Thursday, December 27, 2012

"100 Ways to Make Your Marriage Rock": Regular Date Nights

Continuing the list of "100 Ways to Make Your Marriage Rock"...

Next up on the list is "Go on regular Date Nights."

At a basketball game. Can't get Zay to keep a straight face for photos!

Having a regular Date Night is some advice we received before we got married, but we never set aside an official night dedicated to wining and dining each other (well, whatever the LDS equivalent of "wining and dining" is... ha ha... sparkling cider, anyone?). I mean, we didn't have kids for the first 6 1/2 years of marriage! Every night was Date Night. Every night was a party. We stayed up as late as we wanted, went out to eat every other night, partied with friends, laid out under the stars, slept in as late as we wanted... sprawled in each other's arms... we were accountable to no one!

You know, if I could go back in time I would have taken advantage of all that time and done so much more! But I digress...

Now we have a child and as awesome as he is, he is a needy little son-of-a-gun. Remember, my only parenting experience was taking care of my cats. Cats are not needy. Lol. This is all new to me. I realized immediately that the Date Night advice that had been floating around us for years now sounded wise indeed. Actually, I had it on my list of things-to-do before adopting a baby to make Date Night a regular routine. I had some foresight!

Zay picked out his favorite painting at BYU's Museum of Art one Date Night. He said, "This speaks to me." And we stared at it for a good 5 minutes. I like the legs of the people walking by in the background... GET UP, DUDE! The world is leaving you behind!

So, for over two years now we've tried to set aside one day a week as Date Night. We budget for it, so that we can go out somewhere nice if we want. It's totally worth it. We get a babysitter. We don't take hair appointments. We don't work that night. It's just the two of us, focusing on each other, catching up on the week's events, no phones, no distractions. When we finally got into the groove of going somewhere and doing something each week, we started alternating picking where we go and what we do - me one week, Zay the next. I totally used that to my advantage by making him go to all the museums I wanted to see. :) And I went to many, many basketball games. So we're even. :)

Visiting the Salt Lake City Temple. It. Was. COLD.

Islamic Art at BYU's Museum of Art. Loved this!
We haven't always been the best at this, but we've gotten better over time. I refuse to let us get lazy in this area. Especially lately, as the idea of adopting a second child is out there and will no doubt keep us grounded for awhile as we love on a new baby and spend a lot of time at home together as a family of 4 (crazy!)... We're getting Date Night in now while we can. :)

One trap you can fall into is that Date Night ends up being like any other night, or somehow you're just not making it special enough. That's happened to us before. The key is to always get out of the house! If you say, "Well, we can just have this one Date Night at home tonight... watch a movie or something..." ... then all your Date Nights might end up that way. Other things to make it special - dressing fancy, going somewhere new, doing something we've never done before, etc. (Ever tried role-playing? As in, pretending you just met or it's your first date... so fun!)

On nights when we haven't planned anything, we have a jar of activities where we can pull out a strip of paper and do whatever it says... it's fun to pick a few out and try to combine them all into one adventurous night. :) That should be a backup plan, though. It's way more exciting when you surprise your spouse (or get surprised) with a well thought out date night that was planned in advance. It shows that you're still excited to be with each other and you still want to impress your man (woman) and married life is still ~fun~ if you make it fun!

Grabbing some frozen yogurt at Yogurtland. Kal came with us that night. Can't remember where we went, but he has a wristband on. Maybe extreme trampolining at Hang Time?

I just recently went through a million Date Night ideas (CLICK HERE for a million ideas) and added tons of new activities to our jar. It was fun just thinking of all the fun things we'll do in the future! And it's been great re-focusing on this goal and making it extra special lately.

Also, remember to throw some fun bedtime activities in the jar too. Put the kids to bed!! End the night well! ;)





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