The Beginner's Guide to Dating Your Spouse
"Hopeless romantic." That's a good description of me. I have always dreamed of my husband riding in on some majestic animal or in a fast car, literally sweeping me off me feet, and traveling off into the sunset together for a life of marital bliss. My husband is not so much this type. He tries to be romantic, he really does, but it's just not who he is.
In the five years we have been married, I have dropped hints, tagged him passive aggressively in Facebook posts about spontaneous, dreamy date ideas, and even outright pleaded with him just to plan one ultra-creative and romantic date. Invariably he wants me to tell him exactly what I want (doesn't he know that defeats the whole purpose of him planning the date?).
I eventually realized that if I wanted quality date time with him that didn't involve Netlfix and chilling every single night for the rest of our lives, I would have to do some work. I can't expect my husband to change his whole personality - that's unrealistic and borderline insane to expect. Since I am the romantic one, I need to be the initiator. And not just from the prospective that I wanted to have more romance with my husband, but I believe it is both biblical and prudent to continually be pursuing our spouses. Dating your spouse from home can be a wonderful way of putting this concept into practice.
Never having been the date initiator, I needed a starting place, and a good place I found was an online date night subscription box (in case you are looking for a starting place and feeling completely out of ideas). There are several of them out there and they all average around $40.00 for a one time date box purchase. However, if you don't want to spend $40.00 just on a box filled with mostly paper, you can check out my blog for free for some ideas to get you started.
Another great source for creative ideas for your date planning is Pinterest. I love Pinterest! If you have an unlimited budget and want help planning your wedding or remodeling your home, I am your girl. Pinterest has made me your girl for this. It's filled with links to millions of recipes and event-planning ideas. Now, admittedly, Pinterest can also be a good place to get lost, especially for you husbands on here who may not be familiar with the Pinterest wormhole and are feeling ambitious. So I have also created my own Pinterest board full of brainstorming ideas I had when planning dates, which you can feel free to steal from.
There are a few guidelines I like to follow when planning dates:
Try something new! Your dates don't always have to include deep conversation. One of the best ways to bond with someone is to learn (or try) something new together as a team. Personally, my husband and I have done things such as make cheese, learn yoga, and learn to draw cartoons for our kid.
You don't have to be too serious, but don't be afraid to be intellectual, either. We had one date where we had a book club about one of our daughter's favorite bedtime stories. We did have fun with it, but we also took the book club questions seriously and tried to use our college literature skills.
Put away all phones, televisions, and children. These dates don't have to be super long and planned out, but you do need to set these boundaries.
Consider your (and your partner's) love languages when planning your dates. This will enrich your time together! One of my prominent love languages is “quality time” and my husband's is “words of affirmation.” For him, it may be a perfectly wonderful date to write each other deep and meaningful love letters, while for me I need to have interesting and unique experiences with him to feel loved. When my husband was willing to set aside his dignity and try yoga with me, I was completely blown away. It meant so much to me that he took it seriously and really gave it his full effort for me, even though yoga (or exercise in general) isn't any interest of his. The experience together is something I will always remember.
In line with the above comments: be open! Be open to doing things you wouldn't normally do, especially if they are things you know your spouse really enjoys. For one date night, I dedicated my whole evening to helping my husband complete one of his handy-man projects, even though it was a project I specifically told him before that I had no interest in being involved with.
The best part about planning dates at home with your spouse is that you can make it what you want! If you're budget conscious (like me) you literally don't have to spend a dime. You can be as creative as you want. Plan the dates together, take turns, or surprise your spouse with an awesome and thoughtful night alone at home. Use date night as a time to catch up and have a heart check, or be silly with it and have fun. The important part is that you never stop dating each other. Never stop trying. Never stop pursuing.