August 19 2018, marked 23 years that I have been dating R.H., my Husband. R.H. was the boy next door and I knew that he would one day be my husband. We become a couple when I was 15 years old and have been together ever since. Going on dates was a BIG DEAL to us. We were never home. We were either driving around the city in his car (a perk of dating an older guy), going on day trips, enjoying a dinner out at our favourite restaurant and much more. It was he and I, alone, enjoying one another’s company as we got to know each other.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved having a baby in our lives and rejoiced as we welcomed three more sons between 2004-2009. At one point we had three boys under five and I were operating a business from home. I have no idea how we did it, but we did. We thought we had it all together, except we were losing the relationship that we spent years creating. We lost touch and at times it felt like we were living with a roommate. The fire, romance and the ‘feels’ in our marriage. I believe that the disconnect is that we lost ‘us’ in the midst of growing a family and a business.
I honestly, 100%, contributed to the loss of ‘us’ to the lack of date nights and spending time together. We were growing on our own and not together. If I knew that dates were going to be few and far between, I would have put a plan in place to make sure that we had ‘our time’ accounted for and in some respects, I would have made sure that our time came first, before any other activities or other people’s schedules.
While celebrating our eldest’s thirteenth birthday I had a HUGE epiphany. Remember standing in the kitchen and as our son blew out the thirteen candles as thought rushed into my mind…we now have a babysitter for the other three boys, which meant that R.H. and I could go out whenever and wherever we wanted again! What a joyous celebration we had that day, in fact, we actually went out the next day. (side note: we did pay our son to watch his brothers, as it taught him responsibility as a caretaker and with money.) You may be thinking ‘Sara, you could have hired a babysitter or asked your parents’. And we did ask the parents from time to time, but it still wasn’t the same as we felt that we were on their schedule and at the same time we never wanted to overstep on their lifestyles.
It felt great to simply jump in the car and just go. It was on our time and on our schedule. We got to know one another in a deeper way and found us again.
If I could turn the clocks back, I would have 100% done the dating thing differently.
Here are 10 things I would have done differently:
- When making the weekly schedule I would have placed ‘our time’ in first (learn how the Google calendar also helped in saving our marriage)
- Create a schedule with a babysitter to come on the same day every week or every other week (aka every other Friday)
- Go for walks together. Whether alone, pushing a stroller or watching the kids run up ahead of us
- Plan a picnic at a park where the kids can go off and play while we sat and enjoyed talking and eating grapes (check out my recipe board on Pinterest)
- Go for drives that included kid-friendly destinations. I would make sure the boys had things to do in the vehicle so that R. H. and I could talk
- We got married on the 6th so the 6th of every month would be a celebration (just like when we were dating, we celebrated our month-aversaries). We would plan a nice dinner out
- Wake up 30-minutes earlier than needed to start our day with one another
- Create fun and adventurous meals and activities for us at home
- Take days off work while the boys were in school – an entire 6 hours together…alone
- For me personally, I would have taken more interest in my Husband’s interests, just to be able to spend more time together
Here are some date ideas that we enjoy:
- Go for a walk – R.H and I walk every morning for at least 30-minutes. We have both commented on how much closer and happier we are now that we are walking together
- Go for a drive – we love to drive out to the country and take in the landscape and hopefully, we get lost so that we can work together to get home. We will also drive throughout the city looking at houses, getting ideas for the home we want to build. This also gives us an opportunity to build our dreams together
- Enjoy a picnic – pack your favourite foods, a blanket and your smiles. Find a nice spot, under a tree and simply enjoy one another’s company
- Lunch date – restaurants tend to have more affordable prices for lunch over dinner.
- Ice cream run – find an ice cream shop outside of your area so that you can enjoy the drive to the destination
- A weekend away – this takes some planning as you will probably need an adult to stay with the kids, go somewhere you both love or get adventurous and go somewhere you have never been. Do things that you would not normally do like order room service, sleep-in, enjoy breakfast in bed. There is no schedule, just the two of you doing what you want to do, at the moment.
- Re-live a date from the past. Recall a date that you both enjoyed and make it happen again. For us, going to the state fair in our city is a favourite.
- Go Geo-caching. If you have never done this and like a treasure hunt, then you need to try this. You use the Geo-Cache App that shows you coordinate where containers are hidden around your location. In these containers are keepsakes, fun tchotchkes and trinkets. It is a ‘take a trinket, leave a trinket’. This is so fun!
- Date at home – make plans for the kiddos to stay overnight at their friends or with family members. Set the mood in your home with dim lights, candles, flowers. Order in your favourite takeout and enjoy an all-nighter of Netflix, board games and video games. I love beating R.H. at games.
- Go to the drive-in. Take your favourite snacks and refreshments and enjoy watching movies in the comfort of your own car. Lot’s of privacy.
Also, as a woman, you need to give the best you to your spouse. Do your hair, put a little make-up on and dress to impress…aka knock your spouse’s socks off. Give them something to pine over while you are on your date. Besides, that is how you attracted them to you in the first place.
R.H. and I are in such a great place in our marriage. It is truly like we are dating (and not married) again. I have learned that continuously dating your spouse is what keeps the relationship alive, it is was keeps the fire burning and it truly makes the journey of marriage so much more enjoyable.
The number one takeaway I have had in all this is how our boys view marriage. They see how fun and exciting it can be. They see two people who are putting their relationship first and they understand that if the marriage is strong then the family is strong as well. The boys see two people co-labouring in this journey we call life and that having a partner in crime is worth having because of the happiness they bring to one another. Going on regular dates with your partner in crime will revolutionize your marriage, your life journey and better yet, how your children choose to live their lives with their spouses.
I gotta jet, as I am about to go on a date with my man <3
~ XO Sara