Is marriage easy?! At times, YES it is and at times, its hard and grueling. Marriage is full of moments of pure happiness, moments to celebrate, tears of joy and sadness, anger at times, lots of ups, and lots of downs. Is our marriage perfect?! NOPE and my guess is, yours isn’t either.
Peter and I have been together going on 16 years, counting from when we first started dating, and we are going on 13 years of marriage this year. WOW…13 years! It seems like yesterday that I was walking down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. And yes, I can confidently say that even though our marriage isn’t perfect, he is the man of my dreams…always has been and always will be.
Early on, we dated each other ALL OF THE TIME. Our favorite date night early in our relationship was a great dinner together (even better conversation) and going to the movies. It was “our thing” and we looked forward to going on a date with one another a couple of times a week. Fast forward a little bit and we welcome our first child. All of a sudden, our identity as a couple had changed…we were now a family. The change was a welcomed blessing but we had to work hard at remembering the couple we were before having Reins.
We’ve always lived in cities where we have not had a family support system so we have never been able to rely on family to keep the kids for date nights, etc…we have always been on our own and we have gotten really good over the years at keeping a running list of amazing babysitters (we now call them kid sitters because Reins & Addison don’t like being called babies ;-)).
We decided early in our marriage that dating one another would always be a top priority for us and it has been, even all of these years later. I talk to so many friends who never date their spouse. My friends…there is ALWAYS time to date your spouse and it doesn’t always require lining up a family member, babysitter, or kid sitter to make it happen. Although I will say that I do think it is important to get dressed up, have a sitter for a night, and go out on the town together (whatever “out on the town” means to you)!
Today I’m sharing a few date night ideas and tips to encourage you to either keep dating your spouse or START!
No sitter?! No problem!
- Start with a date night jar that you keep at home. Both you and your spouse should write out multiple ideal date night ideas on paper, fold the papers up, fill the jar and then one of you pull a piece of paper from the jar! Keep a jar for home dates and out on the town dates!
- After the kiddos are in bed, disconnect and completely unplug. Turn off your phones, put them in another room, and start focusing on one another. It’s so important to be distraction free when dating your spouse whether at home or out and about.
- Enjoy a glass of wine & great conversation. The conversation should not be about work or the kiddos! If you need some topic ideas…Table Topics is a great tool to help get the conversation started. Peter and I have had many thoughtful heartfelt conversations that have started with a Table Topics card.
- Play cards. One of our favorite things to do together is play Gin rummy. We didn’t start playing cards together religiously until about 7 years ago when we were on vacation in the Grand Cayman islands. We would sit on the beach until all day until the sun set often times playing round after round of Gin rummy. Peter taught me how to play this card game and others and we have since loved playing together.
- Pick up a red box movie, pick a new show on Netflix, or maybe even revisit one of your favorite shows. Make some popcorn and cozy up on the couch together while watching. Because we aren’t able to always go to the theater, this is a great alternative to one of our favorite ways to date each other. We are currently watching The Office for a second time and we have started a new show called Jack Ryan!
- Enjoy a dessert fondue pot together. This is a great way to enjoy each others company and have great conversation too. Feed each other if the mood strikes!
- Light a couple of candles, set the tone with a little relaxing music, and massage one another. Intimacy is such a crucial and fabulous part of marriage and its so important to physically touch your spouse and a massage is a great way to be hands on with one another. Take your time and enjoy every moment.
We’ve lined up a sitter! Now what?!
- Think about what the two of you enjoy doing most! What brings you the most joy?! Do those things! Here’s a few ideas if you are looking for some…
- Try a brand new restaurant…keep a running list of restaurants that you want to try together and slowly check the names off of that list. Dining with your spouse is a great way to focus on one another, generate thoughtful conversation, and enjoy something new together. Of course you need to unplug as well!
- Head to the movies…there’s just something about sitting in a movie theater holding your spouses hand! For me, going to the movies stirs up so many wonderful memories. I recommend dinner first and then a movie…hold hands, share a popcorn, and cuddle up.
- Go to a comedy club! One of our first dates was at a comedy club…we sat front an center and even got picked on a little bit by the comedians. We had the best time together and we go to our local comedy club frequently. After all, we love laughing together!
- Go dancing!!! We LOVE to dance together so any chance we get to do that, we are in. You can go to a local dance studio, dive, bar, club or whatever and dance the night away!
- Plan an overnight staycation! Plan a night at a bed & breakfast or a new hotel in your area. Pack a small bag and head out. Once you arrive, enjoy a nice dinner out together or even order room service and stay in…this is a foolproof way to get a break and be able to truly focus on one another.
- Go to a sporting event, play putt putt, go for a hike or do something active together! We both truly enjoy sports so going to a game or doing something active with one another is such an enjoyable way to spend a date night or day!
- Enjoy a progressive dinner around town! Cocktails, appetizers, dinner, and dessert all at different places! Make sure you kiss and hold hands along the way!
- Plan a picnic! We live near a beautiful winery called, Arrington Vineyards, and one of my favorite things to plan for Peter is a picnic at the winery. I pick up finger foods from Whole Foods and pack up our blanket and picnic basket. We enjoy an evening together under the stars while enjoying great food, wine, and even better conversation.
- Play tourist in your own city! Visit a local museum, landmark, or most popular restaurant/bar. Discover new places together!
- Volunteer together! Volunteering is a great way to give back and its even better when doing it together. Pick a local charity that means something to both of you and schedule a time to volunteer.
- Travel together!!! We try and take at least one trip per year just the two of us…whether it be weeklong or just a weekend. We love going on vacation with the kiddos, don’t get me wrong, but some of our favorite memories also come from the trips that we have taken just the two of us. We always feel so relaxed and focused on one another and we ALWAYS return feeling so much more connected and ready to take on the world together!
These are just a few ideas of many I have for dating your spouse! Keep it up for those of you regular daters and for those of you who don’t date very often, I encourage you to book a sitter and start planning a date night. Date as often as possible and make one another a priority! We always say that we are much better as parents when we are focused, centered, and have given our time and attention to one another!
Happy dating my friends! Enjoy!
As always, thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you back here real soon!