Happy Valentine’s Day! Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I can show my loved ones how much they mean to me, not just on Valentine’s Day, but throughout the year. I want to make sure I am focusing on my family, and be more intentional about my interactions with them every single day.
I have to be honest, as an adult I have never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Maybe because I feel like the holiday seems a little forced. I would rather my husband surpirse me with flowers on a random Tuesday in May than feel like he has to on February 14th. Or maybe it is because after the holidays and three family birthdays I just don’t want to buy another gift. It could also be because he asked me to marry him on Valentine’s Day. I mean, how do you top a marriage proposal?
After proposing on the beach, my husband carved our initials into a giant piece of driftwood. So sweet, right? I was telling the story to my son tonight and he asked me if it was still there. Sorry bud, but I am guessing that piece of driftwood is either out to sea or washed up somewhere on another beach…
Recently I read a great blog post by Mix and Match Mama about how she is setting resolutions this year for each category of her life. It really inspired me to create a similar list of my own for 2018, with of course one of my categories being “marriage.”
My marriage goal for 2018 is to be more intentional about the time I spend with my husband. With three kids there are few precious moments to connect, and I don’t want to keep missing those! We have been so bad about scheduling together time. We’ve made excuses about how there is no time, no one to watch the kids, or they are too little, etc. I have to admit, that last one was me – I hated leaving them when they were really little. Although funny how with our third one now it is not so hard to leave anymore… 😉
DATE NIGHT GOALS
One thing I want to do to create more quality time with my husband is to schedule a monthly date night. Here is my game plan so I can ensure that actually happens:
- At the beginning of each month I plan to sit down, look at our calendar, and schedule a date night. Honestly, I would love to plan these out farther in advance, but with all the balls our family is juggling, this seems the most realistic for us right now.
- Go through my yearly planner and write a reminder to plan a date night on the first day each month. (I wrote about my current planner last month in this Friday Favorites post.)
- Arrange a babysitter when I plan the date night. Don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute. We are lucky to have family close by, as well as a great sitter than my kids love!
- Be flexible. Life happens, things come up, if we need to reschedule, we will.
- Hold myself accountable. I think a date night recap on the blog would be the perfect way to do this! Stay tuned…
WHY DATE NIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT
Does anyone else find it difficult to have a conversation with your spouse when your kids are present? If your family is anything like mine, my hubby and I are lucky if we can get a word in once everyone is home from school, work, and activities. We have some extremely chatty children, including the tiniest member of our family. Being the youngest she definitely likes to make sure her voice is heard! What ever happened to kids being seen and not heard? Sheesh!
Being able to communicate without interruptions and distractions is one reason why I think date nights are so important! It gives you a way to connect with your spouse that you can’t always do at home.
Although does anyone else end up talking about their kids too much on date night? That is something that we find ourselves laughing about on the rare occasion we do go out. I mean, I know they are a huge and wonderful part of our lives, but date night is a perfect time to focus on each other, and to talk about all of those things you don’t get to discuss at home with the kids.
Any sane parent can agree that you need a break from parenting. Being a parent is amazing, but it is also down right draining and exhausting. I wouldn’t change being a mom for anything, but I would be lying if I said I don’t have moments where I feel I am going absolutely crazy and need a break. Date nights are the perfect time to relax and step away from our busy, overscheduled lives. Creating couple time is a necessity to a happy, healthy marriage. You will be a better parent and a spouse for it!
Spending time together is a great way to reconnect with your significant other. My husband and I have been married for almost 18 years. If I have learned anything during that time, it is that relationships take work. I don’t want to make it sound like it is a chore, but I think most people would agree that it can be easy to neglect your spouse and take them for granted. Having time set aside weekly or monthly to focus on each other can make a huge impact on on your connection as a couple.
DATE NIGHT IDEAS
Date nights don’t always have to be big, expensive affairs. Although I do love the idea of getting dressed up, and think it is definitely something we need to do at least once or twice this year. Gives me a good excuse to go shopping too! 😉 When coming up with a potential list of ways we could spend time together, I tried to think of some of our common interests. Here is my list so far:
- Drinks/Dinner – We live in such a great city for amazing food! I have a list of restaurants I want to try. So many great options here! It would be amazing to eat a meal without someone jumping up every 10 seconds, playing musical chairs, or making loud weird animal noises.
- Movie – I honestly can’t remember the last time we saw a movie together. I think it was Up in the Air with George Clooney and Anna Kendrick. That was in 2009. I am really embarrassed to write that. And going to see the new Star Wars movie with our nine year old son doesn’t count.
- Theater – Again, living in a big city provides us with access to so many theaters with great performances, but even the small town where I went to college had a local theater.
- Concert – My husband loves live music. Bonus points if it is outdoors. Need to keep his interests in mind too!
- Go on a hike – another one my husband would love to do.
- Explore a nearby town – We are surrounded by darling little towns filled with antiques, wineries, shopping, and restaurants. Shopping and a lunch date in a different neighborhood in the city would be fun too.
- Take a cooking class together.
- Coffee/dessert/bookstore – We both love reading and NEVER go into a bookstore without our children. Must do!
- Breakfast – Pretty much my favorite meal of the day, and can’t think of anyone better to spend it with.
The way I look at date nights is that they are an investment in your relationship. You invest in your job, your kids, your health…so you should do the same for your spouse, right?
While this is just one way to be more intentional about the time I spend with my husband, I think it is a great start! As I try to make date nights a part of our regular routine, I would love to hear your advice on how you spend quality time with your spouse given the demands of kids, life, family, and work. And if you are in the same boat as I am, I encourage you to set your own marriage/relationship goals and follow along!
Oh, and my one rule for date nights? No cell phones! Except for the million times I’ll check to make sure the babysitter hasn’t texted… 😉