Making a Case for Date Nights

Sometimes people just say it better. That’s the case today. One of my closest friends, Kris Gurry—you know, the one who said my date night ideas were impractical—is making her case for the importance of date nights in marriage. I’m so thankful to have a friend who has a heart that beats in rhythm with mine. Everything she says is exactly how I feel, but she’s able to communicate it even better than I could. And with even more credibility! That’s right, Kris and her husband Peter have a weekly date night even though they have two children. I’ll hand it over now and let her share how they make it happen.

“It’s date night, Lady!” This is a phrase often repeated by my husband on Friday. It’s not so much a reminder as it is a reassurance. Before we even said “I do,” Peter, in all his fiancé wisdom, declared we would always have a regular date night—the idea, I’m sure, came from some marriage how-to guide. I don’t think either of us knew how central this would become to our relationship. Its regularity has given a rhythm to our week that grounds both us and our kids.

In our 5 years of marriage we’ve achieved one master’s degree, acquired 2 children, and begun the journey towards a PhD. Life has felt very, very full. I’m thankful for my husband’s foresight in establishing the mandate of a weekly day to celebrate our relationship. If it hadn’t happened before the responsibilities of marriage, family, and school took over, it would have been easy to dismiss it as impossible.

Date nights have been regular, yes, but flashy, no. I have gone through times feeling discontent with our predictability, petitioning my husband to try a new hobby together, or just being envious of the spontaneous romance of our friends. There is always the exception here and there, but our typical date night formula looks something like this: popcorn + movie. And not even a movie in a theater, where you should probably put on some lipstick and change out of your yoga pants! That would be a movie on our laptop with the popcorn popped on the stove, in my yoga pants and wool socks.

That equation certainly isn’t revolutionary in the dating realm, but there are several reasons why it is perfect for us. A hot night out at a chic restaurant or a carefully arranged picnic on the beach doesn’t feel feasible right now on a student budget with two toddlers 2 years old and under. Just getting out the door to get library books back on time feels like an accomplishment! The critical thing for us is that we have made a space for dating in our week, and we will fill in that blank with whatever our life allows in each season. For this season it is popcorn and a movie on our couch.

Dinner on Friday isn’t lingered over with the family, and the bedtime routine with our two girls has no frills attached. It goes without saying that our time together is our number one priority that night! We don’t watch TV together as a habit during the week, so sitting on the couch together, with hot, salty, buttery popcorn, icy cold cider, and sleeping children feels about as good as it gets. And isn’t that what a great date should inspire, the feeling that there is nothing else you’d rather do, nowhere else you’d rather be, no one else you’d want by your side?

Dating your spouse is critical to a healthy marriage, placing them on a pedestal above the mundane necessities of life. Do not allow unrealistic expectations or busy schedules to be a barrier to investing in the relationship that you have committed your whole life to. Find what is practical, affordable, and enjoyable to you, and make it a habit!

Gurry Family

I’m trying to persuade Kris to contribute more to our blog because I feel like she has a wealth of experience and wisdom to share. So, hopefully you’ll be hearing from her again soon! If not, I’ll just secretly take notes during our Skype dates and then share with you guys what I learn.

Be Playful
Make Marriage Happen

Let’s just be honest folks, life is hard. Sometimes, really, really hard.

Yesterday I sat at my favorite coffee shop while a man proceeded to throw up his arms and drop the f-bomb because the two young baristas couldn’t get his toast just right. The guy left and I went up to the counter to make sure the two people who were trying to serve him weren’t going to have their day ruined because of his bad attitude. I don’t care how they toasted that bread, there was no way they were ever going to please him. I retold this story a few times yesterday always calling the guy the “scary man”. But this morning as I think about him, I feel bad for him. I cannot imagine what he has gone through or is currently going through that has left him in such a state of unhappiness. Life has the ability to do that to us, if we let it.

But I say, let’s not let it! Playfulness has been a key part of our relationship very early on. And it helped us get through some very trying times. I remember back in Ukraine in 2005 after the accident, Vitaliy and I would often watch this video when we needed a good laugh. It’s so silly, but it always took the edge off when we needed a break. Laughter does wonders in life, and in marriage.

I imagine that some of you reading this could be going through some difficulties in life that could be affecting your marriage. Or perhaps, it’s your marriage that is the difficulty in your life. Either way, I recommend finding some ways to incorporate some playfulness into the mix. Just be stupid silly together. Find a way to laugh so hard your stomach hurts. And I hope it reminds you of other times you laughed together and enjoyed each other. Because that is the person you fell in love with and married. You just might need to look at them in a new light.

It won’t fix all of your problems or make everything better. But it will give you the break you need to keep persevering. Be playful! And let’s Make Marriage Happen!

Make Marriage Happen Be Playful

What Your Wife Might Be Trying To
Tell You

Vitaliy

Today is the very last day of June. Where has the time gone?

I’ll end the month with my final post in our Love & Respect series. It’s always great hearing from you when I share. So thank you in advance!

While Vitaliy’s primary need in our marriage is respect, mine is actually love. But more practically speaking, I need to be cared for and feel most loved by Vitaliy when he shows genuine care for me. I thought I’d share a few of the ways that Vitaliy has surprised me with care, in both big and small ways.

1. Toothpaste waiting on my brush in the bathroom at night. Despite the day we might have had, this always puts a smile on my face because it’s a small reminder that he cares.

2. Loving my family as his own. During my dad’s recent trip to the bay area, I was blown away by all that Vitaliy did to take care of my dad and nephew. He definitely went above and beyond and it was so genuine.

3. Grocery shopping. It’s not my thing. But Vitaliy willingly offers to do our grocery shopping because he knows how much I dislike it. And it’s a good thing! He saves us so much more money than I would.

4. Opening the door for me. A small gesture, but one that goes such a long way with me. It’s chivalrous and attractive and always makes me feel cared for.

5. Doing powersheets. The other day Vitaliy worked on his powersheets and then shared his goals with me. As I mentioned before, these powersheets really help us communicate. It was wonderful to hear what’s going on in that head of his – and to know that a lot of his thoughts include me. Goals for our marriage or goals he has to provide for us. Not only did I feel cared for, but it turned me on. Just keeping it real! It’s attractive when a man pursues his goals, especially if those goals are geared towards supporting and providing for his family. Just sayin’.

Now, those are just a few things, some big and some very small. I only shared them to get the ideas rolling. Perhaps you think loving or caring for your wife is about getting flowers or buying her a special gift. And those could be part of it! But I would say more than anything, it’s about anticipating her needs and going out of your way to meet them. Sometimes it may require you to sacrifice a lot, and other times it can be such a simple gesture to let her know that you love her. And if you feel like you want to improve but have no idea what to do, just ask. She’ll feel loved just knowing you care. Ask her to write a list comprised of big and small ways you can better care for her needs.

And ladies, when our husbands do go out of their ways to love us, it’s extremely important for us to take notice and thank them for it. I learned the importance of this earlier this year! So be on the lookout! He may be caring for you already in more ways than you’ve noticed.

Let’s Make Marriage Happen!