Today, I celebrate 13 years of marriage to my husband. Our road has not always been smooth, but all the bumps along the way have strengthened us and give me reason to look forward to the next (13)years of I Still Do. And as I say “I Still Do,” I start thinking about how important it is to date your spouse.
In the beginning of our marriage (and I assume many marriages) date nights were the norm. The spark of young love encouraged us to make one another aware of our affections. We were married 9 years before having Moose, and date nights slowly got lost in the chaos of life but still existed. Upon entrance to parenthood, there seems to be a paradygm shift. Our thoughts quickly shift gears from “I’m a wife” to “I’m a mom.” But we don’t stop being a wife just because we become a mom. I know this is a “duh!” statement, but it’s so easy to get caught in the trap of focusing on our children that we end up neglecting our spouse.
As a parent, it’s easy to use finances as a reason we fail to date our spouse, but a quick scour of the internet will produce many suggestions for inexpensive dates. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Date Your Spouse
1) Puzzles- I admit, Moose is the one who turned us onto this idea. For the past month or so, his world has revolved around puzzles and any time there is a lull in action, Moose quickly pulls out a puzzle. My husband and I were at Dollar Tree and decided to give this a go. We wanted a challenge and a 500 piece puzzle fit the bill. It has been a great bonding experience to see different methods converge and working together for a common goal is always a bonus. And quite frankly, for a buck (if you’re anything like us) you get several nights of entertainment. It really doesn’t get much more inexpensive than that.
2) Bake or cook together- I struggle with this one even though I enjoy it. I am much more practiced in the kitchen, so when my hubby fumbles his way through things, it is very hard to refrain from stepping in and taking over. My husband is also a lefty so everything he does looks backwards and appears to take longer than necessary to me. All that being said, there is pleasure to gain from creating together (that whole common goal thing again). Any task done together enforces the notion that you are partners and “Together We Achieve More”.
3) Stargaze- We are not in any way, shape, or form astronomers, but this is fun to do from time to time (although Southern summers can make this a bit less enjoyable). We can’t tell you the names of any stars, but it does bring a child like sense of wonder to stare at the sky. You can even track the International Space Station.
4) Ice Cream- I am, admittedly, an ice cream addict so this is one of my favorites. You can either go out for ice cream (Marble Slab, anyone?) or enjoy it at home. Make it extra special by getting the ingredients to make your favorite sundae- hot fudge, caramel, sprinkles, fruit, cookie or brownie pieces, whip cream- whatever you want to make it special. For a bit of nostalgia, eat your ice cream from a cone.
5) TV/ Movies- This may come as a no brainer, but this is a great way to unwind together. Watch something out of the ordinary or stick to your favorites. Theme nights can make it extra special. We LOVE baseball, so for big games (Opening Day, All Star Game, championship games) I will make baseball themed dinners. Hot dogs always seem to make their way on to the menu, but I like to try to take it to the next level; every once in a while, I go fancy and make pretzel buns.
6) Dress up for Dinner- This one is truly simple and yet very effective. I more or less live in gym shorts and tshirt. Being a SAHM I rarely put effort into dressing up. I am cleaning up and chasing toddlers all day so comfort is my main focus. Dressing up for dinner can put a new twist on an otherwise mundane night. It doesn’t have to be a special occassion or a fancy meal, but dressing up (this does not have to mean a ball gown with a side of heels and pearls) helps change the tone for the night. No longer are you just eating Tacos for Taco Tuesday, but now you create an atmosphere where the dinner means something and it just takes minimal effort to fix your hair and put on non-gym clothes.
The list could obviously go on, but I want to keep it short and sweet. Sometimes long lists overload your mind and you forget which ideas stood out along the way. Please, share your ideas for inexpensive date nights. New things are always fun to try.
And on a personal note to my husband, I just want to say I love you! Thank you for being by my side through the ups and downs and encouraging me along the paths life leads. This life we have built together is not dull no matter how you look at it. There is no one I would rather share it with than you! Happy Anniversary