7 Ways to Make Date Night Happen – No Excuses

Some of my favorite nights ever are the date nights that I have with my husband. As insane as life gets, whether the budget is fantastic or terrible, whether we “have the time” or not, Jose and I try to make it a priority to go on a date and have that time together without the kiddos. I wanted to share 7 ways to make date night happen regardless of your budget or busyness. For my husband and I, it’s really important!

Why?

Because before there were kids, there was US.

When the kids go to college, it will be US.

I’ve watched so many people have children and literally put their love lives completely on pause. Not for seconds or minutes or even days or weeks, but for YEARS. Then the kids go to college and there are two adults who barely know each other. I strongly believe that if mom and dad are happy and the marriage is healthy, the kiddos will feel the ripple effects of that. I know many who idolize their children to the point where their children consume every aspect of their lives above all things and anything else (even God). There is no room for anything or anyone else. Friendships dissolve and more. I don’t want to be that way! So I’ve decided I won’t.

I’ve faced judgment and even criticism sometimes, because God forbid if you are having fun without your kids, what kind of person even are you? Um, a human being who likes to have fun without her kids at times so she can pee in peace and have dinner without sharing.

Plus, it’ s SO FUN to continue to go on dates and do things together one on one. It keeps the romance alive and reminds me of our early years all over again. Stolen kisses, inside jokes, laughing together at something when we’re supposed to be serious. This is the stuff that my kind of love is made of!

How do you make this possible, especially if you have kids?

  1. Put it on the calendar. Once it’s on the calendar, it’s a priority! Make it one.

Put it in your calendar like you would put an actual appointment. Treat it like you would treat an appointment with a client – except your spouse is even more important! Time with your husband or wife is a worthy investment in your marriage and should be prioritized.2.

2. Have a group of reliable sitters at the ready.

Vary your sitters so you have options. We don’t like to put all of our eggs in one basket. That being said, we don’t just let anyone watch our boys. Typically it’s my mom, my mother-in-law and two reliable college age girls from church who work in the Sunday School program at our church. My boys love their sitters and are familiar with them. In the same way,

3. Don’t use your budget as an excuse.

It’s really easy to write off date night because it’s not in the budget. Trust me, been there before! However, date night can still be fun and free. There are a ton of resources and ideas available on Pinterest. Some of my favorite things to do:

  • Watch a movie: rent one through iTunes, watch for free on Netflix, TV. I have even borrowed movies from friends – talk about budget friendly!
  • During warm weather, lay a blanket in the backyard, put on the firepit: talk, listen to music, stargaze, ask silly questions.
  • Read together: call us dorks, we love to read books together. We pick out a book we both want to read and go through it chapter by chapter.
  • Game night: we don’t do this as often, but back in the day we would play board games and get really competitive. Scrabble and Bananagrams were favorites.
  • Park: Going to a park, walking the trails or riding bikes while having a conversation is relaxing and easy to do.
  • Free Events: Look up what’s free in your area and you would be surprised!

4. If you can’t go out, date night in.

I’ve already listed a few ideas/suggestions that have worked for us. Feel free to borrow one or suggest one in the comment section!

5. Swap babysitting services with another couple for date nights.

We are in a bracket where a lot of our friends have babies/toddlers the same age. This is something we haven’t done but would be willing to do! I think it’s a pretty easy way to score a date night and to add a couple to your babysitting catalog.

6. Push guilt aside.

I know a lot of parents suffer from this! I think mom’s especially feel this type of guilt. Parents who feel awful for doing something without their children. I am NOT that parent, but if you happen to be, then realize this: it’s okay to have a night of fun without your kiddos. It doesn’t make you a bad person. A relaxed, happy, set of parents are better parents for their children.

7. Make FUN the priority.

Don’t get worked up over what doesn’t go right: keep in mind the primary goal of date night with your spouse is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. I remember the days of dating during high school and the college years. I could literally be sitting next to Jose doing nothing, but the fact that we were together was just so NICE. As adults, life has only gotten more hectic as each year passes. It’s a beautiful thing to have fun and be reminded of where it all began.

My husband planned this one. After an obsession with Heartland, he took me horseback riding because I fell in love with horses.

Sunday afternoon date.

This date night we planned in advance. We bought concert tickets as our Christmas gift in December but the actual concert wasn’t until April 1st.

Couples date night out. This was something planned about a month in advance which gave us an opportunity to plan a sitter and budget accordingly.

A day at the beach is fun, cheap, and my favorite!

Even though the pictures you see are pictures of us actually going out – there are plenty of times we stay in! I guess I just don’t take too many pictures of those times! Ha!

These are some of my suggestions but I would love to hear some of yours! What do you and your spouse do for date nights? How often do you try to make date nights happen? Comment below!

 

 

 

Marriage Mondays – If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

You’ve heard the saying before:

If you don’t have anything nice to say….don’t say it all!

I don’t know about you, but I KNOW what my weakness is. I’ve always known it, even at a young age. It’s my tongue. My mouth. The words I speak.

When I was in middle school, I once got out of a situation where a girl wanted to fight me. She was taller than me, bigger than me, and would undoubtedly beat the tar out of me EXCEPT, I had a secret weapon. My mouth. So I hurled insults her way (not something I’m proud of as an adult!) and when it was time to “fight” she was nowhere to be found because I embarrassed her. I don’t say this as something to be proud of, but to emphasize the fact, that even at a young age I knew I could use words to hurt people.

As an adult, the more I learned about words and the power of the words we speak, the more I realized the words I spoke had weight, power, and could affect a situation or a person positively or negatively.

Now picture a girl whose weakness is her mouth in a relationship with a person who is hot headed and is also known for his mouth. Guys, it wasn’t a good combination. Jose and I spent the first few years of our relationship arguing a lot and using our words to hurt each other. The thing with the words you speak is that once you say them you can’t take them back and hurtful words are so painful and wound so deeply. If I asked you right now to tell me something someone said that hurt you, you could distinctly give me a specific incident and person. We remember these things.

This is why I want to tell you something I’ve had to learn myself in marriage.

When I don’t have anything to say that’s going to produce fruit in my marriage, sometimes the best thing to do is to BE QUIET.

As in literally, zip it and not say anything at all.

Here’s the thing – I know there are times where you will have to have difficult conversations within a marriage. This is a reality that’s inescapable and healthy. What I AM saying is this – if what you are going to say is not going to produce positive fruit in your marriage, don’t say it.

In this post, I’m talking specifically about those low blow moments. You know what I’m talking about. Those moments where you have something you can say that will really hit your spouse where it hurts. Maybe it’s a weakness, a vulnerability that’s been shared. You are so angry or mad and you just want your spouse to know it, so you prep your ammunition and are ready to aim. My plea to you – don’t.

 

Our first year of marriage, in the middle of an argument, Jose used to simply stop speaking and leave the room. At first, I was even more livid, “I’m talking to you! I’m trying to have a conversation with you! What are you doing?!” I would call after him. He would later explain that he just needed to step away from the situation until we could talk calmly about it. Oh, it would make me so irate because I wanted to talk about things RIGHT NOW and resolve it RIGHT AWAY. As time has gone on, I’ve appreciated how much it has saved us from a lot of pain! Eight years in, we don’t walk away from each other in the midst of hard conversations, but we have learned to guard the words that we speak to each other.

I love what James has to say about the words we speak:

“In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:5-6

I love how it keeps mentioning “fire.” One terrible word or conversation can cause a world of pain and destruction. This can be avoided if we guard our speech and the words that we speak to our spouse.

I’m not telling you that anytime you get into an argument you need to physically run away from each other! When we were newlyweds,  we were learning how to fight fair.  We had to actually give each other some physical space for a few minutes or a half hour or so, then reconvene when we were calm. I’m glad that being married almost 8 years; we’ve come such a long way and don’t have to do this every time there’s a disagreement. We’ve learned that we respect and love each other enough to protect each other from words we might regret.

So if I could share anything that has helped me:

  1. If you’re ticked off, don’t try to force a conversation in that moment.
  2. If you have to give each other a few minutes, do it. Don’t force it in that exact moment, BUT…
  3. Refuse to go to bed angry with each other (Ephesians 4:26).
  4. DON’T SAY INSULTING THINGS YOU WILL REGRET.
  5. Talk to your spouse when emotions have calmed down and you can be reasonable.
  6. Your words matter and will be remembered. They also can HURT and create a deep wound so PROTECT each other by refusing to engage in trading insults.

Here’s the thing – all couples have disagreements at one point or another. If you’ve never argued with your spouse, you are a magical unicorn and can I please have your autograph? The point is this – when you know you are on the verge of saying something destructive and life killing, ask yourself if it’s going to produce positive fruit in your relationship in the long run.

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27

xoxo

Marriage Mondays – I Always Will

“I don’t love you/I always will.”

This line is part of a chorus of a song that has been our JAM lately. “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars [this song came out years ago, but we’ve been listening to it a lot lately!]

We love this song because of that particular line.

I don’t love you/I always will

Say, WHAT?  The more we listened to the song and talked about what it meant, the more we said YES! Let’s do a cover to this song.

This song is so cool because it really addresses the reality that is marriage. When you make a commitment to marry someone, you are saying some very serious vows to each other.

I will…

Hold you..

Stand with you through better or worse…

Through richer or poorer…

In sickness and health…

I will love and cherish you…

until the only thing that separates us is DEATH itself.

Those are POWERFUL words! When you are married, those vows WILL be tested. I have been married for eight years and have walked through some of those things with my spouse. We have made a conscious decision to make sure that these trials and struggles [infertility, job loss, job change, parenting twins, life issues…the list goes on] didn’t push us APART but that they would be a catalyst to draw us closer together. Y’all, that takes actual effort. Because the hard things of life will draw you away from each other if you let it. The hard things of life will push you to isolate yourself from one another…but you can make a choice and a decision which will require effort on both parts, to do the opposite and run towards each other. Hold each other. Through the good, the bad. The failures and victories.

Yet, I digress. Back to the song.

The lyric – “I don’t love you/I always will” so captures the essence of marriage (in our opinion) because GUESS WHAT! There are times where you will not feel the magical rainbow butterflies floating in your belly. Particularly when your spouse does something to TICK you off. You will not “feel” love in that moment. Yet, you made a vow.

I always will.

I always will…

Love you.

Hold you.

Cherish you.

Stand by you.

Support you.

Encourage you.

Walk through the desert with you.

Climb the mountains with you.

Celebrate the victories with you.

Cry with you over the failures.

I always will.

I believe this is a decision that you make daily. The world and society would have you to think the opposite. The world tells us that when things are hard and the going gets tough, its okay to go. Commitment can even be seen as laughable nowadays. “Marriage isn’t a big deal…” people say. Yet, it is. You are making a lifelong commitment, a promise, a vow before God and before man that boils down to – when crap hits the fan, I’m not going to leave because “I always will.” When we are singing those lines, we are not actually saying “I don’t love you!!!” we are saying,

“You drive me crazy at times, but I will always choose you, I will always run to you, I will always love you. I ALWAYS WILL.”

There’s something so beautiful in that kind of commitment nowadays. This is why we decided to do a cover to this song. It so clearly covers how marriage feels at times, the ups and the downs, the mountains and valleys, coming down to the powerful commitment of, “I always will.” 

I hope you enjoy our cover to this song. Xo

Marriage Mondays – 20 Fun Facts About the Mr. and Mrs.

So I thought it would be fun to try to do Marriage Monday posts and dedicate a post each week to married life! Hubs and I have been married for almost eight years (in July) and often field a lot of questions from other couples, especially younger couples! We are non-experts and don’t know what we’re doing – but I can say that I honestly love being married and I love my husband. It has taught me so much about him and myself. I learn something new probably EVERY DAY. To start, I thought I would start off with twenty basics about the hubster and I!

  1. We met through a mutual friend when I was 16. The first time I met him, he actually had another girlfriend. I started to really pay attention to him when he started coming to church.
  2. I made the first move by calling him (which I NEVER did before – I was the shy type).
  3. We were high school sweethearts. Kind of – does it count if we didn’t go to the same high school?
  4. We have a lot in common, but pretty much zero in common when it comes to hobbies. He’s into outdoor/active types of situations, I’d rather snuggle up with a book and do something quiet/completely relaxed.
  5. We were 22 when we got married on July 11, 2009.
  6. I didn’t realize how much of a fear of heights my husband had until our first vacation as a married couple to Virginia. He was in complete hysterics at the top of the rollercoaster, I literally thought he was going to have a heart attack. I haven’t made him get on a rollercoaster since.
  7. He thinks I’m really rude because around the house I never say excuse me and typically nudge him out of the way.
  8. We’re both huge homebodies!
  9. When he proposed to me the day after Valentine’s Day in 2008, the ring got stuck in his pocket and he spent a minute trying to get it out.
  10. Before we found out we were having twins, Jose always wanted twins and looked up both of our family histories to see if twins ran in the family and what our chances would be. This was years before we even had babies on the brain.
  11. Parenting has turned us into huge saps, especially my husband. Movies, shows, and even some commercials make him cry.
  12. Our favorite beach is Ocean City.
  13. Our favorite city to visit is Chicago.
  14. The furthest we’ve driven together is Texas (with the twins in tow)!
  15. We always run into the weirdest experiences/people when we’re together. We once had a cashier at Walmart who insisted on sniffing every item we purchased before he rang it up.
  16. The most ridiculous argument we’ve ever had was over the wrong pizza order when we were watching “The Green Lantern.” I was so angry I refused to watch the rest of the movie with him (#earlyYearsofmarriage).
  17. We like to read books together – fave place to read together is during a car ride! We read through The Hunger Games and Divergent series this way.
  18. We didn’t settle on names for the boys until maybe an hour or so before they were born!
  19. I once cried because he put food in the sink.
  20. We are committed to loving each other for a LIFETIME.

First Valentine’s Day together! Take note of Jose’s awful shirt and the paper flower.

 

Thanks for checking out the first installent – if you have any suggestions, topics, questions, suggestions, let me know!