So this whole month of October I am celebrating being married to the man of my dreams for 10 YEARS!!!! I am writing a series of Lessons I have Learned from 10 Years of Marriage. You can read my first post on Saying “I Love You” as often as possible. The lessons I have learned have helped me in my marriage. I hope that they will encourage you in yours.
Well, we all know how a marriage gets started… By dating. You know, meeting up for casual cups of coffee that turn into hours of conversation before you realize that you never actually ordered any coffee… (Yep. That was us! Hahaha!!!) Those special arranged and planned and even spontaneous meet-ups where you got to know the person who was on your mind 24/7 and gave you butterflies when you saw them walking toward you. You know what I am talking about – DATES!
I have to tell you, I have a silly little grin on my face when I think about Jon and I when we were dating. We were kids in college and crazy, head-over-heels for each other. We pretty much couldn’t get enough time together. (and we actually barely had any time together since both of us were in school full time and working full time. But we made it work!)
Fast forward a few years and we got married. And being newlyweds was awesome because it was just us! And fast forward a few more years and we had a kid, and then another kid, and then another kid, and then three more kids were added to our family in ONE year! Add to all the kids that Jon is working more that full-time starting churches, running missions, and organizing community events. Let’s just say finding time together ALONE to focus on ourselves is not as easy anymore.
It took us a few years to figure out what we now know. We can totally DATE IN THE BACKYARD!!! (or in the car, or in the living room during a snowstorm, or anywhere for that matter.)
A date doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner and a movie out. Dating is all about getting to know the person you love. Finding out those little details and nuances that make you fall so much more in love. It’s about being together and enjoying life. Once I realized this concept our relationship went to a whole new level!
When we sit in the backyard and date, the kids are running all around us. They interrupt our conversation and sometimes demand attention. But that’s okay. It’s our life. It’s part of who we are as a couple. Some of the best conversations and moments we have had in our marriage has been sitting in the backyard with a fire our little backyard fire pit burning and our kids playing in the dirt.
Here is the MOST important part of dating in the backyard, or anywhere for that matter… YOU MUST PUT DOWN THE ELECTRONIC DEVICES!!!! I promise you can pick it up in just an hour or two. It will be okay without you. Forget the dishes in the sink, ladies. Take a break from the Fantasy Football league, men. It will be okay. I promise.
Jon and I have dreamed some pretty big things while dating, and laughed until we cried, and shared deep and personal stories that we have never shared with anyone else. Taking moments in everyday life to connect as a couple and “Date” will make your marriage strong. You will realize that the bad day your husband is having is really not about you not having the laundry done. It’s about him needing support while dealing with a huge problem at work. And the irrational emotional day you are having won’t be so irritating to him because he will understand that this is the anniversary of the day you lost someone important to you.
I highly recommend dating in the backyard. I know it has changed my marriage!
Ps. Where do you have unconventional dates with your spouse/partner?