Dating Your Spouse

6 Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas

By Sarah Parsons

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Whether you've got a little one or not, going out for date night can be tricky. Maybe you don't have a babysitter, maybe you had a long week at work, or maybe you're on a tight budget this month. Whatever the case may be, date night goes to the wayside...again. 

But let's not accept defeat so easily! Investing in your marriage is so important. Without intimacy, your relational flame will dwindle. You may even feel like it's blown out altogether. But there are ways to keep your spark alive! Some good, old-fashioned quality time may be just what the Love Doctor ordered. So, here are six stay-at-home date night ideas that will help put the pep back into your marital step!

Creative Date Nights at Home

1. Drinks by the Fire.

I don't know about you, but firepits make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The flicker of the flames, the sound of crackling wood, the smell of campfire on my sweater. Mmmmmm. Add a glass of wine and my honey, and the scene is set for the perfect evening! (Coffee, tea, or hot cocoa also make perfect campfire sips.) 

Enjoy the peace and quiet just being close to each other. Relax, you deserve it. 

2. Board Games

Come on, give board games a chance; they are an awesome way to connect. A little healthy competition is great between couples. Personally, we tend to take the competition to an extreme. And when I say "we," I mean "me."

But we still have a great time. 

One of our favorite games to play together is Gin Rummy. It's a card game, so it takes up minimal space and is super easy to clean up! A win win! If you've never played Gin, you can check out the rules here.

3. Take Personality Tests and Compare the Results.

This is a fun one! It may sound a little weird, but give it a try. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised to discover new things about your spouse. 

Ryan and I both took this free test based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality type theory. It was really neat to compare our personalities and see where we work well together and where we might clash a bit. 

4. Make Milkshakes or Sundaes Together.

Myyyyyyy milkshakes bring all the kids to the yard, but they're asleep! So the shakes are all ours... *mom dance for the win.*

You really can't go wrong with ice cream! Unless you're lactose intolerant... then this could really ruin your night.

But for the rest of you this takes the cake! Take a trip to the grocery store and load up on all your favorite ice cream, toppings, and cookies, then come home and GO NUTS! This is a NO SHAME date night. Throw caution to the wind and eat away all the stress of the week. 

If you're up for a challenge, try out a milkshake recipe. We love Oreo's in our house, so this is our go-to recipe.

5. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane.

This one's my favorite and we do it often. I absolutely love looking through our old pictures together and hearing Ryan tell me how he remembers the moments. Even though I've heard the stories a hundred times, for some reason, hearing him tell them again and again never gets old. 

Talk about a way to rekindle some love!

6. Take-Out by Candlelight

There's only one thing better than a romantic, candle-lit dinner at home, and that's a romantic, candle-lit dinner at home you didn't have to make! So have fun dressing up your table. Grab any candles you've got lying around the house, pull out your wedding china (or even some cute paper plates for easier clean-up), and order your favorite take-out.

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We’ve found “favorites” to be a fun conversation topic. We’ve been married for almost 5 years now, but sometimes it’s fun to get back to the basics with questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” “What’s your favorite song? “What’s your favorite Bible verse?” Ryan started asking me these and more today while we were on our way to lunch. It feels so nice to have your spouse interested in your likes and dislikes. 

I hope something here has sparked your interest! Date night should be a priority and hopefully, this makes it seem a little more possible. God loves marriage and wants to see yours thrive—don’t let this busy life go too fast. Cherish the time you have with your spouse once your kids are down for the night. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in tomorrow’s to-do list, the bills that need to be paid, or the groceries that need to be purchased. Just be present. 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
— Matthew 6:25-26, 34

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Sarah Parsons found an online outlet for her gift of exhortation when she started her mommy blog. She writes from her home in California for the sole purpose of encouraging and inspiring women. Married to Ryan and mother of Harley Wren, Sarah shares adventures and advice to make family more fun. 

Website: theparsonspack.com, Instagram: @mrs.parsons


7 Ways to Show Your Husband Love

By Brittany Rust

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When you’re married and have kiddos, Valentine’s Day is often a bit harder to make happen. Ryan and I use to make these grand plans on V-Day, get all dressed up, and go out on the town. The two years we’ve had a kid we haven’t gone out once. True story. Both years at least one of us has been sick on the day we were going to celebrate and couldn’t get a sitter to reschedule. So, we’ve had to get creative!

Here are some fun ways to love on each other at home and special ways to show your man some attention.

How to love your husband this week (and every week).

1. Make a special V-Day breakfast.

Start the day off with a little love in the house! And this is something your kids can join in to feel special as well. Maybe make some heart shaped pancakes or your husband’s favorite breakfast. You can also leave a note and gift at each place setting that is unique to each person in your family. Your family will no doubt start the day off feeling loved.

2. Meet your husband for a romantic lunch.

If your kids are in school or with a sitter, make plans to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day over lunch. It worked for Pam and Jim, although you might want to hold back on that much booze! This can be a nice opportunity to have some one-on-one time without fighting the crowds, sitter schedules, and sky-high dinner prices.

3. Flirt throughout the day.

This is a must! Guys like to flirt and love it when a wife gets a bit flirty—it makes them feel like a man. Put a special note in your husband’s lunch. Send some sexy texts (pics included)! Call him and just say you’re thinking about him. This will get your husband incredibly excited to get home to you!

4. Plan a special dinner.

Somewhat like breakfast, this can be a special meal for the whole family. A favorite meal or special entree not usually on the menu. Both years we haven’t been able to go out we’ve stayed in and made fondue. It’s easy, yummy, Roman gets a kick out of it, and there is an element of romance in it. And don’t forget dessert!

5. Tell him how much you respect and appreciate his hard work.

The words men often most cherish are respectful and express gratitude for hard work. Guys can put so much of their worth in work and feel the burden to take care of the family financially. Look your husband in the eye, tell him how much you respect him, and appreciate all the hard work he invests to take care of the family.

6. Put on something special and see where the night goes.

Am I going to talk about sex? Yes! And why? Because sexual intimacy is incredibly valuable in a marriage and we don’t talk about it enough in the Christian world. Sex is part of a healthy marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul wrote that a husband and wife should fulfill their partners sexual needs and not abstain unless for a short and agreed upon time to pray.

If the fire has been dwindling, now is a perfect time to reignite the passion. Put the kids to bed, put on something you feel sexy and confident in, and enjoy each other.

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.
— Proverbs 5:18-19

Honestly—just read Song of Solomon (which is packed full of love between a man and woman) and you’ll see the importance (and excitement) of sexual intimacy with your husband.

7. Share in emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual intimacy.

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There’s more than just physical intimacy—and we all prefer certain intimacies over others. Connect with intertwined bodies but also connect by sharing your deeply felt emotions, over intellectual conversation, and in prayer together. There are many ways to find each other’s souls and connect—find what your husband prefers and seek to connect with him there.

It goes without saying but hard to do—show special attention to your husband on all the normal, average days as well. You’re tired and depleted—yes. But if you don’t invest into your marriage now when the littles are running around, there may not be much of a marriage to enjoy when they’re grown and gone. Your husband and marriage must be a priority if you’re going to grow old together in a world that seems to do nothing but tear you apart.

The same goes for your wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs.
— 1 Peter 3:1

Dating Your Spouse

By Brittany Rust

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It took Ryan and I six months after Roman was born to go on our first solo date. SIX MONTHS! Needless to say, when we finally did this mama was ready for it! Thirteen months into being parents and it still isn't easy finding time we can steal away with each other. And I'll be honest, it can be hard sometimes. Not getting out there as a couple to have fun, connect, and make special memories is a challenge. Maybe you're in the same place. And maybe, if you're anything like me, perhaps sometimes that leaves you feeling invisible or boring. The excitement of a date is gone and replaced with Netflix or early nights in.

I've learned something very important over the last year: dating your spouse is vital to the health of a marriage. Those long days of parenting often direct most energy towards our kid(s) because they need us to survive, right?! Because of this, as moms, we often feel depleted at the end of the day, which means there is little left for ourselves or our husband. It's incredibly hard and not conducive to dating our spouse.

Let me be honest: before becoming a mom I couldn't imagine being too tired to love on my husband. But don't we always know better when we're not moms (J/K, obviously)! I just loved my guy so much that, of course, he would still get lots of loving. But then I had a baby and after a day full of diapers, feedings, chasing after my son, writing, and keeping up with the house, I just felt flat out empty. This would often manifest into me snapping at my Ryan over something trivial, not feeling confident in my own skin and pulling back from him, or retreating to bed after dinner out of pure exhaustion.

So, for the mama feeling the same way, know you are not alone!

Motherhood is exhausting and it can often leave you feeling low in the fuel tank. Finding time to spend quality time with your husband can be difficult and low on the priority list (if on there at all).

However, let me be the first to swallow my own words while sharing it with you: we cannot let our marriage play second or third or fourth fiddle in life.

The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
— 1 Peter 3:1-4 (MSG)

The Bible is full of verses about marriage and how couples ought to love each other. This one in particular reminds us wives that our husband must always be a priority. Here's simple the breakdown:

God > Husband > Kids > Everything Else

This may shock some: "But my kids NEED me! They have to come first!'

I hear you love your kids; I'm right there with you! But God has a different approach for you and it may be hard to maintain. He, above all else, of course. Then your husband, and then your kids. I know this might seem such a challenge when your whole world can get wrapped up in your kids and their needs, however, it's just not healthy for your marriage, your heart, or your kids.

You must be intentional about reserving some of that love and attention for your husband. For me, that might mean putting on some makeup and combing my hair before he gets home so that as I prepare the outside, my heart gets excited for his return home. Or it might be lighting all the candles and cleaning the house so that he comes home to a place of rest and comfort. It surely means letting him know often how much you respect him and appreciate all that he does for the family. And certainly, it means carving out time for him.

I know dates can be a challenge to accomplish sometimes. For us, we don't have much family or friends surrounding us so finding availability is hard. Or, because I just transitioned to be a stay at home mom and income is a bit more limited, I know finances might not be there to pay for a babysitter. I get all the reasons it doesn't work.

BUT...

Haven't I given you better reasons for why you should make it work?!

If you don't have much family or friend support, make some connections and find someone in a nanny group or at church. If finances are low, try a babysitting share with another couple or two, that you can rotate with for dates. Point is, find a way! I know that's easier said than done but if something is important to you, you'll make it happen.

Ryan and I don't go out on dates as often as we used to, but we try to when we can. And if we can't, we make a special date at home, after Roman goes to sleep. Sometimes we'll get excited throughout the week and talk about a Friday night in. We'll collaborate on what yummy dinner we're going to cook up and some snuggle time on the back porch.

The more time I'm a mom, and I see how much harder you must work at your marriage in some seasons, I see the value in being intentional in loving my husband.

Here's what I'm asking you today: how are you doing at loving on your husband? What could you do to be intentional in showing him attention? And how can you get some more dates in?

Marriage is a beautiful gift from the Lord; the closest representation we have of a union between Christ and the Church. God's design for all marriages is that they would flourish and be a place of intimacy. And the wonderful thing is that as you model a godly marriage in front of your kids, they will grow up to be humans with healthier relationships. Your kids don't suffer as a result of the time and energy you pour into the marriage; they will flourish under the love and safety a healthy marriage cultivates.