11.06.2008

Investing in Your Marriage: Date Night Priorities


By Guest Blogger: Michelle Twitty
of Little Moments

Michelle is a stay-at-home mom of 3 children; Kade, 10;Kai, 6;and Keira, 4. She became an instant mommy to those three cuties when she married their father, Edwin earlier this year. Michelle happens to be my cousin, but she is an inspiration and example to me in so many ways! Edwin's first wife died suddenly of a heart attack two and a half years ago (at the age of 26), leaving him to care for their three children. Michelle and Edwin met through friends. She writes "I was in Dallas finishing my masters degree and he was in Houston near his family to get help with the kids. We met through some mutual friends and began dating long distance. I moved to Houston in January, got engaged in march, the kids started calling me mom in may, and married in July! Viola! Instant wife, mom, and cook!" What compels me when I hear Michelle's story is how much she truly loves this man and their three children. When they were engaged, Michelle would rise early at her own apartment, get ready for her day, drive over to meet Edwin as he was leaving for work and takeover caring for the kids. What love is this! And what's more, Michelle accepts the enormous responsibility laid upon her with joy in her heart! She is wise beyond her years and I have a profound respect for her(technically I am her elder!). I hope all you enjoy her post on marriage as much as I did!

I've only been married for 3 months, but with kids, I can already see the importance for date nights. Edwin and I do our best to have date nights every other weekend or so, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Things come up, babysitters are limited, and other plans occur. If you make it a priority to have a date night, you'll be more likely to keep your priority and get out! I know some couples that have date nights every weekend (obviously its easier to go out all the time when you don't have kids), and other couples that try once a month. Every marriage and relationship is different, and date night priorities should be based upon what works for your own family. Date nights are one small step towards a huge investment! When there are children in the household, it's difficult to talk and address certain topics and issues with them around.

Edwin and I sometimes find that once they go to bed, we're just ready to relax and breathe! Life brings some stress that can tend to interfere with marriages, and getting away just the two of you is a great way to communicate and just enjoy one another.

Date nights don't have to break the bank. I often feel "too frugal" when we go out and think we always have to split our meal, order water, or do our best not to spend too much. We don't go out much, so i think it's completely fine to spend a little money on our date nights to further invest and strengthen our marriage! Whether it's silly, fun, frugal, simple, or outrageous, there's an idea out there for you! If you haven't had a date in a while, make it a priority today to have one! Ladies, take charge and plan a date for your man. I've found that Edwin appreciates it when I say what I really want to do or give him options. They can't read our minds and shouldn't be expected to plan a night out if we have an idea in our heads! Here's a huge list of date night ideas. Happy searching!

Cheap Ideas
1.Go out for pizza
2.Try live entertainment, such as a band at a local bar or restaurant, instead of a movie.
3.Pick a TV show, get a season's worth on DVD and make a running date to watch it together every night. (we did this with The Office and Lost)
4.Head out to the dollar theater and splurge on snacks.
5.Try brunch and a matinee; fancy restaurants are way more affordable in the a.m.
6.Pick up a bucket of fried chicken and head for the drive-in.
7.Dress up your backyard picnic table with a white tablecloth. Add candles, fancy cheese, chocolate and voila: five-star fun!
8. Too cold or wet for an outdoor picnic? Spread a blanket on the floor and have a carpet picnic. (we do this when we eat pizza with the kids!)
9. Bring home your favorite fast food, but serve it on your best china.
10. Museums usually have one free night a week or month, so hit one then.
11. Find a happy hour half off appetizers and order a few for your dinner!
12. Take a sketchpad to a scenic bluff and draw your own version of the vista.
13. Grab a basketball and hit the free courts at the park.
14 Sample international food at a street fair.
15 Hit the local video arcade.
16 Go to the library and page through the coffee-table art books, or any books!
17. Suit up and spend a late afternoon at the indoor pool of the Y.
18. Head to the highest point in town. Spend an early evening watching the twinkling lights turn on.
19 Drive out to a country field, lie down and snuggle under the stars.
20. Make yourselves the biggest, craziest ice cream sundae ever.
21. Take a tour of the house you'd (someday) love to own.

Lets get creative
22.Paint coffee mugs at a paint-your-own-pottery place.
23. Fly a kite.
24. Sign up for a one-night class at your local college.
25. Hit a farmers' market and scavenge for your dinner.
26. Get an easy-to-operate remote-control plane, go to a park and take turns trying to avoid the trees.
27. Take a hayride.
28. Hit a flea market and shop interesting finds.
29. Take a tour of garage sales in the ritziest neighborhoods.
30. Don't you just drive each other up the wall sometimes? Prove it — at an indoor climbing gym.
31. Head to an ice skating rink and strap on skates for some icy fun.
32. Poke around an antique shop.
33. Ride the Ferris wheel at a local carnival.
34. Find a fountain and throw in 10 pennies, taking turns making wishes.
35. Write a poem together.
36. Stop at a fancy bakery and pick out a treat for each other.
37. Feed the ducks.
38. Hold a kiss for one elevator ride.
39. One word: Frisbee.
40. Ride a tandem bike.
41 Get up early or stay up all night, to watch the sunrise.
A little more out and about
42. Climb a tree together.
43. Head to a batting cage and swing at some balls.
44. Hit the bowling alley.
45. Get in the saddle for a horseback-riding lesson.
46. Hit a sports bar and cheer on the team.
47. Map out a long bike ride through a local park.
48. Fire up the grill for burgers and sticky s'mores.
49. Play paintball.
50. Check out the action at the nearest racetrack.
51. Hit the golf-ball driving range.
52. Work out your aggressions with some co-kickboxing.

Mini Getaways ($$$!)
53. Book a double massage at a spa.
54. Take a balloon or helicopter ride over your town.
55. Rent a fancy car. Tool around as if you actually own it.
56. Find a nearby bed-and-breakfast. Spend the night someplace where someone else makes the bed and cooks breakfast.

(1-56 adapted from Redbook Magazine)

Little Personal Touches
57. Write a quick love note on the bathroom mirror (we've done this a few times)
58. Use sticky notes around the house to say a quick I love you!
59. Sometimes I stick a napkin note in Edwin's lunch (works if your husband takes a lunch to work)!
60. Write an encouraging, sweet, short (or steamy) email during the day.
61. Make a homemade card, "just because"
62. Make breakfast for him (or with him) on Saturday or Sunday morning
63. Surprise him with a new shirt or something you'll know he'll enjoy (a new book perhaps)
64. Plan a date and take him out!
65. Use chivalry. Say your please and thank you's! Edwin and I are in the habit of saying yes mam and yes sir to each other sometimes, because of our kids saying it!
66. Hold hands whenever you can. We sometimes forget this simple notion of affection.
67. IF your spouse is a reader, find a book and read too! (Yes. I'm working on this one.)
68. Cook together

No matter what anybody else says, a date night is between you and your spouse. Going out with friends or another couple, is just going out; not a date night where you and your spouse can create intimate conversations and spend one on one together.
Make it a priority today to begin putting dating back into your marriage!

6 comments:

  1. beautiful written. thank you for everything you wrote and the time you put into this! I love checking your blog and being able to see ways to encourage one another for our children and husbands!

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  2. Making date night often feels expensive. But I encourage my clients to make a babysitter two times/month a non-negotiable part of the budget. It’s too easy to say it is too hard or expensive, but it’s an important part of maintaining your relationship with your partner. Budget this time, just like groceries, so that it doesn't feel like an excess. Two dates a month isn't excessive - it is important for a healthy relationship which is worth more than the handful of dollars you'd save by skipping/neglecting your dates!

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  3. Yup...this is right up my alley! LOVE this post!! So glad you were the FB today..

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  4. I got choked up reading this post! It is perfect. I will be linking to it and your blog in our post on dating tomorrow! :) Thanks for this! :)

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  6. I vote for snuggling under the stars. Great list of ideas.

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