A common misconception is that dating ends when you get married. Nothing could be farther from the truth! In my opinion, in order for a marriage to succeed you need to date each other even more than before you tied the knot. Not only do you need to make time to go on actual dates, but you need to "date" each other...meaning, you need to flirt with one another, take care of yourself physically, and just have fun like you use to when you were dating/engaged. I've only been married for 4 years, but these 3 things are the keys to success in marriage (at least in my marriage).
Flirting is important because your spouse needs to know that you still find them attractive (inside and out). Flirting helps keep that spark alive--you know, the sparks you felt when you first held hands, had your first date, first kiss, etc.
I am not a vain person, but it is SO important to take care of your physical self after marriage. I'm sure most of you always took a little extra time to get ready when you were going out before you were married. I know I did. I always wanted to look extra special because it made me feel good and I wanted to impress him. We still need to try and impress our spouse, and have enough respect for ourselves to not just roll out of bed and wear our sweats and bed head all day. That said, there are and have been many days where it's a sweats and no makeup kind of day. I'm not saying you have to get all dolled up every day, but every once in a while just put in a little extra effort. I know my husband appreciates it when he can tell I spent a few extra minutes getting ready, though he ALWAYS compliments me on how pretty I look even when I don't wear makeup and have my hair thrown up in a ponytail.
Lastly, you need to have FUN!!!! Whatever is fun to the both of you, doesn't matter, as long as you can laugh and enjoy being together. Marriage doesn't have to be boring and mundane, in fact it should be more exciting than dating! Go out on fun dates, have fun with your kids together, play games, laugh (A LOT!), and don't forget to have fun in the bedroom :) <---That really is THE most important key to a good marriage. Marriage is not an easy road, life throws bumps in the road, but spending that intimacy together with your spouse is a way to smooth the road in front of us. When it feels like everything in life is falling apart, intimacy is the glue that holds it all together.
Since we live in a small town and are trying to get out of debt, I am trying to find fun, creative, and cheap dates. Dates don't always have to be really extravagant, though that is fun every once in a while. Just thought I'd share a few date ideas with you and some pictures of fun dates that the hubby and I have had.
Here are some cheap dates we've gone on:
- Costco/Sams Club. We eat at the food court (SO CHEAP!), then browse around looking at all the fun stuff
- Window shopping. Whether it's the mall, cute little downtown shops, or even Walmart. We also like to browse D.I (thrift stores). You never know what kind of gems you will find at a second hand store.
- Gym. I love to exercise and this really was a fun date. I loved having my hubby teach me lots of different weight lifting exercises-not to mention it was pretty impressive to watch him lift weights :)
Here we are at the top of "R" Mountain in Rexburg, ID. My husband LOVES the outdoors, so we've had a few outdoor dates. A hike or nature walk is a great date with little to no cost. If you live in a small town like us you don't have to drive far to find a good trail. Getting out in nature together can be so refreshing. No distractions and lots of time to chat and spend some real one-on-one time with your spouse.
Dierkies lake in Twin Falls, ID. We went here all the time before our son was born. It was so close to our house, free to get in, and had some great fishing just off the dock. We didn't always come home with dinner but it was so fun! Fishing is a pretty relaxing, laid back activity so you also get some peaceful time together--as well as a good laugh, if you're like me and don't like to string the live worm on the hook, or touch the fish :) I think my husband made me do that just so he could laugh at me. haha! Fishing is also pretty inexpensive once you buy your rods and fishing license. Go earlier in the day, and if you're lucky you'll catch dinner and you can make it an even better date cooking together!
Here we are in the summer of 2007 watching the All-American Rejects concert at the California State Fair. Going to your State's fair, or even county fair is a great date! Tickets aren't usually cheap to get in, but there are so many exhibits to go see, and of course all the fun people watching. The fair people are entertaining enough to me that I don't really need anything else when we go to the fair :) Check with your local fair and see what events or concerts they have going on. I loved going to the California State fair because the concerts were FREE with your fair tickets! Concerts are a fun date, not always cheap, but so worth it. It can be a time to forget everything else and just sing and dance and have a good time!
On our way to a Rivercats game in 2007--minor league baseball game. I'm not the biggest fan of going to major league baseball games (too long), but I LOVE going to the minor leagues! They are a lot shorter than the major leagues, cheaper tickets, and they always seem to be giving away prizes. Rivercats games were always one of my favorite things to do in the summer. I mean really, who doesn't love a ballpark hot dog? If you're not into baseball, going to any sporting event is fun. Even if you can't go to a professional game, seeing the "under dogs" is almost just as fun. Don't' be afraid to get into it. Get out of you seat and cheer/yell during the game-THAT is what makes it fun.
Here is Kirk in Twin Falls, ID on our picnic date overlooking the Snake River canyon. This was a very simple, yet fun date. We made sandwiches and just chatted while we marveled at the beauty around us. Take some time to drive around one day in your area and find a pretty, secluded spot. We do this a lot and I'm always surprised at what we find. Sometimes we just like to drive and talk, and see what we can see.
Also while living in Twin Falls, before our son was born, we spent many evenings up in the south hills. It was a short 30-45 min drive in the mountains. We would drive until we found a nice spot to park, then we'd make a fire and enjoy some campfire snacks-smores, carmel popcorn, etc. I loved this because we were away from town, totally secluded. It gave us time to talk about us and our goals. One time we each read and studied General Conference talks and then shared them with each other. Such a spiritual evening. In case you're not familiar with what General Conference is, it's a 2 day conference every 6 months that our church has. It consists of 4 sessions, plus a priesthood session for the men. We get to hear the words of our Prophet, Apostles, as well as other General Authorities in the church. If you'd like to read some Conference talks from this past conference, click here.
Bowling, now that's a fun date! Fun with just the two of you or as a group. I'm pretty sure almost any town has a bowling alley. Throw in some soda and pizza and you've got a pretty fun date! Check with your local bowling alley to see if they do a glow bowling at night (glow in the dark with lots of light and music).
We often spend many date nights at the temple as well. To me, there is nothing better. There has NEVER been a time that I wen to the temple with my husband and afterwards thought, "that was boring". Each time I go I learn something new, and it really helps strengthen my relationship with my husband. Because you don't really talk much in the temple we like to go out to dinner as well, or at least go get a dessert. We've been to quite a few temples, but since we're going to Salt Lake City this weekend, here is a picture of us in front of the Salt Lake City, UT temple. To learn more about temples, click here. There is also a great article about temples written by a non-Mormon. Click here to read!
My husband and I are food lovers. We love making food, we love eating food, and especially love going out for food. Our favorite food by far is sushi!! I had never really tried it until we started dating. It was actually the first date out that we had. It was then that I fell in love :) Sometimes a simple dinner out is just what a marriage needs. Nothing better than not cooking dinner, leaving the kids with a sitter, and letting someone else serve you. I like going to sit down restaurants so we have plenty of time to talk and flirt while we wait for our food.
This is from our 4th Anniversary, eating of course, sushi!
Well, I hope this got your creative juices flowing and you're now full of date ideas for you and your spouse. I also should mention that it is traditionally the man who plans the dates, but when you're married it is important for the woman to plan a few dates here and there. I'm actually planning a romantic getaway this weekend for me and my hubby. It's fun to be the one in charge sometimes, especially if you're like me and you LIVE to plan things.
Now go and give your spouse an extra hug and kiss and get out there this weekend, or sooner, and go on a date!!!
I'll post more date ideas as we do them or as I think of them. What are your favorite dates that you've gone on or would like to? Cheap, expensive, simple-doesn't matter, I'd love to hear!