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20 Original Date Ideas

Posted in him

I seem to be all about the list posts these days, haha.

J’s birthday is two days before Valentine’s Day, so that means we plan or balance around birthday plans. This year, his birthday and Valentine’s Day book-end a weekend. We have a good bit going on this weekend, unexpected and nice, but it means our Valentine’s celebrating might look a little unconventional. And it can be marvelous if we let it!

While it’s great to drab up and go out, the unconventional dates can be some of the most special. Would you agree?

How about these….

  1. Ice Cream Outing
  2. Photo Session (I’d love to do this someday.)
  3. Zoo Or Aquarium
  4. Take A Hike
  5. Farmer’s Market Visit
  6. Brunch Date
  7. Alumni High School Sporting Event
  8. Make Homemade Something (Bread, ice cream, pizza, etc.)
  9. Restaurant You’ve Never Visited Before
  10. Dancing Class
  11. A Night Away (We did this for our first Valentine’s day, a staycation of sorts, and it was super sweet.)
  12. Shopping Trip (We’re decorating bits and pieces of our home, and it’s fun to pick out items together.)
  13. Fun Exercise (A pick up game of soccer is sometimes our weekend gig, or a bike ride.)
  14. Snacks + Show Marathon
  15. Road Trip To See Friends or Family
  16. Wander Around A Bookstore
  17. Have A Living Room Campout
  18. People Watching (We like to eat dinner somewhere, and then hit the mall for a milkshake and people watching.)
  19. Go On A Photography Adventure (We like these. It’s mostly for me, but he enjoys my silliness.)
  20. Picnic Somewhere You’ve Never Been

This weekend we have a brunch date that will consist of creating waffle masterpieces. J then has plans for most of the day with his dad, and he has hinted at a fun dinner spot.

What are your Valentine’s plans? Date night out with the girls? A fun adventure with your guy?

The Best Way I Can Love My Spouse

Posted in him, relationships

This is long one, guys. Many thoughts. I hope you stick it out with me.

First things first: I am relentlessly and unconditionally loved by God, and have all I will ever need in Him.

Granted, we all were created with a desire/need for love by other humans. But when I expect from my husband what only God can give or be for me, the days are going to be slightly dreary. I’ll continually be disappointed, easily annoyed, and probably not very kind.

Within the first 6-8 months of our marriage, reality set in, graciously. Some of my expectations were:

  • Expecting J to instinctively know how I was feeling.
  • Expecting love to be a natural response instead of a fruit of the Spirit that must be chosen and cultivated.
  • Thinking he would eat, live, and breathe romance. (Although the man is sweet.)
  • Thinking that he would think like me. (I think more like him now, and I’m thankful.)

Taking him and myself too seriously, my righteousness becoming my marriage and not Christ’s work, holding him under standards set by me.  Poor guy, what an impossible burden for him.

Being that we are married, there is a certain healthy expectation of each other. For example, I expect J to be protective of me. I expect him to love me through my ridiculousness, to desire my companionship, and to be in my corner. He expects me to pray for him, to care about what’s going on in his day, to support him. A beautiful union.

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Do You Want Laundry Or Yard Work?

Posted in him

“Love is such an active process, and we are fairly lazy. So initiate. Then when you come together, initiate depth. Great conversations come from great questions and honest answers. Become someone who does both well. One of the ways I grow and experience God is over Mexican food with kindred friends talking about deep things.” J.A.

We walked in the door last night and I said, “You know what I really want to do? Take a bath and relax.”

And my husband? He said, “I think that sounds great.” (I then hugged him so tight.)

Clothes were in the dryer, folded on top of the dryer, and in the hamper to go in the washing machine. Clean dishes wanted to come out of the dishwasher, and there was a couple things sitting in the sink.

While I enjoyed the quiet, unhurried time, J completed all of these tasks, dishes and laundry and cleaning.

This morning we had a conversation about household tasks (paraphrased):

“I grew up with my dad handling all the outside tasks, and mom the inside. My natural bent is to handle the yard work and exterior work, but how does that sound to you? I want to know your expectations, etc. Would you rather me help with the small interior tasks on a regular basis or be aware of when you’re overwhelmed and get a complete night off? (Like last night.)”

We talked about it for a good 20 minutes, sharing our hearts and thoughts, being kind and honest.

I then recalled the above quote. Great conversations come from great questions and honest answers.

I’m thankful for a husband who initiates conversation with me, one who asks what I think about, what I expect, what I want, etc. It’s conversations like these that help us truly learn about each other as we continue to live and become one. We listen and love and extend grace the best we can. It won’t always be perfect, or easy, but I’m thankful the desire is there. 

PS – It was amazing how much I craved to simply sit; no book, no phone, no decision, no task. I relaxed, prayed, I let my mind wander to wherever it wanted to go.

— How do you and your husband divvy up ‘chores?’

Animals, Sabbath, and Prayer

Posted in him, lifestyle

What a weekend!

We had friends come stay Friday night with us. We ate pizza and caught up on life and it was marvelous. We also indulged in delicious homemade cookies made by another friend of ours. (We’re spoiled, we know.)

Saturday J and I spent the day at the zoo! I probably haven’t visited one since I was in elementary school, and even as an adult it was fun. (Part of me thinks it was because I was with my husband, not just because I wanted to see the lions.)

We had some fun adventures on Saturday, and it was much-needed quality time for us. (Thank you to my sister-in-law for gifting us with the tickets.)

Sunday was full of good conversation, family, food, and rest. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a Sabbath day.

I went for a run down a familiar road, stopped multiple times outside my parent’s house to smell the flowers, and finished a book sitting next to the fire.

Everyone has heard of the attacks on Paris by now, and I couldn’t help but stay glued to my Bible the morning I heard. Reading about the peace God gives, His Sovereignty. Asking His help to trust that He is in control, that He isn’t surprised about the day’s happenings, that He knows each and every heart. Asking Him to help me not live fearful, to intentionally pray for the people affected, the families who lost loved ones, and the government itself.

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I read a quote recently,

“What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them.” Emily P. Freeman

I looked down this morning overcome with gratitude over a simple thing like socks and boots. Thankful for a home to welcome people into, for family to laugh and eat with, for a husband to talk and pray with, for the mercy in a new day, and for a loving Father who is never far.

The presence of Christ. With us always. That truth changes everything.

I ask Him to continue to root truth deep inside me, so I am not shaken, so I do not doubt or fear, so I freely extend love and compassion.

— How was your weekend?

Loving My Husband When We’re Both Busy And Worn Out

Posted in him

You know the weeks — there’s something to attend or do every single night, there’s laundry and dishes that need to get done, the days are long, and the evenings are spent catching up in tidbits. These weeks aren’t bad; they’re common and regular. It’s not that we don’t laugh or talk or kiss, but by Friday I feel weary and numb almost. There are so many tasks I want to do that will make me feel better: wash the dishes, do the laundry, vacuum, etc, but then I’m almost unmotivated to do any of it because I want to only rest and have some fun (and to have some uninterrupted time to look into my man’s eyes and talk and hang out with him). On the way to work this morning I was taking inventory of the week — how I reacted, how I responded, what I was thinking, etc. Do I love J well even in the busy, mundane weeks? How do I prioritize in the midst of a week like this?  How better can I be? (Attitude, demeanor, thoughts.)

Loving J when the week is busy and we’re both worn out….

— Flirting with him. Even if it’s simple and small, it makes us both smile.

— Praying together. Whether it’s a short dinner prayer or one as we are falling asleep. The reality that we are continually praying for each other is a strengthening thing.

— Thinking before I speak. When I’m stressed or tired or overwhelmed, I am moody. Which usually results in a particular tone of voice that isn’t kind. Taking a couple minutes before I speak, or walking into another room to ask out loud, “God help me not be horrible, help me love.” (this happens with me)

— Telling him how thankful I am for him. He is a wonderful person. He works diligently, he seeks wisdom, he takes care of me, and he serves wholeheartedly. He’s not perfect, but he deserves to know how grateful I am for him, how much I admire and respect him.

— Serving him. Sometimes with this one I have to ask, ‘How can I help you with this?’ Other times, like last night, it was about presence. We got home from a quick dinner out, and he had some work to do that he wasn’t terribly excited about. Instead of going and doing my own thing, I sat in there with him and read. Being in the same room together, me occasionally asking how he was doing or if he needed anything, was quality time (even though it didn’t seem like it).

Praise the Lord for grace. It meets us both where we are, it prompts us to love and kindness, and it’s cause for joy even in busy weeks.

— Have you ever been in a position like this?

— How do you handle busy, overwhelming weeks?