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Family, Marriage

The Single, Most Significant Way I Changed My Marriage

I can always tell when I haven’t had enough time with my husband. We tend to drift apart slowly and steadily. Our lives get the best of us. We stop communicating effectively….meaning, we start bickering more and listening less. We stop talking about our days in detail. I begin to feel less trusting of him while he is beginning to feel more bored with our day-in, day-out kind of lives. We lose the real us.

So what do we do for this? We date! Before you roll your eyes, let me tell you how this one thing has altered our marriage and continues to keep it hot and spicy.

We have had a few times in our relationship throughout the years where we have begun to get bored. We start doing the same things every day. We wake up, go to work, text a few times maybe, come home, watch TV, and go to bed. Well, when we first moved in together, it got a little boring. We starting picking fights. We talked less and less. Without getting into specifics, we came to a halting point where neither of us were happy. I didn’t feel like he was fighting for me. He didn’t want to keep doing the same things over and over again. So, after talking to my mom for a full weekend, she suggested I fight for him. She told me that we needed a change, and asked me if he was worth it. Yes, he was, regardless of if he was fighting for me!

See, we had both done things wrong in the relationship. We just stopped trying. Trying to be cute for one another. Trying to be sexy. Trying to communicate respectively. Trying to win each other over. So, I picked up my computer (the only thing I could play music on at the time), I grabbed his hand, and we danced to romantic songs in the middle of this cement trail outside of his apartment. We fell in love all over again…..or, well, we began dating again.

We have had a few moments in life like this. When we got married, nothing really changed. When we began going to our new church, our pastor and his wife talked about a once-a-week date night. “You have to do this to keep your marriage alive,” they would say. Well, when we got married, we did it. We were in the beginning of our honeymoon stage and we were blissfully happy, but they kept reminding us to make sure we continued them once a week, even if it was just a movie night. We fell off the wagon some, and we saw the difference. We just weren’t ourselves.

When we had our first baby, it was even harder to find time to go out once a week. We still struggle with it, and let me be the first to tell you that we can feel the tension. Both of us know when we don’t have enough time alone together. And when I say this, I don’t mean every night on the couch in front of the TV. Date nights are intentional. Raising a kid with little money to spend on a babysitter can be challenging, but again, both of us can tell when we need it so we try to make it a priority. Usually after a fight, my husband will say “I’m texting my mom. We need a date night.”

Date nights are incredible for so many different reasons.

  1. You are making intentional time to be with your spouse. This reminds both of you that you are in it together.
  2. It reconnects the two of you. Whether you spend the time having sex, holding hands, eating, watching a movie, or just talking, you are spending time together. You are doing something different than your day-to-day together.
  3. It helps you communicate. You are talking together outside of the distracting environment called your home. All of your worries and struggles that are in that home are left behind for the night.
  4. It helps you forgive. There is something about date night that makes you feel wanted by the other person. When you feel wanted, and dated, you can move on from a big fight a little easier.
  5. It allows you to hold a spot each week for your marriage. It’s hard to prioritize our time, and we oftentimes feel like what we want to do flies out the window. But if you schedule date nights every week, it reminds you to make your marriage a top priority.
  6. You can get away from being parents. You can become the smooth-talking, sexy person who is desired by your husband…..not a snot-wiping, whine-stopping, scream-stifling parent.
  7. It helps you learn about your spouse. We like to try new things and ask each other about our dreams and goals every date night. It’s interesting to see how we change throughout different seasons in our lives. It also gives us a chance to see what each other is proud of and struggling with so we can support the other.
  8. It’s just fun. Well, crap, we just need some fun in our lives…and a little crazy.

So please learn from us. I am being completely honest when I say it has and continues to change our marriage because we are constantly fighting for each other instead of against each other. Once you do it enough, you will see the difference when you can’t have a date night every week. You may not be able to do every week, but what can you commit to? Every other week? Can you schedule days in your calendars together? Make it a priority and make it often! Your spouse is worth it!

Finally, this is for the parents out there. Honey, I know….trust me….I know it is hard to find time and to actually make it happen. We don’t have money for a babysitter right now, so we ask the in-laws. They are incredible and help us out when they can. But we don’t like asking them every week to watch our kiddo, so what do we do? Well, we either have movie night when baby goes to bed, or we have family night where we all do something new and fun together. You can make it work, it’ll be fun, and it’s always worth it.

So here are a few ideas to get you started…

  1. Go out for dinner and a movie….or just dinner, or a movie!
  2. Go to the farmers market
  3. Try out a jazz club
  4. Go to a trampoline park
  5. Try out a wine tasting
  6. Go go-carting
  7. Play some mini-golf
  8. Try out some games at an arcade
  9. Play some video games at home
  10. Play some board games at home
  11. Cook dinner together, and even make a flaming dessert at home
  12. Take dance lessons
  13. Try dance lessons on YouTube at home
  14. Visit an aquarium
  15. Visit a museum
  16. Visit a children’s museum
  17. Take a day trip and visit some local attractions or festivals
  18. Go to a concert or a local bar featuring a local band
  19. Go bowling!
  20. Hike! Find a long trail and make sure to take pictures along the way
  21. Go fishing
  22. Go to a water park or play in your own at home!
  23. Make a few drinks at home, get a little toasted, and play video games or twister!
  24. Did someone say comedy show? Yes, please!
  25. Go horse-back rising
  26. Visit an abandoned or old-fashioned town
  27. Have sex somewhere new
  28. Go to dinner and just talk about your dreams,your goals, and where you see yourself in 5 to 10 years
  29. Watch a movie in a park
  30. Find a secluded parking lot or street, turn up your car radio, and dance
  31. Try birdwatching, skeet-shooting, or hunting…something new!
  32. Join a wine-making, painting, or acting class together
  33. Go to the bookstore and pick out a few books to read together
  34. Try a drive-in movie or a theater that serves you dinner
  35. Go see a play
  36. Watch an opera
  37. Skinny dipping anyone?
  38. Go rock climbing
  39. Are you musical? Try out the orchestra
  40. Brew your own beer
  41. Attempt to mark a few items off your bucket list in one night
  42. Visit a dog shelter and take a pup on a walk
  43. Try a color run, night run, mud run, or a zombie run
  44. Take your spouse on a picnic in the park and play Frisbee
  45. Visit a winery and take the tour
  46. Create some beautiful art in an Art & Wine night or paint some dishware at a Ceramics shop
  47. Sybaris….oh Sybaris, how I love thee…
  48. Head to the spa and get pampered together
  49. Have a dinner part with your friends
  50. Karaoke Night!
  51. Work for your marriage by serving others or planting a garden
  52. Make something together!
  53. Rent some bikes and bike to a beautiful spot
  54. Go camping
  55. Attend an open house for a house that is way to expensive for you to own
  56. Go to a baseball, football, soccer, or basketball game
  57. Swim and tan at the beach
  58. Build a fort together and spend the night there
  59. Find a secluded place where you can sit peacefully under the stars
  60. Visit the zoo

Try out any of these ideas….many of which you can do with your kiddos. Try to get out as much as you can, but if you can’t, enjoy staying in and having fun. Make date night a priority, make your spouse a priority, and make you a priority. Reconnecting is important. It can save your relationship and help you build something better together.

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