dove into married life. I will forever remember reading one, “ find time for just the two of you– make it a priority to still have date night.” I remember thinking, “Well duh! Of course we will still go out on date night!”
When my husband and I were dating, we made it a priority to not get in a “routine” of what our date nights looked like and would call eachother out on it when they began to get “too routine”. (Yes, going out to dinner is nice, but maybe we should take a break from Chili’s or Applebee’s and find something different! ) My husband was great at romantic surprises: picnic lunches at the local winery, showing up at my house with wine and flowers, cooking and planning a game night in together, or planning a great dinner out at a restaurant we both had never tried. Knowing how we had dated and kept our relationship exciting with special things like this, I never feared that we would have an issue with it once we were married. I never thought twice about the wise words from a dear friend of mine.
Then, we had Kellen. Our baby boy. And now, I understand my friend’s wise words. I’m tired. I’m worn out from the daily grind of parenthood. We’re on a tight budget with less money flowing in. Instead of planning fun date nights, I look forward to cozying up in my sweatpants, turning on Netflix, and scrolling through my Facebook feed. Why? Money. Time. But really, the fear of leaving our sweet boy with someone other than me or my husband. (Yes, I know I need to cut the cord and leave him sometime!)
But that’s where my husband reigns. He is the king of still finding ways to date, though married. He is able to “keeping dating” by making me feel special; by taking the time to build up our marriage each day. You see what he discovered is that dating your wife or husband doesn’t have to be huge or costly; it just takes time. Time to remember what they enjoy, what makes them tick, and what makes them feel special. Time away from the piles of laundry, vacuuming that needs done, or the newest post on Facebook; traded in for time together and thoughtful gestures. While he has managed to do this throughout our marriage each month through notes in my lunches at work, surprise weekend plans, or just an encouraging morning text message, he seems to be outdoing himself in the dating field this holiday season.
This December, I turn 30. And through the stresses of being a new, first-time mommy, facing the reality that I will have to leave my son soon and return to work, my husband has stepped up his dating game with a 30 day countdown of special gestures, gifts, and surprises to my 30th birthday. Each day, I’ll update on what surprise gesture I received–not to brag (though he is AMAZING!), but in hopes that it may encourage you to find ways to continue to “date” your husband or wife.To take time for each other and set the stress of work, parenting, and life aside for just a few hours to focus on your marriage.
30 Days of Sweet Ideas from my Husband that you could steal:
- iMovie made with pictures of me as a baby through now!
- Family Date: Making Puppy Chow; idea from a “how to” video I made as a child.
- Sushi Date night–my favorite!
- Starbucks cup and giftcard–much needed for this tired new mom!
- “Treasure Hunt” for our daughter and me with a matching necklace set at the end for the two of us.
- Stuffed animals of my favorite pets as a child–fun memory and stuffed animals for the kids!
- Day date trip to where I used to live before we got married–dinner at our first restaurant we ate at together there!
- Lunch date at Kentucky Fried Chicken after church– to correlate with a fun story for my childhood when my speech made “kentucky” sound like a curse word!
- Gingerbread house building for a fun family night activity!
- “Exhausted Mom” ticket–good for a child free hour of relaxation with candles, music, and a nice bath!
- Family Baking Night– making a reindeer food, a holiday tradition!
- Tis the Season…trip to shop and give back to others as a family. We bought gifts for two kids from our local “Angel Tree” for Christmas, a fun memory from when I was a child and my sister and I did this together one year!
- Girls’ Spa Afternoon- surprise nail salon trip for me and our daughter !
- “Goodwill Hunting”- trip to Goodwill together to buy “costumes” to dress-up as two of our favorite country music artists, then we went out for lunch like them for a fun date!
- Ice-Skating- This is a fun tradition we started together last year! He even arranged for my mother-in-law to meet us there to watch our son!
What do you and your significant other do for date nights? Do you balance life and dating each other well? I’d love to hear ideas from you below!