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The 3 Keys to a Great Date: Eat, Talk, and Play!

February 13, 2014
Couple enjoying a picnic

EAT

In our busy lives, all too often we don’t make time for the most basic of social functions — eating together! Be sure to make time to sit down together and share a meal for two. Try to even share the preparation — and the clean-up! If you haven’t got time to cook, how about a take-away, or a romantic meal at a local restaurant? Take the time to eat face to face, not in front of the TV!

TALK

What does your daily communication as a couple consist of? Organizing the family and home, questions about the kids, what needs to go on the shopping list? Or perhaps some of the big decisions of life — whether to move, what new car to buy, your health or ailments? When was the last time you sat down and just talked about “you” — the challenges of life, what’s motivating you, what’s dragging you down, how it feels to be you — or perhaps your hopes and dreams for your future together? Make some time this week to sit down together just to “talk”!

PLAY

When we first fall in love, life always seems to be full of fun — but as the years go by, sometimes we forget to play together! Why not make some time to do something together you both enjoy –something as simple as going for a walk, watching a movie together, taking a dance class, or spending an evening in your local pub or a jazz club. For the truly adventurous, think para-gliding or a zip line! Maybe just curl up together in front of a fire, and read stories to each other. Whatever it is, try and find something you can both take part in, and which will remind you of the fun times in your relationship!

(Provided by http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/marriage-tips)

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Date Your Way to Valentine’s Day

February 6, 2014

To have a truly great Valentine’s Day you want to let the romance start a little bit sooner than after work February 14th! Here are 3 date ideas to deepen the romantic connection with your spouse as we build up to Valentine’s Day:

Have a Memory Lane Great Date! (Great for Valentine’s Day)

Valentine’s Day gets overbooked, so reserve ahead at your favorite restaurant. At dinner, talk about your own love story.

Talk about the Past

  • First time you saw each other
  • First date
  • First kiss
  • Favorite dates
  • When you decided to tie the knot
  • Wedding day
  • Honeymoon
  • Most romantic moments

Celebrating the Present

  • What do I like most about my spouse?
  • What is the best thing that happened to us in the last 12 months?

Looking Forward

  • What are some fun things we can do to build memories in the future?

Provided by the authors of http://www.10GreatDates.org


Reenact your first date.

Now that you’ve talked about the past have some fun reliving it! Have fun trying to replicate your first official date together. Eat the same place, go to the same activities or watch that same movie again. Guys make sure you call her ahead of time to make sure she wants to go out with you! Take this experience to the next level by dressing up and doing your hair the way you did for that first date.

If recreating exactly what you did for your first date proves too challenging, try creating a new first date together. Dress to impress, this is your new first impression! Make sure you do something that you would have been able to afford back then. Talk as if you don’t already know each other, asking questions about family, hobbies, hopes and dreams.

Either way by enjoying another “first” date you’ll see how far you’ve come as a couple and giggle at how awkward you were at the beginning. Who knows you might learn something new about your spouse!


Embark on an Urban Adventure

Instead of frequenting your favorite restaurant again, try exploring the local markets of whatever cultures you are least familiar with. Pick up as many strange culinary items as you dare to try. Order pizza for the kids and once they’re in bed, together, invent your own recipe with the foreign foods you’ve gathered. Make sure you write down the steps and amounts you used so you can repeat and maybe adjust your creation again. You may want to order a little extra pizza in case this doesn’t go well 😉

Remember to keep the mood light and you will be sure to have created an evening the two of you will not soon forget. Trying new things together helps to build memories and keeps the relationship feeling fresh, young, and can breathe new energy into your hearts.

Kissing Santa Goodbye

November 19, 2013

It's not Christmas yet!

As the ghouls and goblins of Halloween are replaced, not with turkeys and pilgrims but Santa Clauses and reindeer, you may be wishing the new trend was not No Shave November but rather No Santa November. You are not alone.  More and more Americans are becoming concerned with the yuletide holiday season overshadowing other holidays. At least one town in the area had Santa decorations put up before they held Trick-or-Treat night! Perhaps soon, the ghosts of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will become a Halloween favorite.

Rather than getting annoyed every time you see a decorated tree or big, jolly man in red in the months of September, October or November,  try out our idea to help you stay merry throughout the expanding holiday season. The Kissing Santa Game is quite simple: every time you are around your partner and you see or hear a reminder of the upcoming holiday season, give your partner a kiss; if you are not around him/her at the time, sending a kissing Santa text message will suffice.
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A little extra affection can be a great stress reducer. Redirecting those seasonal reminders towards the love of your life might actually make them enjoyable. If not, just remind yourself this will all be over in a few weeks.

Building Trust Bit by Bit

October 15, 2013

Black Couple looking around a treeLike a piece of glass, trust is almost impossible to repair once broken. This is a troubling realization given the crucial role that trust plays in having a healthy relationship. To reinforce the foundation of your trust and repair any cracks that may be starting to form, here are 10 bits of advice to improve trust in your relationship:

  1. In marriage, secrets are as dangerous as lies. Don’t hide anything from your spouse.
  2. Accept responsibility even when it’s embarrassing. It shows you have character.
  3. Be willing to put your spouse’s Needs before your Wants.
  4. Spending quality time together nurtures love and trust.
  5. Honesty in marriage requires more than just telling the truth. Tell them everything you’d want to know.
  6. Listen; truly listen, to your partner’s concerns and complaints without judgment. This opens the door to confiding which is an act of trust.
  7. Blame, insults and put downs are landmines that can destroy any bridge of trust.
  8. Especially in the little things, be a person of your word.
  9. Own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your behavior.
  10. A willingness to sacrifice shows dedication and loyalty.

Marriage Works! Ohio offers several programs based on Dr. John Van Epp’s Relationship Attachment Model. Dr. Van Epp illustrates how your level of trust should be second only to how well you know someone. How do you maintain a healthy level of trust in your relationship?

Beating Betrothed Boredom

September 10, 2013

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Marriage has a tendency to systemize our lives. It makes it easy to fall into a pattern and causes our lives to become a dull routine. As a couple spends their lives together the things that were new and exciting in the beginning, after a significant amount of time become ordinary. His sweet habit of bringing you a flower every week becomes expected and loses its thoughtfulness. When she started folding and putting the laundry away for you, it touched your heart. Now you only notice when the laundry’s not done or doesn’t make it into the dresser.

Psychologists attribute this to hedonic adaptation. It is the theory that when something changes in our life we quickly get used to it and expect it, creating a new normal. This explains why, not long after winning the lottery, most people are no happier than before they won. It also explains how couples who get trapped in a routine can end up divorcing because of boredom.

As life happens, it is crucial that we learn new ways to reconnect with each other. Having a routine isn’t bad, for example, it is highly recommended that couples regularly schedule date nights and time to talk. The trouble comes when there is monotony during those scheduled times together. If you are taking regular date nights, make sure you aren’t doing the same thing every time. If you enjoy watching movies together, try watching them in different ways: at home, in the theater, at a drive-in, with friends, or at a public screening in the park. If enjoying a dinner out on the town is more your style, try making a list of local restaurants both of you have never eaten at before and then start checking off the list.

Another way to keep hedonic adaptation from negatively affecting your marriage is to simply be appreciative. If you really enjoy receiving that flower every week, make sure you continue to show your appreciation for it. That way it remains something special rather than becoming ordinary.

How do you stay out of the relationship rut?

Going Beyond “I Love You”

June 18, 2013

15548-16DG-945x630 WhiteIn relationships, especially marriage, we tend to fall into habits and eventually we begin to feel like life is scripted and we are just going through the motions. In these times, we need to take our relationship beyond I love you and into a place of self-awareness -what we do or say- as well as the awareness of others – the needs/desires of our partners.

  • You’re not in love with a mind reader. Take time to pause and reflect on your mental process. Are you grumbling to yourself about unmet needs but not clearly stating them to your spouse?
  • Get specific. Instead of telling your wife, I love you, say something like, I love the way your hair frames your face or I love how attentive you are to the needs of the kids.
  • Take aim. Identify one part of the day which you share but is usually controlled by a routine. This is your enemy. Aim to break this one routine every day. When she’s telling you about her day, interrupt her with a kiss. Before he turns on the TV, suggest going for a walk.
  • Ask questions. Express a desire to learn about your partner’s hobbies and interests and then really listen to what is said. Just be careful not to badger or interrogate.
  • SHOW IT. Whether it’s an elaborate night away from the kids or a simple sticky note that says I love you, materializing how you feel is one of the best ways to go beyond the normal expectations of a day.

Overcoming the monotony of a relationship can be a difficult but necessary step to maintaining a lively relationship. How do you keep your relationship fresh?

5 Cheap Dates to Revive Your Relationship

May 30, 2013

A crucial part of maintaining a lasting connection with your spouse is to periodically take time to be together and to focus on each other. Without weekly or at least monthly “date nights” it is far too easy to let your relationship slip into a pattern of mediocrity which suffocates the passion and excitement it once had. Here are a few inexpensive ideas for dates that should help to revive the passion in your marriage:

  1. Reenact your first date. Wear retro cloths, eat at the same restaurant or do whatever else you can to reenact that first meeting. You can reflect on how far you’ve come as a couple and chuckle at how awkward you were at the beginning. Alternatively, you can enjoy the nostalgia by watching your favorite movies from when you were in school.
  2. Take a “Snow Day”. Even if there’s no snow in the forecast, plan a random vacation day for the middle of the week together. Then while the kids are at school, celebrate your private “snow day” by building forts, baking cookies and taking a bath together. Too much to get done on your day off? Can’t get the day off work? Make plans to meet your spouse at a favorite location for a mid-day “date lunch”.
  3. Movie Roulette: One of you picks a number between 1 and 25, and the other person pulls up the movie listings for a local movie theater and counts through the list to see which film corresponds to the number picked. Go and see the corresponding movie. For better or worse, it will be an experience to remember! (For a less expensive date, try going to a showing in the morning.)
  4. Volunteer. Pick a cause that you both care about and find somewhere that you can volunteer your time. Service is a great way to invest in your community and it provides a feel good atmosphere to enjoy time with your spouse while doing something you will both feel good about.
  5. Play truth or dare. Whether you’re out at a restaurant or have some time alone at home, truth or dare is a great way to have fun, make memories and maybe even learn something new about your spouse.

In addition to making time for “date nights”, many couples also find it beneficial to spend just a few minutes every day connecting. How do you stay connected to your partner?