date night

He Fell Asleep On Our Date and It's Okay

You know how they say opposites attract? It’s true.

I only realized how different my husband and I were from each other when we got married. His idea of quality time is chilling at home eating takeout together and having a deep conversation about life. He wakes up at 3am to take prayer walks and work on his business. Every day he has a schedule that he sticks to no matter what. And he doesn’t watch movies. He rather read a self-help book any day of the week. He’s a geek about basketball though. Mercy, that man will read articles, listen to Colin Cowherd’s radio show, and listen to Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless argue ALL MORNING LONG.

I like to sleep until I feel like I’m done resting. My idea of quality time is getting dressed up and going salsa dancing (still trying to convince him to do that though). I like having a schedule too, but mine is a lot more flexible, depending on how I feel that day. I LOVE movies. I read articles about movies. I watch analysis videos on YouTube about my favorite shows and movies. You can call me somewhat of a TV nerd. Oh, and novels. I will stay up until 3am to finish reading a novel because I simply cannot sleep if I don’t know how the book ends.

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Earlier this year I felt like we had gotten to the point where we were in a romantic rut. Our schedules were so busy that our relationship felt more like a business partnership than a marriage. It just seemed like we were in constant survival mode, and whatever energy was left, we would use it to have conversations about stuff that wasn’t related to the kids or our bills.

I didn’t like where we were headed.

So I came up with this fancy idea of having a jar where we each drop in things we like to do, or places we’d like to go, or things we’d like to have. Then we could just pick out a slip of paper the other put in and figure out something nice to do for them based on the idea they put in.

Yeah…so that hasn’t happened yet. We’re still building up to that. BUT. We were talking one day about the Avengers movies and realized that we both thought they were AMAZING and fun to watch. So we decided to make it our thing to go see Marvel movies whenever they come out.

When “Spiderman: Homecoming” came out, we were like two teenagers in the movie theater, giggling at the funny parts, whispering “Oh Shoot!” at the edge-of-your seat parts, and shaking our heads as Peter Parker made one dumb decision after another. Afterwards we sat in the car and talked about the deep life lessons we had gotten from the movie. Did I mention we’d also gone to dinner and I got a dozen freshly-baked, pecan-chocolate chip cookies?

It was a perfect day.

Fast forward a few months later when “Thor: Ragnarok” came out; we went out to dinner, then to see the movie. I was spellbound. It was the perfect mix of action, comedy, and heart. When it came to the scene where Thor almost knocked himself unconscious trying to escape from his prison, I glanced over at Jono to see if he was enjoying it as much as I was.

He had fallen asleep. His head was cocked at an angle that let me know he fell asleep without meaning to. His mouth had fallen open and I could hear soft snores.

For a split-second I thought about waking him up. He was missing the movie and this was supposed to be our date night. 

I stopped myself just as I was about to shake him awake. Not only did he look adorable, but he was trying. He knew how much I look forward to our date nights and how much I love movies. He was trying. So I cut him some slack and turned back to the movie.

He woke up a few minutes later and apologized for falling asleep. “It’s okay,” I whispered. “It’s the thought that counts.”

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The lesson I learned from that situation is that my husband and I don’t have to share all our interests. We don’t have to like all the same things. Some things you like, your spouse may not have faintest interest in. And that’s okay. The most important thing is to find that one thing that you guys both enjoy and do it together. That will bring you closer to each other than trying to force one another to like the same things and drag each other to events you won’t enjoy.

At the same time though, it is important to try different things together. I never cared about sports until I met my husband. Once he took his time to explain things related to basketball to me, I found myself actually watching games with him. I took it as personally as he did when LBJ lost to Dallas that first championship round. I even started watching First Take on ESPN with him and we would have whole conversations about the topics they were discussing on the show. It surprised me that something that I had zero interest in before was becoming a shared interest between us.

So COMPROMISE is the take-away word here. Meet each other halfway. Try something the other other likes; you may be surprised that you start to like it too. But if you don’t that’s okay. Try something else until you guys find something that works for you.

And honestly, when you’ve been married for a while, your interests may shift. Each of you will grow and change as time goes on. The important thing to do is to make sure you have a common thread that keep you close to each other. It will vary from couple to couple, and don’t feel bad if your idea of a good time is radically different from other couples you know.

Preserving your unity is the top priority. Till next time,

Take care!

Kay G

P.S. Check out this date night recipe book! I love cooking and it's nice to have the house to ourselves and whip something up together ;-)

 

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I Had To Remind Him To Hold Hands (And It Made Me Mad)

  A couple of months ago, my husband and I were driving to a restaurant on our monthly date night. I was super excited because, well, I got all dolled up for the occasion. I had on a shortish lacy, off-the-should dress with my hair done and a lipstick that made my mouth look all kissable. I had on perfume and heels. We got a friend of ours to baby-sit the kids and had even rented a fancy car for the occasion. I felt beautiful, unstoppable. I felt fierce.

  So here we are in the car on our way to strip on the beach where the restaurant is located. I darted my eyes sideways to steal a glance at my husband. His eyes are on the road and music is playing in the car as he sings along. I scroll through my Facebook feed for a few minutes, then put my phone down and sigh a bit dramatically.

No response.

I roll my eyes and reach over to lightly place my hand over his on the gear stick. I gently roll my thumb back and forth over the back of this hand.

Nothing.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore.

“When we were dating you ALWAYS used to reach for my hand when you were driving,” I exploded.

  Jono glanced over at me in surprised confusion. “Matter fact, you actually used to get mad at me for not holding hands with you more often in the car. I guess now that you got access to booty any time now, there’s no need for any of that,” I went on.

  You might think I was overreacting at that moment, but believe me, that conversation had happened several times before, and here we were again.

  He quickly grabbed my hand, squeezing and caressing it with him thumb. He had that sheepish grin on his face that he gets when he knows he’s wrong. “I’m sorry babe, you’re right.”

  I leaned back in my seat as I tried to calm myself down and decrease my rising blood pressure. His thumb started working it’s magic in seconds and I looked over at him again. “Let’s not be mad, okay mama?” he continued. He went on for a few minutes to admit that he isn’t as physically affectionate as he used to be but that he’s working on it, that it has nothing to do with me and it’s just him having a lot on his mind, etc.

  Our date night continued smoothly after that exchange (can’t waste a baby-free night ya’ll!) but it got me to thinking (again) about how time impacts romance in marriage. 

  See, when we were dating, living several blocks away from each other, sleeping in separate beds (with separate bank accounts), we couldn’t wait to be with each other again. Whenever we were together we would hold hands, hug, and sit super close to each other because we knew that eventually we’d have to separate until the next time our schedules allowed us to spend time together. Things got even MORE intense when he left on a year-long mission trip.

  But when you get married, the dynamic changes. You go to sleep together. You wake up together (hello morning breath!). You brush your teeth at the sink while your spouse does their business on the toilet, and you even wash their dirty underwear without blinking an eye. In a word, you get FAMILIAR.

  That’s when it gets really easy to take your spouse for granted and stop treating them the way you did when your love still felt new. It’s like a gradual transition from making out while saying hi to just “Hey, did you remember to pick up milk at the store? ” When you see someone all the time and they become a part of the environment around you, it’s natural for some of the spark to fade.

  That’s why BEING INTENTIONAL matters. You have to start reminding yourself about the things that attract you to your spouse. You have to revisit the memories you made together and recount the things you’ve gone through as a couple, the obstacles you’ve overcome. You have to move appointments around on the calendar so that you can leave work early and spend some time alone without the kids.

  Being intentional about keeping the romance between you and your spouse going isn’t easy. You may have to put alerts on your phone to remind you to do the special stuff until it becomes second nature again. But that’s okay.

  Every couple that’s been married for more than a couple of years eventually has to start being intentional about keeping the romance alive in the relationship. There’s no shame in that. What is wrong is when you don’t make an effort to recalibrate and get things back on track. A romance-less marriage eventually dwindles to basic cohabitation, a roommate with occasional benefits.

  If you noticed that you and your spouse have lost your spark, it’s okay to get upset and voice your concern. It’s okay to fight for your marriage. That means that it still means something to you. It’s okay that I got passionate about my husband not holding my hand because it shows him that I still crave his touch and want his full attention. It reminded him that our romantic connection is still important to me.

So fight on friends! Keep that flame going.

Till next time,

Kay

My Marriage Had Become Stale and I Didn't Even Realize It

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast by my favorite motivational speaker as I was driving to work. One of the points he made was about how a lot of married couples put so much money into their businesses and “the grind” but aren’t willing to put the same amount of money into their marriages.

As I reflected on my own marriage, I came to a scary realization: my husband and I have spent A LOT of money on growing our business, personal development, and even electronic devices, but not even a fraction of that amount on our own marriage. It was really sobering. I realized that we hardly ever put any real effort into planning special moments for one another aside from the yearly stuff: birthdays, anniversaries, etc. When I got to work I texted my husband about the podcast. He was listening to it too and thought it was amazing, but I guess the marriage part hadn’t hit him as hard as it hit me. “We need to have a conversation about this,” I wrote.

Later on that evening we both talked about the fact that we had gotten so comfortable with each other that we had started taking each other for granted. Our friendship was such an open, honest one that I guess we had started settling for a good friendship and slowly stopped putting effort into the romance and spark of our marriage. Instead of being proactive about keeping the spark going in our marriage I began resorting to reading romance novels and watching romantic movies. I was content watching fictional characters enjoy the romance I was too lazy to create in my own life. Pretty pathetic eh?

To be honest, we had these conversations before, but when I stopped to think about how much money we were putting into everything EXCEPT our marriage, it made me realize that even though others may see me as a sort of relationship “expert,” my marriage is just as vulnerable as anyone else’s.

The truth of the matter is, it’s easy to fall into a rut. When both spouses are busy with the demands of a nine to five career and kids-not to mention extra stuff like school or starting a business-it’s very easy to put your marriage on the backburner. Paying bills, spending time with your kids, and ensuring financial stability for the future are all very important things. But the most important thing is your spouse. After all, your kids will hurt just as much if you and your spouse grow apart and decide to get divorced. Launching a business successfully won’t have as much meaning if you lose your spouse along the way.

So how can we make sure that we invest in our marriages and keep that spark going between us and our spouses? I found that the answer is simple: be intentional. Applying it is a whole other thing though. What does being intentional about keeping our marriages healthy and happy look like?

Close your eyes and imagine your wedding. How much time did you invest in planning for it? How much money did you invest into making that day beautiful and special? Now open your eyes and commit yourself to putting just as much money and time into romancing your spouse. Here are some suggestions:

1.  Keep a wish list. Have a box in the house dedicated to this. You and your spouse can put slips of paper where you write down things you enjoy doing, places you’d like to visit, or a meal you’d like to try. Every month, you can pick something from the box to do together, or plan for each other.

2. Schedule quality time. Have a shared calendar on your phones where you schedule your date nights and other special times together.

3. Plan ahead. Once that date is on the calendar, make sure you plan everything else around it, including work stuff. Nothing is more important than your spouse. So act like it. Planning ahead will ensure that you don’t put each other on the backburner anymore.

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but by doing these things we’re helping make our marriage a HEALTHY one, and that’s what we hope you all strive for as well.

Till next time!

Kay Gus

P.S. We get REALLY transparent in our e-book “Love Me This Way.” Download your FREE copy by clicking here if you want to know what it really takes to love your partner.

P.P.S If you already have the e-book, we wrote a follow-up 7-day devotional to help you put the principles from the e-book into practice. Whether you’re single or already in a relationship, this guide will help you dig deep into yourself and put in the work you need to have healthier relationships. Click here to check out "Working On ME."