Decide to Date {Together}

There was a time in my life when dating my husband was completely impossible. We could blame all the “normal” things that happen – having two kids in under 3 years, working too much, not enough cash in the bank account, but let’s put this out there – we didn’t WANT to be together. The hubs and I have had our fair share of issues, lost jobs, complications, health problems, miscarriages, unlikely surprises and general unrest since we began dating. Imperfection bleeds all over our marriage every single day and we have to decide, in those moments, to push through the resistance together. Resistance. What an insane word. It keeps showing itself to me in this season of our life between the kids, jobs, a big move and me.

Have you ever really taken a step back and looked in the mirror? Prior to 2013, I don’t think I ever really had. Me. I’m the one who comes to him with something else I want to change. I kind of have this penchant for pushing the envelope and getting us outside our comfort zone. Since we met, I personally have had no fewer than 7 jobs, two of which have been 100% commission positions and even now, in this moment, as I type, I am dreaming of my next big idea! Somehow, he hasn’t left me with his hands in the air shuffling his feet out of the door, whispering, “What the fu….” to himself {yet}. And the longer we are here, in this life, doing “crazy” things, the more faith I have he’ll never do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Sometimes, people legitimately ask me, “How do you and Erich stay happy?” This usually comes in a private, one-on-one coffee/wine conversation. Depending on what kind of time they have, because I believe in being honest, I want to tell our whole dramatic story that took us from so very unhappy to here. It doesn’t mean we’re happy all the time. It doesn’t mean we don’t fight {oh Lordy, we do!}. It doesn’t mean we don’t have some of the same issues we had when we first got married. There is beauty in some things never changing.

The answer really – cliché as it may seem – is we work hard at it, we put the other’s needs first, and we decide to date {together}. And, boy can you tell when we aren’t working hard or considering the other person in this partnership. These past 9 months have been a struggle in staying focused with the highly difficult task of not making it about me. Moving 1,000 miles from home makes it challenging to really pay attention, and emotionally, I’m drained from the lost friendships, lost business, lost family.  Some days it’s difficult to get out of bed even when the sun is shining and I forget to think about him – how he did the same thing adding in a brand new job. Things slip and everything is very tense and the amount of change inflicted on a family is not for the faint of heart with a move like the one we just made. But, we dig deep in those moments and go on a date together. We make plans with one another. We put it on the calendar and we decide to put the other first. We CHOOSE each other instead of the million other things going on. We put a pause on chores, come home on time, call a sitter/friend to help us out and we give that time to our marriage.

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Erich and I have taken up truly investing in each other with weekly date nights. Some people say monthly is enough. I disagree. For us, if we didn’t go out more than once a month, get some alone time, talk to each other without interruption, really hold hands, kiss, check in with one another, be together – more than one time a month – we would feel lost and disconnected. Dating can be expensive and Dave Ramsey wouldn’t love that we overspend on babysitters, hotels for overnights, dinners, drinks and a golf club membership to grab our alone time! I am so glad we don’t care what Dave {or anyone else} thinks about our choices, because it means we explore our new city together, trying new things and living in the now, creating connection time we cannot get at home.  Yes, we always leave the house for a date.

Did you ask my advice?  No??  OK, well – here it is anyway:
Invest in a sitter or ask a friend/family member to hang with the kids for 2 hours a week. Decide to date. It is a game changer.

Here are 5 fabulous, fun {& inexpensive} things to do in ANY city for a date night {or day} done right:

  • Pack a picnic, go for a walk or a bike ride and explore a local park.
  • Head to a local ice cream shop and share a sundae.
  • Hit up a local festival and ride the Ferris wheel.
  • Spend a Sunday checking out local open houses around your town.
  • Choose a cause and volunteer together, whether it’s at an animal shelter, collecting donations for domestic abuse victims or cleaning up your city.

Erich and I have been married for almost 10 years and marriage doesn’t “get easier”. It is always a work in progress. We push through the resistance and challenges that arise together, usually coming to the best decisions, while we are focused on each other REALLY LISTENING. It’s not rocket science, but it is a decision we make each day {together} to allow the person God has chosen for us to have their piece. We will not always have all the busy-ness of our lives swirling around. We keep that in mind and continue to get to know each other. There is always more hiding beneath the layers and one day, when the house is empty and the juice boxes are no longer being found in the crevices of our couch, it WILL just be us. We both agree we WANT to be there {together} ready to take on my next big idea!

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