Tuesday morning, I woke up and started on my morning routine. I got my breakfast ready, sat down and was eating and reading my scriptures. It was raining outside, and I had wondered if my husband was going to be able to go to work. About halfway through my breakfast my husband came in and said he needed to run in to Wasilla to take back some building materials they didn’t need any more, and that he was then going to run to Palmer to look at a tool he found on Craigslist that he might want to purchase. He then asked me if I wanted to go with him. This is his way of asking me on a date. I was still in my pajamas, but he still had to load wood, so I said I would think about it. I did have to go grocery shopping, so I quickly decided that I’d like to go so I didn’t have to drive in later. We spent about 4 hours of impromptu time together, getting home about lunch time. I was able to take a nap on our way to Palmer, he was able to get his running around done, and I got my grocery shopping finished. We had plenty of time in the car to visit, and it was a really nice way to spend our morning together.
Now, to most people this would not seem like a date, but for us, this is pretty typical. We do go on traditional dates, dinner, or watch a movie, usually at home with the kids at grandma’s house. But we have learned that spending time together, one on one, even if it’s running to the hardware store, is a great way to spend time together, and often constitutes our dates, especially in the summer when we are both really busy. Living where we do, we have the benefit of the stores being 30 or more miles away, so there is a lot of drive time that allows us the opportunity to talk, or ride in silence sometimes because we both just need quiet. Either way, it strengthens our relationship.
Dating your spouse is important. We often think of dating as something we only do before we are married but dating after we are married is so important in strengthening our relationship with each other through the years. My husband and I set a goal when we first got married that we would go on a date once a week. 26 years later, and we have a pretty good track record. We do miss a week now and then, but for the most part, we get at least one a week. Our kids also loved date night when they were little, as they got to go to grandma’s house and get spoiled. Even now, when they can stay home because we go to town, they still like to go to grandma’s house. I am grateful for grandparents close by so that we could go so regularly and know our kids were cared for and safe.
Today I thought I would share with you some of our favorite dates, and some that friends have done that also look like fun. One thing to remember is that the point of dating your spouse is to spend one on one time with them. It’s not really about the activity that you do, but that you are together. That is why the first idea is successful at our house. Go to the store with your spouse. This sounds like work to some people rather than fun, but it can be fun shopping with your spouse. It’s something that needs to be done anyway, and if you get a treat for the two of you to share on the way home, it can make it feel a little bit more like a date. Dinner and movies are always a great way to spend time together, and dinner is one of our favorite ways to go on dates. Dinner is nice as well because you can invite friends. Sometimes double dates are a fun change to just going to dinner by yourselves every week, and it’s fun to have friends that you both enjoy spending time with.
One of my favorite dates with my husband is when our kids do sports. We will plan on going for at least one night to their away games and tournaments. We enjoy the drive together and spending the night somewhere new is always an adventure. Our kids also love us coming as we tried to stay at the same hotel. They liked being able to come and just be quiet in our room for a little while, watching part of a movie, or enjoying our ice cream with us. They could then regroup and go back to the crazy that is traveling with their team. We enjoyed supporting them, but also seeing new places and just getting away. A night away can be rejuvenating and refreshing for you and your spouse and is a fun date night once in a while.
We enjoy going to our temple together. Our temple is in Anchorage, so it’s an hour and a half drive from our house. Lots of long drives here in Alaska! But we enjoy the drive, enjoy serving together in the temple, and usually enjoy dinner afterward before we head home. It’s a great way to spend an evening. We also spend time looking at jobs for my husband’s business or delivering art for my business. These drives give us time to talk as always, but also give us time to bounce business ideas off each other, as that is the purpose of the trip. We don’t always talk about business, and it’s nice to have the focus of our date be business once in a while, since that’s what pays the bills, and the added perspective is always great. I enjoy going with him to look at new jobs to see where he might be working next as well, see how far away it is, and decide how often I want to visit the jobsite.
Some other date ideas, some we have done, other we haven’t – Hiking together, I love hiking, my husband not so much, but in our young days, he would humor me once in a while and go hiking. Kayaking or canoeing. When we were first married, we went canoeing on Willow Lake once in a while, usually impromptu, and it was a fun way to spend time together. Camping and backpacking are a lot of fun. Service opportunities and communities get togethers of various sorts are fun as well. Hosting parties at your home and going to parties at other’s homes are fun date nights. Sitting around a campfire or lighting a fire in your fireplace for the evening is one I enjoy as well. There are so many ideas, and so many ways to spend time together. Sometimes they cost money, but there are a lot of things you can do that are free. The goal is to just spend time together. Strong marriages are important, not just for your kids, but for each of us individually. I encourage you to get out and date your spouse if you’re married, and if not, set a goal to do so if/when you get married. It will make a huge difference in your relationship.