While today’s post is mainly written with married ladies in mind, I believe those who are not yet married or are dreaming of marriage can certainly take away some important lessons for when they do step into that season of life.
Dating your spouse can sometimes sound silly or even juvenile once you’ve entered into marriage, because we think of dating as that awkward and exhilarating stage in life where you are learning so many new things about this person you’ve been crushing on and falling for. It’s that stage where you get to go eat at places you wouldn’t normally, go out to the movies, go do the things that are fun and exciting that perhaps you wouldn’t normally do, and you just can’t wait for the next date with this person that just makes you giddy, happy, and who renews or inspires your dreams. Anyone else having a moment of nostalgia like me? Ok, well today I want to talk to you about some practical, yet purposeful ways to continue that after “I Do.”
If you’ve been married for any amount of time I’m sure you’ve discovered how drastically things can change post-honeymoon. We even have phrases such as, “the honeymoon is over.” Many have almost blindly accepted this as the way things are. But what if we could change that?
Even in my own marriage, we returned from the honeymoon and went into the new territory of merging two lives into one. Both of us had been single adults for a while and had gotten used to our independence, spending habits, and more. Then, all the sudden, there’s another person involved in all of those facets of life! We also were in a stage in life were things weren’t financially easy, and in those times it can be easy to let certain activities fall away because you can’t afford it.
But that’s exactly what I want to focus on today: how to be frugal and purposeful in your marriage relationship. Something I have learned through trial and error is how to find fun things to do with my husband that fit our current season of life. There was a time when we were a single income household because of cutbacks, and that single source of income wasn’t very much, which just yields itself to creativity when thinking of ways to date as a couple. Here are a few marriage dates that will hopefully spark ideas in you for things that you and your spouse love or want to try.
Day Trips or Short Getaways
One thing that I’ve loved doing with my husband is to try once every month or two to take a day trip or a little 1-2 night getaway that doesn’t break the bank. A few of my favorites from when I lived in Broken Arrow, OK were:
- Oklahoma Aquarium
- Philbrook Museum of Art
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
My current favorites in our area:
- Biltmore Estate in NC
- Weatherspoon Art Museum
- North Carolina Museum of Art
- Blowing Rock & Boone
- Asheville & The River Arts District
- The Blue Ridge Parkway
- Greensboro History Museum
- Guilford Courthouse National Battleground
Most of the things listed above were either free or a nominal fee and a few could be made affordable by purchasing an Annual Pass, which allows you to have a getaway that literally only costs you gas and food.
Something we would do as Annual Pass holders at the Biltmore estate, early in our marriage when funds were tight, was to pack a lunch, snacks, etc so that we literally only had to pay for the gas to get there and back. We would feel like we had gone away on an adventure, and in reality we had driven a few hours away and were back in time for bed. While doing this may take a little more effort prior to leaving, finding something similar close to you that you can return to once a month or season and not feel the pressure to go outside of your means can be very beneficial to you and your spouse.
It’s amazing to me how even having known my husband for 7 years now, I am still discovering new aspects of his character, personality, and life story on little getaways like these. These getaways trigger memories, dreams, and the long car ride makes for great opportunities to talk more so than you do in your day-to-day busy life.
My husband and I have really worked to foster and develop our “Date Night.” An evening where we do something different from our ordinary and put our phones away. Even if finances are tight or you’re not feeling 100%, you can still make this work.
We have developed what we call “date nights in” and these are nights where we get a movie neither of us had seen yet or that we hadn’t seen in ages. Sometimes it involves going to a used book store with a large selection of cheap pre-owned movies, tv shows, and video game collections, a quick trip to the dollar store for movie boxed candy and popcorn, then home again for a special crockpot or casserole meal I already prepared and we cuddle on the sofa and have dinner and a movie.
Date nights could also be:
- Dinner and/or a movie
- window shopping fun retro stores downtown
- Going to Barnes & Noble and looking at books together
- Attending local minor league sports team games (baseball, basketball, etc)
- walking in a local park or natural trail
There are tons of books out there that you can find to help come up with some new or creative things to do. Another great resource is Pinterest! I actually planned a nerf battle for when my husband got home to our little apartment. When he came inside there was a nerf gun, dart, and a dry erase board telling him the guidelines. Winner decided what the other had to make for dinner. This was totally cheesy and also so fun!
Another thing that definitely helps in keeping and rekindling the love is being purposeful in planning 1-2 dedicated vacations where you and your spouse getaway; it is like a long date and mini honeymoon.
This, again, doesn’t have to break the bank. Ever tried camping? It is a very fun, adventurous, and affordable way to get away and unplug. You can buy a tent fairly cheap online or at your box stores, if you watch for sales, especially close to the holidays, and then add to your camping gear over time.
We started out with a pre-owned camping set my husband got for a steal and it allowed us the opportunity to go on vacations we normally wouldn’t have been able to afford. Over the years for Christmas/anniversary/birthday presents for each other or from family we have upgraded our gear that needed to be upgraded. Something I love is that you can just about camp anywhere.
Have you ever dreamed of going to Disney World, the Grand Canyon, etc? Did you know that for a fraction of what the resorts in those areas cost that you can camp just as close, sometimes even closer, to the destination/attraction? When we plan vacations, I am always searching for a deal and a destination that offers lots of fun things to do that are either free or justifiably worth the cost. Some of my favorite places we’ve been as a couple and with immediate family have been:
- Walt Disney World Resort
- Universal Studios Resort
- Washington DC
- Waco TX/Magnolia Market
- Natural Bridge VA
- Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge TN
- Cherokee NC
- Asheville NC
- Charleston SC
- Myrtle Beach SC
- Oak Island & South Port NC
- Hershey PA
- Philadelphia PA
- Gettysburg PA
Many of these trips were achieved through planning, using internet searches for best deals, and budgeting money each month to pay or save towards the trips. And many of these involved staying in campgrounds, but not all as I do love a nice resort too!
I hope these little tips help spur creative ideas to help you continue or learn how to date your spouse in ways that don’t rob your finance, but enrich your love and care for each other. We should always be growing in our love with our spouse and looking for ways to stir and reignite our passion for each other, just as we should grow in our love and relationship with our Heavenly Father. We never want our love to wax cold as the Bible talks about in Matthew 24:12, but we want to be purposeful in planning opportunities for us to truly fellowship with our spouse, just as we did when we were dating them before marriage. I hope you have fun as you discover new ways to date your spouse!