The Musical Date – A Date Night at Home

Date Night Doesn’t Have to be  Challenging

Need a quick date night idea for this weekend that has minimal cost and big impact.  Spend an evening creating a playlist of the songs of your marriage.  Of course, the longer you have been married the more music you have to choose from.  However, even if you have only been together for a few months this date will work for you.

Order your favorite Pizza to be delivered or grab one you can throw in the oven when you get home.  Minimize distractions (turn off the TV, set phone to Airplane Mode, lock the kids in the closet) and look through your music collection (playlists, cassette, 8 tracks, records).   Start with two songs from your days of dating and then review music in three year increments until you have a list of music that reflect different periods of your relationship.  You may have a few from your dating days, a few from your newlywed days, a few from the early years of raising children; you get the idea.  Next, start “whittling down” your list until you have 12 to 15 songs.  Once you have your songs selected download them and create a new playlist on your phone.

The act of reviewing this music will bring back memories and make for a fun evening.  Remember to keep the distractions to a minimum and spend some time thinking about where you were living and what you were doing when these songs came out.  Here are a few of ours:

Take Me Down – Alabama

Feels So Right – Alabama

Love In The First Degree – Alabama

Faithfully – Journey

Wonderful World – Sam Cook

Unforgettable – Nat King Cole

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals.

Fields of Gold – Sting

Everything – Wasis Diop

Keeper of the Stars – Tracy Byrd

World on Fire – Sarah McLaughlan

Come Away With Me – Norah Jones

Moon Dance – Carmel

Duet – Penny and Sparrow

Use the comments to share yours.

A Canoe Date

There is no easier way to go on an adventure as a couple than in a canoe.  A canoe is a floating microcosm of a close relationship. You got two people in the same boat, each equipped to move the vessel. Sometimes they glide through perfectly calm waters together.  Sometimes they are carried along by strong currents. Sometimes they are buffeted by waves. And sometimes they must make their way against the stream.

When they work together, heading towards the same destination, they can make their way through any conditions. When they try to work separately or head in different directions, things get unstable.

To illustrate the point– and to enjoy some time on the water together– plan a canoe trip for two.  We live in an area where their are many lakes.  If you have had some experiences canoeing on a lake, one of the best lakes to canoe is Lake Caddo near Jefferson.   If you have not had much experience on the water you may want to choose a place where you can easily get to shore.

How to Prepare

Ahead of time determine where you will go to rent or borrow a canoe. You will want to make sure you have safety equipment including a life vest, a small first aid kit, flashlights, a water proof container for your phone, and some food for the day. A well packed picnic lunch can be the key for a great day on the water.  Remember bug spray and sunscreen. If you are accident prone, you may also want to pack an extra change of clothes in a water tight bag.  Tie the bag to the canoe so you don’t lose it in the event the canoe tips over.  Let someone know where you will be going and when they can expect your return.

Before  your canoe date, spent some time in prayer together. Thank God for the privilege of sharing a boat with your significant other on the river of life.  Ask him to bless the time you spend together in the canoe; give you safe travels; help you work together as partners keeping your boat pointed in the right direction.

If you have not paddled before you may want to get some introductory lessons from a friend.  Be prepared to laugh as you learn to row towards a common goal and extend grace when you begin to row in a circle because someone won’t follow your instructions.  Laughing at each other is better than screaming at each other.

During the Trip

A canoe trip, especially in remote areas, is a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Look for wildlife, spend some time fishing, or simply explore tributaries in the area.  Give yourself plenty of time to make it back before dark. This is a great time to talk about your future, dream about your next vacation, or simply relax in each other’s presence.

Make sure you take some time for the picnic.  A well packed lunch with plenty of hydration can make all the difference in the world concerning whether you have a great day on the lake or spend the day hangry. Make sure you clean up after yourselves leaving nothing that can harm the wildlife.  A nap after a picnic is always a good idea.   You may need to use the bug repellent to create an area where you can eat and nap bug-free.

One the Way Back

On your way back spend a few minutes talking about the experience and what you will take away from it.  Use the following questions as needed to guide your discussion.

  1.  When was the last time we”paddle together” in dealing with a situation or circumstance in our relationship? What were the results?
  2. When was the last time we paddled separately? What were the results?
  3. If our relationship is a canoe, how can we keep it pointed in the direction God wants us to go?

This makes for a great all-day date and if you add a trip to Jefferson after Lake Caddo it makes an excellent weekender.  Jefferson has some great Bed and Breakfasts and there are plenty of places to eat, spend some time checking out their shops or listening to music in one of their venues.

Want some other great ideas?  Check out 52 Uncommon Dates by Randy Southern.  This date idea was adapted from that book.

Time Spent Together

Last week we discussed date night.  This week I want to expand on the idea of spending time together each week focused on one another.  Here is the question:  What is one thing you can do to remind your spouse that they are still special to you, that you do not take them for granted, and that they are an important part of your life?  Millions of marriages each week fall closer and closer to a boring, disintegrating marriage where they have become just roommates going through life together. Taking time each week to reinforce your spouse’s importance to you is time well spent.

Ideas:

-Write a letter telling your spouse how much you love her or why you respect him.

-Buy a card that says it all or make your own that shares your heart’s desire.

-The classics never die, bring home some flowers.

-Purchase glow in the dark stars and put them on the ceiling.  Later, make love under the stars.

-Take your wife on a weekend adventure.  Bring your spouse into your world.  Give your spouse the gift of time.

  • Camp in a local park, campground, state park, etc.
  • Rent canoes, kayaks, or paddle-boards and explore the local lake.
  • Go on a hike or walk in a local park or sanctuary.
  • Walk the local arboretum or go to the zoo.
  • Get in the car, drive to a new place, stop somewhere along the way and have a picnic.

Remember:

Guys, remember…women often need the gift of attention, listening and sharing.

Women, remember…men need the gift of friendship, encouragement, presence and sexual intimacy.

Date nights and time spent together each week should reflect your willingness to serve your spouse in a way that is important to them.

Resources:

If you go on outings and have trouble thinking of something to talk about, find a list of conversation starters on the internet.  Make small cards with each topic, put all the topics in a bowl, and choose one to discuss over dinner or desert or while driving.  Here is one I found that has a gabizilion tons  (technical measurement) of questions.

Finally, if you are having trouble coming up with ideas on your own, simply ask each other what you would enjoy doing together.  In fact, this can be your first date night conversation.  Make a list of those things that would be special to you or your spouse and refer back to it as needed.  Remember, neither of you are  a mind reader so it is important to give your spouse the gift of insight into your heart.  Don’t expect they will just know what you want.  Open up and share.

Keeping the Love Alive

Eight thousand five hundred and forty-four.  That is how many hours you will find in three out of every four years. No matter how much you “manage” your time the best you can hope for is to better manage the choices you make in the time you have been given.  One investment of your time that will always have excellent returns is investing in date nights.  Early in a relationship this is not much of an issue but as the size of the family increases, discretionary funds decrease and job demands press for more of your time, you may find it a challenge to think of creative date ideas to try.  

This week I would like to share some ideas created by some of the women on our team.  Karen Vaughan and Nancy O’Sullivan put on their thinking caps and have provided you 20+ great date ideas that vary based on interests, budget and time.  Look over these ideas and check back periodically as we add more to the list.  A couple of things to think about before I give you the link:

  1. Date night is really about intimacy.  While you certainly want some fun and romance, date night offers you the opportunity to “catch up” with your spouse.  This often means spending some time just talking about the challenges of the day, week or month.  Ryan & Selena Frederick at www.fiercemarriage.com engage every week in one of two activities; highs and lows or heart checks.  Highs and lows consist of simply answering the questions; What was the best part of your week and what was the lowest part of your week?  The heart check consist of answering three questions:  1.  What book is in your hand?; 2.  What voice is in your ear (what are you listening to)? ; 3.  What’s moving on your heart?  These questions allow you and your spouse to engage in a deeper level of conversation than the passing conversation that makes up much of our communication.  Who’s taking the kids to dance and what time will dinner be ready may give important planning information, but it does not increase intimacy.  If you are having trouble thinking of things to talk about, you are not alone.  However, simply do a search for date night discussion topics and you will literally find hundreds of questions to use as starters for conversations.  
  2. Date night needs to be planned.  Your first date night conversation may include the following questions:
    1. How often should we have date night?
    2. Who should do the planning for date night?
    3. Should we always go alone or should we sometimes invite another couple?
    4. Can we work with another couple to coordinate child care?
    5. What are the limits on date nights?  Are movies OK?  Should we turn off the technology? etc.
  3. Date night needs to be protected.  Once you have set the boundaries make a schedule, put it in your calendar and then protect it at all costs.  Many things will try to pry you away from this time.  Many of those things will be “good” things like extended family, church events, etc.  In the famous words of Nancy Reagan, former First Lady, just say no.  Make sure date night remains one of those things that you put first in regards to how you spend your time.  

OK, enough build-up.  If you would like some great date night ideas click here.  Good luck and I hope you get some new ideas for dates.   BTW, if you would like to add some of your own ideas for others to try, please feel free to add them in the comments below or e-mail them to me at threestrandmin@gmail.com