Summer Lovin' - Free Summer Date Night Bucket List Download

There's something about summer that makes me all excited for date night! The list of things that I want to do as a family and a couple this summer is ridiculously long. On its own, it would be hard for us to accomplish between now and the end of September. Add to it Joe's busy lawn care schedule, the fact that we both also work full time jobs, and the need to reorganize our house in preparation for the new baby, and I'm pretty sure we'll barely make a dent in it. Oh well, more for us to enjoy next year, right?!

Summer is full of so many fun possibilities and the weather makes me wish that I wasn't an adult with a job and responsibilities that keep me from being outside enjoying the sun and the fresh air all day, every day. I have a goal this summer to make as many of our date nights as possible, outdoor date nights. It's going to be a bit of a challenge, for one because we have a toddler with a set schedule which makes it more difficult to do something spontaneous or that lasts all day and for two, because outside has mosquitoes, especially at night when we are home and that presents a risk for the Zika virus, which I definitely cannot risk getting right now. I'm always up for a challenge though, and I'm determined to make it happen! You can follow along on Instagram to see how we do with that goal and what date activities help us reach it.

 

 

If you're stumped on what to do for date night this summer, sign up above and get access to over 25 fun ideas that I came up with for you! I promise they're not the generic ones that you'll find on every list available when you google summer date night ideas. I really took the time to come up with fun, clever and creative things to do. I also gave some ideas for how to adjust some of the date night activities to fit some of the most common challenges that people have told me they face when it comes to making date night happen. And if there's an idea on there that sounds really fun, but you aren't sure how to make it fit your situation, send me an e-mail! I'd love to help you brainstorm and find a way to make it work! 

Free download with over 25 ideas for fun date nights this summer!

I believe that scheduling a regular date night and spending time, just the two of you, is one of the top ways to make your marriage relationship a priority! No matter what your stage in life, being intentional with your date nights will provide you with much needed quality time to connect and get back to the roots of your relationship. Going on dates and getting to know each other through the fun things that you did helped you fall in love. Keeping up the tradition and dating each other throughout your entire marriage will help keep that spark alive and make your marriage stronger.

What is your favorite summer date night activity? Do you have a date that you go on annually when the weather is warm?

How Important and Intentional is Date Night in Your Marriage?

Now that I'm done with school, I have lots of time to work on all of the projects that I've been putting off. I've been deep cleaning, organizing and decluttering our house, figuring out the rest of our decor so that I can continue the Create a Home series here on the blog, spending lots of time with family and friends and working on a few personal projects that I've wanted to get done. In addition to that, I've been spending a bit of time working on things for this blog space. I feel like there is so much that I want to do to maximize this space and provide the most value to all of you, but so little time to implement it all. What I need is two weeks without any responsibilities so that I can go to town and get everything done. But because I strive for a good life balance, instead I give myself half an hour to an hour each day to work on the things that involve this space. I'll get caught up eventually, but as you can tell, I'm trying to catch up on a lot of different life things at once, so it may be a slow and steady race. (And is anyone ever really caught up?)

In addition to creating content for this blog space, sending out more newsletters with freebies and additional content, and interacting with all of you in the comments and on social media, I'm working on something big that will launch later this year. It's something that has been in the works for almost a year now, but that has been set aside due to other priorities that have had to come first. Now that I have the time, I have been back to brainstorming, organizing and putting content together for my first book! I hope to make this book a valuable resource for couples in every stage of life. The goal of the book is to help married couples find a way to make date night happen on a regular basis and have those date nights be more intentional so that they are not only providing quality time but relationship strengthening and memory making opportunities. It will be filled with date night ideas, tips, research based information, freebies, and other resources that will get you excited to make date night more of a priority in your marriage.

As I start diving into the content creation, I have a lot of ideas and things that I want to cover, but I would also like to get some feedback from all of you! Below is a quick, eight question survey to help me get a better idea of what challenges and strengths you and your spouse have when it comes to date night. Don't forget to join the mailing list at the end to receive exclusive sneak peeks at content and a special discount when the book launches.

As a thank you for participating in this survey, one lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway will close June 5 and the winner will be notified by e-mail June 6. They will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize before a new winner is chosen. This giveaway is not associated with Typeform or Amazon.

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Are Your Spouse's Endeavors a Priority for You Too?

You all know that I have been in school the entire five and a half years of mine and Joe's relationship. I started my degree two months before we met and just recently graduated, a year and a half before our five year wedding anniversary. Joe has been running a lawn care business since he was a teenager, but he set that aside for two years to serve an LDS mission. When he got home, he met me and four months later, got the ball rolling to start his lawn care business over from scratch. Throughout our relationship, we each have invested our time and energy into other things that we are passionate about. I've had this blog and Joe has seriously considered quite a few entrepreneurial endeavors. The great thing about marriage is that you can still go after your own dreams, but rather than doing it on your own, with the support of those around you, you get to work toward your goals and dreams as a team, with those around you to support the both of you.

Individual Goals become Couple Goals

Last week I was interviewing Deidre of Deidre Emme for the Wives to Watch in Every Stage of Life series and she talked about this exact thing. She mentioned how so many people always tell her that they admire her for being a baseball wife and supporting her husband from afar during baseball season. As we were talking, she said something that really resonated with me, especially with this post that had been on my mind for a while. Deidre mentioned that while Adam's baseball career is something that he began pursuing long before he met her, it has become something that they are pursuing together. Achieving that goal is as important to Deidre as it is to Adam, and no matter how hard it might be for them to be apart so many months of the year, if he ever quit, it would be as disappointing for her as it would be for him. Baseball is something that the two of them are doing together, just like Deidre's pageants, blogging and more are something that they both do together.

The same is true for things that Joe and I decide to pursue as individuals. I may have been the one going to classes, doing homework, taking tests and walking across the stage at graduation, but it was as much an accomplishment for Joe as it was for me. He supported me the entire way, encouraged me to keep going and never give up, an helped make it possible for me to get my degree without going into debt. Joe is the one who mows lawns, purchases equipment, hires his crew, etc. but we're both in it together. Whenever he has a decision to make about Mow Joe, he discusses it with me and asks me what he should do.

Are you and your spouse involved with each other's passions? Because you can and should be making the things that they care about a priority, even if it's something that you aren't interested in personally. I dread yard work and am not going to complain about never "getting" to mow my own lawn. There are still plenty of things that I can do to support Joe in everything that he does. I can be there for him to bounce ideas off of, and I can help him do other things with the business like write an employee manual, set schedules for aeration or weekly lawn care services, and I've told him that I will do the books for him this year because I know that's his least favorite part of the business. You don't have to go out and run a marathon with your spouse or get up early every morning to help them train, but you can get up and fix them a good post-run breakfast, make sure their workout clothes are always clean, and be there to cheer them on and greet them as they cross the finish line.

Earlier this week, I joined Elyse from Just Murrayed and a few other wives in a collaboration post. In that post I said that "marriage can tie you down, if you aren't willing to support each other in the things that you want to do. But marriage will open doors that weren't previously available to you because you have someone who is invested in your future, as an individual and as a couple, and who will push you to be your best and live your dreams!" Be that person in your marriage by not only supporting your spouse in their endeavors but by doing everything that you can to help them achieve their dreams. Those goals aren't just theirs, they are yours as well!

What is something that your spouse is passionate about? What are you doing or what can you be doing to make their goal a priority for yourself as well?

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Have Kids

Before Joe and I decided to have kids, we thought about a lot of things. Had we done everything on our list that we wanted to do before kids? Were our finances where we wanted them to be and did we have extra money saved up for emergencies? What kind of limitations would having a baby put on our current work, school and life schedules and did we have a plan in place for working around the things that are unchangeable? This list goes on. There are so many things to consider when you're ready to add kids to your family. Kids change everything in a big way, but that change is definitely a good one.

Three things to talk about together before you have kids

22 Ways to Increase the Intimacy in Your Marriage

A couple of months ago, I shared a secret to increased intimacy in your marriage. Intimacy as in the close like, know and trust in your spouse because intimacy is so much more than the physical that everyone thinks about when they hear the word. I was listening to the One Extraordinary Marriage podcast a while back and Tony and Alisa were talking about the different types of intimacy in a marriage; emotional, intellectual, spiritual, recreational, financial and physical. I hadn't thought about how each of these areas contribute to the strength of your relationship and the overall intimacy (like, know and trust) in your marriage. But how do you work on your intimacy in each of areas? Don't worry, I have some ideas for you below!

Tips for Increased Intimacy in Marriage

Emotional Intimacy

  • Sit down and draw out your dream home together. Talk about all of your "must haves", what you want your master suite to look like and where you're hoping to live.
  • Pick up a copy of Tony and Alisa's Connect Like You Did When You First Met. Joe and I got this book and went through it a little bit earlier this year. I need to pull it out again. Asking each other one question a night will help you connect and discuss things on a deeper level than you might have normally.
  • Start a tradition of weekly family/couple meetings and use that time to not only coordinate your plans for the week, but talk about the things that you've been thinking lately. Don't hold back! You can't increase your emotional intimacy without being vulnerable with each other.
  • Take Couple Check-up and go through the discussion guide together. It will help you find the areas of your relationship that could use a little fine tuning. Check out this post for a code that will let one of you take the check-up for free.

Intellectual Intimacy

  • Learn something together! Take a community class, take continuing education at a local college, or pick up a book from the bookstore about a topic that you're both interested in.
  • Research a mutual hobby that you have. If you like to grill like Joe and I, watch YouTube videos, research rubs and sauces, create a new recipe, etc. Maybe you're planting a garden for the first time this year; find out everything that you can about the things that you are growing and successful gardening in general.
  • Read a book togther, fiction or non-fiction. Take turns reading a chapter together every night and talk about it after you're finished. I know a few couples who get two copies of the same book, read it separately and then sit down and discuss the book at the end. It's kind of like a mini book club! You might even have the person who picked the book come up with questions to talk about together. (Couples book club idea from Meredith Tuttle)

Spiritual Intimacy

  • Find a couple's devotional to go through together. I like The Love Dare (aff), do you have any other favorites?
  • Study the scriptures together. Work your way through them chapter by chapter, study scriptures on specific topics or study based on different stories.
  • Pray together.
  • Attend church services together weekly and discuss the things you learned over lunch afterward.

Recreational Intimacy

  • Find something active that you like to do together. Joe and I like to go on long walks with Bensen and Howie. Maybe you like to go to the gym together, go on hikes every weekend, go on a family bike ride or buy roller blades and hold hands while you skate around the neighborhood.
  • Add some culture to your date nights. Go to the opera, a play, see a musical, attend a concert, or visit a local museum. 
  • Every other date night, do something a little more active than dinner and a movie. Go on a hike, go bowling, play mini golf, go skiing, etc.

Financial Intimacy

Physical Intimacy

  • Make your good-bye, hello and good night kisses last ten seconds every day.
  • Hold hands while you watch TV, when you're out on a date, in the car, on your walks, and as you fall asleep at night.
  • Give each other a long hug every day, for no other reason than just to hug.
  • Show affection in front of your children, this study says that it's good for their health.

When you think about intimacy in your marriage, remember that there's more to it than what happens in the bedroom. The definition has a lot more depth to it than what the media and the rest of the world might tell us there is. Increasing your intimacy in each of the six areas listed above will help to create a better, stronger and more intimate marriage.

What other things do you and your spouse do to increase intimacy in these six areas?