Marriage is a beautiful thing.  It was intricately designed by God to support you when you experience weak moments and give you an intimacy with another person deeper than you can fathom.  However, too many times marriage is taken for granted.  Approximately half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. We need to change our mentality as a society.  We need to value marriage and treat it as the precious gift that it is.

Seeing as how we are leading up to Valentine’s Day on Friday, I figured I would write about a topic in which I am passionate – Date Night!

Tim and I got married in 2005, but our ‘dating’ never ended.  Every Friday night we have a date night.  This is a time where we set everything aside (phones, email, computers, etc) and just focus on us.  Our dates don’t have to be very expensive; sometimes, a movie and some Chinese food while curled up on the couch.  Other times, we chose to get all dressed up and go out to dinner.  It doesn’t really matter what we do, as long as we are focusing on each other.

With the addition of our son in 2011, Date Night has gained even more importance.  Anyone with kids can attest to the fact that they take up every second of every day.  You and your spouse are physically in the same place at the same time, yet you rarely feel like you get to ‘see’ each other, let alone talk and connect with one another.  Date nights allow us time to reconnect, slow down, and just relax, while enjoying each other’s company.

So, here are some great dates (both with and without the little tikes) =)

1.  Netflix night – pop some easy-to-make food in the oven (my favorite is pizza), or order takeout, and relax with some instant movie fun.  This is good for Family Date Nights.  Let the kids choose first.  Mom and dad can curl up to a good drama later.

2. Comedy Club – This was a favorite of ours in our pre-kid days.  Laugher really is the best thing for the heart (medically and emotionally speaking).

3.  Northpark Mall – There is ALWAYS something interesting going on at Northpark.  They usually have sculptures or things made out of cans (for the canned food drive).  My favorite was the playhouse exhibit last year.

4.  Go to the zoo!

5.  Go to rummage sales – You never know what you might find.  It is always fun to treasure hunt!

6. Take a day-trip.  – Ok, so this one costs a bit more money, but what a wonderful bonding experience.  You don’t have to go far.  Perhaps to  a town you have never visited before.  Small towns are often great places to find that hole-in-the-wall diner with AMAZING food.  Then go window shopping or check out a local attraction.  Most towns have something they are proud of, and quite often it will cost you nothing to go.

7.  Have portraits taken – When was the last time you had your picture taken?  I am not suggesting this just because I am a photographer.  We had our engagement pictures and 5th anniversary pictures taken, and they were so much fun.  It really felt like we were on a date both times.  But with these ‘dates’, we had some wonderful photographs to cherish for years to come.

Feel free to leave comments on here about your favorite date night ideas.  I would love to hear what you come up with.

Keep looking out for future posts of Secrets of a Great Marriage, and if you have any suggestions for future posts, please send me an email.  And, just because no post is complete without some pretty pictures, here you go! =)  These were just a few from Holly & Jason’s wedding.

Fossil Creek Country Club Wedding Fossil Creek Country Club Wedding Fossil Creek Country Club Wedding

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