Friday, April 29, 2011

"In a Sense Every Wedding is
a Royal Wedding..."

Prince William, Kate Middleton and The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
I did not intend to wake up before dawn this day to watch the Royal Wedding, but as chance would have it my sweet baby woke up hungry an hour earlier than normal.  I figured since I was up, I might as well turn it on.  It is history in the making after all.  
I am so very glad that I did too.  Yes, it was exciting to get the first glimpse of Princess Catherine's dress and to see the Royal couples first kiss, but I could have seen that later in the day on the news recaps.  What made it worthwhile was listening to The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speak.  I doubt that many will cover his endearing homily on marriage so I thought I should share it with you here.  He gives very relevant words of wisdom not only to Prince William and Princess Catherine, but to the entire world of couples that are and couples to be.  I have enclosed it below and highlighted my favorite parts for you.  
Here is the full transcript of The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' Homily:
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.
Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.
In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.
William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.
A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.
It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.
You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.
We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.
Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:
“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”
As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.
As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.
I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.     

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Date Night:
How to Kill Time & Not Kill the Date

Last night was Ramy's turn to plan our date night.  A friend of his offered us passes to see Tony Bennett at the new Austin City Limits Moody Theatre (which is beautiful I should add).  At first I thought these tickets would be better suited for a date with my grandmother, but as the night unfolded I was glad I didn't stomp my feet and demand something more contemporary (not that I would ever do that.)

When I asked him what time the show was Ramy said he didn't know.  So I quickly checked online and saw that it said 6:30pm.  I figured perhaps it was an earlier show for the geriatric crowd (no offense).  Ramy got home from work around 4, and I quickly gave him a list of things to do so we could both be dressed and ready, have the kids diaper bags packed for the sitter, both kids strapped in their car seats, and all out the door in one hour.

By the time we dropped the kids off, we had less than an hour to battle traffic and get to the show.  And since we were both hungry and not up for waiting til after the show to eat dinner, Ramy recommended stopping for what he likes to call Gourmet Express also known as the P Terry's Drive Thru.  We both ordered a burger and fries and ate in the car while trying to find the best and least expensive parking option downtown hoping we wouldn't be too late for the show.

When we got to the Will Call booth to claim our tickets, it was clear we were in fact not late but over an hour early.  Apparently the 6:30 time I saw online was the time doors opened...oops.  All that rush for nothing.  Thankfully Ramy is pretty laid back and wasn't upset about the unnecessary hustle and bustle.

Having time to kill is something I happen to really enjoy.  I looked around for a short time and leaned over and whispered with my Elle Woods enthusiasm, "Lets play a game!  How bout Snaps is the Name of the Game?"  After one round, he clearly wasn't into it.  That didn't work.  "Okay then," I said, "How bout another game... Name 20 Tom Hanks movies in 2 minutes, GO."

"Are there even 20 Tom Hanks movies?"

"Are you kidding me?" I replied

He decided to humor me... "Money Pit. (pause) Big. (pause) Forrest Gump. (longer pause) Sleepless in Seattle. (Zoning out)"

I promptly took over, "Philadelphia, Toy Story, Splash, Turner and Hooch, Joe Versus the Volcano, Green Mile,  Catch Me If You Can, Apollo 13, That Thing You Do, What's that one where he is on an island all by know WILLLLSONNN...oh Cast Away...What about the one where he was stuck at the airport?"  We both couldn't figure it out.  (But I remembered later that night when I couldn't sleep that it was The Terminal.)  By this point though it was clear that I was playing this game by myself.

I switched gears, "Do you want to play the quarter game? You know the one where you drop a quarter and take bets on who you think will pick it up?" The 'I've fallen and I can't get up' joke was inevitable.  Just as I slyly dropped my quarter, the nearby usher quickly ran over, picked it up and handed to me, "I think you dropped this miss."

"Don't you just like to people watch?" Ramy asked. "Lets play the game where we narrate what people are thinking."  I rolled my eyes. I am worse at that game than Ramy is at playing guess 20 Tom Hanks movies.

That's when I had an idea.  I grabbed my iPhone, choose the camera app, and we spent the next 20 minutes laughing and taking silly pictures with each other.  When in doubt, get the camera out!

Before we knew it the lights dimmed, and Tony Bennett changed my mind about this being a senior citizens concert.  It was definitely a show everyone should go see.  He is certainly one of the last living legends of his era.  The highlight you ask?  When he sang Charlie Chaplin's of my favorite songs.  Overall it was a date for the memory book, and I have plenty of pictures to show for it.  We had a fantastic time!

Coming this Afternoon

I can't wait to tell you about my date last night.

Ramy and I went to see Tony Bennett.  He truly is a legend.

Details to come this afternoon (during the kiddos naptime).

As for now I am off to play with my boys!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tried & True: Karin & Brandon

By Karin W.
Brandon and I were married in 2000, and I have to confess something before I go much further; I was an awesome wife... before I got married that is.  I had no model for what a marriage looked like -  I was raised on Pretty Woman for Pete's sake.  As you can imagine, my fantasy world was quickly shattered before the ink even had time to dry on our marriage licence.  I thought to myself, "Boy, I've got my work cut out for me with this guy!" 

I am convinced that while marriage is one of THE BEST blessings God gave us, it's also one of the hardest.  You have to surrender and mold into the "oneness" and in our case that took a lot of years, tears, and disappointment.  God quickly points out your brokenness and failures as you dive into the waters of marriage.  We've had a lot of ups and downs in our relationship, with our kids, life threatening diseases, family drama, etc., etc.  We've had it all.  Finally around year 6-7 (yep, you read that right!), we hit a good stride. I think that's the point in which I quit praying for God to change him and started asking God to change me. 

One area that has been the biggest hurdle for me is expectation.  Because of all those great John Hughes movies I had these stupid and unrealistic expectations of what a romance was like.   On top of all that, Brandon hates big events because he feels pressured (probably because of me!) to "get it right".  It's been a bad cycle with us and I've allowed this unrealistic expectation to totally blow up well meaning plans for us (engagement, honeymoon, countless birthdays, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.).

Year ten is a milestone, and so of course, the expectations were high - even though I swore I wasn't going to fall into that pit again.  How many 10 year anniversaries will I ever have?  With 3 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat and activities that keep us apart literally 4 nights out of 7, I wanted something HUGE for us besides the same movie night via Netflix on the sofa again. 

It had been 6 years since we had an overnight date alone without the kids because one of our kids has a disease that is life threatening.  A girlfriend of mine offered to let us stay at her uber hip downtown condo for the night, and she would sleep over at our house.  I thought, "Wow, this is perfect; we wont' be too far in case there is an emergency, and we won't have to spend money!  I'll plan everything so I don't put any expectations on Brandon this year, and I won't be disappointed".  So I plan it and then the week of our date my friend gets sick and has to cancel.  I was heartbroken, but what could I do?  We decided to reschedule, and the next available option was 4 months later.  At this point I'm still hanging on to my "10 Year Anniversary" dream date, so I don't even care that's its 4 months later. I'm on a mission to fulfill this crazy fantasy that "I'll only have once in my lifetime!" (totally forgot I wasn't going to fall into the expectation trap again!).

This past Friday was the big night and I was so excited.  I cut my hair, got it colored, put on make-up, wore grown up clothes (not my "mom clothes").  Girlfriend came over, Brandon came home early, and we booked it.  I think there was even marks left on the drive way from the tires.

We grab an awesome dinner at my favorite Japanese steakhouse and then head downtown to catch the sunset.  We get to the condo, park in the parking garage, then go upstairs for wine and dessert.  About an hour or so later we decide we want to walk a little downtown and people watch so we head to our car so I can grab something, but we notice that the car is not there.  I laughed at first because I thought Brandon was messing with me, but the look on his face quickly made all my giggles leave. We go upstairs and I call my girlfriend and tell her our car is missing.  She calls the front desk of her condo and then calls us back.  Turns out our car was towed and now we had to hunt it down on a Friday night in Austin, Texas.  My girlfriend's parking spot was 86, but what we didn't know is that there are 4 different sections and thus 4 different 86 spots.  We were in someone else's spot and we got our car towed.  We spent the rest of our hot and fab anniversary calling JJ towing, and Brandon hitching a cab to their place and waiting for 2 hours in line to get our car back and paying $250!  While he was gone I drank more wine, baked some cookies I found in girlfriend's fridge, took a bubble bath & sent text message to Brandon.  All of a sudden Netflix was looking REALLY good to me.

I was asleep by the time he got back to the condo, but we woke up early and ate cookies for breakfast and laughed at all the stories he had from people watching at the towing place.  It was in that moment that God spoke to my heart and told me this was good.  This was us, jammies and all, and it was good.  This was our special moment of celebrating our lives together and there was laughter and joy.  Was I going to celebrate with God & Brandon in this moment or still hang on to some expectation that I had been sold as a little girl? 

I feel like God finally broke this stupid expectation within my heart.  I walk away from that date, 4 months past due and totally not at all what I had planned with a new lesson in my heart.  Unrealistic expectations in our partners is just disappointment waiting to happen.  Hopefully it won't take some of you 10 years and 4 months to learn that same lesson. 

Oh, and HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Brandon.  You are my best friend and our life together is so good! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Become a Connoisseur

Become a Connoisseur on your next date.  It's easier than you may think! 

Here's how:

1. You and your mate choose a subject you want to explore.
2. Determine your budget and try as many as you can.
3. Now compare.
4. Choose your favorite.

Disclaimer: This may not be the exact rules on how to be "THE expert" on a subject, but you will your own expert and at the end of that day that's what matters.

This date came about because Ramy & I like to determine what we think is best by seeking out our new favorite (fill in the blank.)  It is a great date because it can be planned around your circumstantial variables such as budget, time, interest, location, and even whether or not you have a babysitter.

For example:

- I love chili dogs, so one evening Ramy & I went to the grocery store and bought every kind of store made chili they had to offer.  We probably spent a total of $20 between hot dogs, buns, and 7 different chili cans.  When we got home, we took out all the pots we had & made each can of chili (remembering which can belonged to which pot). Then we each took a tsp and tried each pot of chili.  All you need is a bite to really decipher what you like...(it wasn't like we ate 7 cans of chili between the two of us) We took a vote and now forever know how to make our favorite (easy grocery store bought) chili dog. This would make a great no babysitter date.  Just plan ahead, decide what you want to find the best of, get your ingredients, put the kids to bed and explore in the kitchen.

- For a more extravagant date, you could rent a limo (& possibly make this a double or group date) and go try margaritas at different restaurants across town.  Take a vote and choose a winner. This is one I have always wanted to do.

- The picture above, is from late last year, when Ramy & I had the good fortune to travel through Australia.  Every time we go to a new city, we seek out the very best espresso.  We ask people around town what they recommend, do our research online, & try out the places we pass by.  Ultimately, we find our favorite place everywhere we go...and consider ourselves (esp Ramy) Espresso Connoisseurs.

- Other things to explore: Find the best pizza, root beer, hamburger, ice cream....your city has to offer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is it Business Time?

Yes, yes, yes...I know this Flight of the Conchords clip is like 5 years old, but I guess I have been living under a rock somewhere (or just deprived of HBO) since I just saw this for the first time over the weekend.  Whether you have seen it a hundred times or for the very first time, it's hilarious!

To the Mr & Mrs out there...get your business socks out tonight!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Fort Night Giveaway Reveal

And the winners are...

"Billy and I were really excited about building a fort, and because we couldn't build one together, we built two while on skype! Then we had a Dexter skype date while in our respective forts! So fun!" -Kat

Last week my better half carefully mentioned that I may have jumped the gun on a giveaway this soon, but I was so excited for it.  The excitement, however, slowly dissipated as the week went by, and there weren't any fort posts. But last night, when I received Kat & Billy's post, I was reminded that sometimes God has you do something for just one person (or couple in this case).  They are an awesome couple and truly deserving of this creative was that...had there been 50 entries they would have probably won anyway!  

Cheers to you two and email me for prize details!

As for the rest of you :) Happy Easter and please take today to remember how wonderful God is for the life he gave us!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tried & True: Sarah & Brian
The Emergency Date

This week's featured couple is Sarah & Brian from WoodenAle

written by Sarah M.
Brian and I have now been married eight wonderful months… wahoooo!  We have been very intentional this first year to fight the monotony that comes with our daily routines and busyness.  With that being said, Brian called an emergency date this week.  Here’s what happened…

Both of our work schedules have been all over the place for a few months, which hasn’t allowed us to keep a specific night of the week sacred for going out together.  Last week our schedules were such that we missed each other almost every morning and evening, only to reconvene for midnight snacks and then Zzz’s.  This left us both a little drained and needing some undivided attention from one another.  Sunday afternoon when Brian was done with work he came home and said, “That’s it, we’re going out!” much to my delight. 

Here’s how we started off on the wrong foot… Without really discussing the plans, I started putting on my fancy clothes (which means earrings and no flip-flops) and got prepared for a romantic date.  In the back of my mind I was thinking we could use our Groupon for this quiet Brazilian restaurant, so we could eat and chat the night away.  Brian was thinking how much fun it would be to see a comedy since we haven’t been to the movies since Harry Potter 12, and we could use a light-hearted event.  So we got in the car with our two different plans and started out towards a miserable first 35 minutes of a date (the opposite of what we needed). 

If it could have gone wrong in those 35 minutes, it did.  As we tried to grab a quick bite to eat in order to make it in time to the movie, we were bombarded by Reggae Fest traffic and then found the mobile Thai trailer we wanted to eat at was closed.  At which point, I spoke up about the deeper issue at hand being that we hadn’t communicated well in the beginning, this led to an argument.  As we coasted in to the Alamo Theater it felt less like a date, and more like we had just done P90X for the first time, as we were both worn out and hurting.  I took advantage of the short silence, grabbed his hand and said, “Maybe after the movie we could go somewhere quiet and talk.”  He agreed it was a good idea and we kissed on it.  He held my hand as we got out of the car.  We bounced our way inside the movie and had a really great laugh (and a godfather pizza).  The night ended in front of our neighborhood coffee shop.  We talked until I lost track of how long we had been talking. Date night success was achieved as we both gave in and decided to enjoy what the other one wanted to do.  Hopefully next time we’ll do a better job planning on that ahead of time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Date Night Idea: Flex the Netflix

With all the holiday planning and prepping this week, it may not be as easy to get away for a night on the town...but that doesn't mean you shouldn't hang out together.  On nights when we can't get away, but just want to chill together we look to Netflix Instant Streaming for help.

Lately, when we have had some spare zone out time together, we have been watching the James Bond Film Series from the beginning.  Yep - that means we have started ourselves down the path of a 23 movie commitment.

Here are a couple questions for you:
What are you watching on Netflix these days?
Who was your favorite Bond?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Conversation Starter:
Be a Master of the Obvious

 I have an old friend that was brilliant at the art of conversation.  He always said it was because he was a master of the obvious. Sometimes the easiest way to break out of a conversation rut is to talk about things that are right in front of you or you already know to be true. Talk about your day, the location you are at, even the weather.  Comment about something interesting the other person is wearing and take notice if your mate did something different (like a haircut).  If your partner brings up a topic, listen and ask to know more about that.  It may seem silly at first, but it is a proven method to get the ball rolling, which is something even us couples need every now and then.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Date Night Idea: Comedy Club

Need a good laugh with your mate? 
Schedule your next date at a comedy club. It will lighten up the mood & cause you to smile.  Plus it will be fun to requote your favorite comedians from the night later in the week for a good laugh again.

PS: Anyone build a fort over the weekend?  Post your pics...remember best fort at the end of the week wins!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Date Night: Giveaway!

The Best Fort Wins 2 movie ticket {to a theatre near you} for your next D8 Night!

Here's HOW (updated): 
1. Make a Fort this weekend with your mate! (Tip: parents, wait until the kiddos go to bed!)
2. Take pictures of your elaborate fort creation! 
3. Post a link of your picture in the comment box below (photobucket may help with this task)
4. Must submit by 11:59PM Thursday!
5. Check back Next Friday for Winner!

Date Night Idea: A Fort Night

It's official!  I have been writing for a full two weeks.
To commemorate this success, it's only appropriate that 
we talk about a fort night. 

Fortnight noun \ˈfȯrt-ˌnīt\
a period of 14 days: two weeks

Fort Night noun \ˈfȯrt-ˌnīt\
a night dedicated to making the most spectacular fort using surrounding furniture & spare blankets. 

One of my favorite stay at home dates is The Fort Night.  It originally started as an impromptu date night save.  The husband and I returned home from a not so great movie, and if I didn't act fast the date was on its way to falling flat.  Shortly after walking in the door, (while Ramy was probably going through the mail,) I ran around from linen closet to linen closet collecting all the spare blankets, towels, and sheets I could muster up.  I then started pulling chairs towards our couch to use as an anchor.  Ramy looked at me perplexed, "What in the world are you doing?" 

"Making a FORT!"  

At first he thought I was crazy, but within minutes he got his inner architect out and before we knew it there stood a multi room fort in the center of the room.  We laughed and played like we were kids again and then camped out in our living room for the night.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Conversation Starter: Read On!

Need to something to talk about on your next date night?

Here's a simple one - Read the newspaper.  

Yep, you remember that thing that is black and white and read all over.  It can actually aid you in great, interesting conversation.  And don't just graze the front page.  If you have a few moments, pick up a paper and dive in.  Check out the columns that interest you and take a look at the editorials.  I am sure that you will find a topic that piques your interest...and voila, now you have something besides work (or the kids for you parents) to talk about!

What were some great conversation starters on your last date night?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Intentional Investment

As I write this post, I keep hearing the chorus of Tears for Fears' "Sowing the Seeds of Love"replay over and over in my head.

It's so easy in the beginning of a relationship.  Passion overcomes you; you want to see each other all the time, you are up for talking on the phone all hours of the night, you daydream about each other, you have in mind where you want to go on your next date, you think about what your going to wear (yep - even you fellas plan what to wear!)

But what happens when this passion subsides?  Where do you go from there?

You have just graduated into the next level of your relationship.  You have grown comfortable with each other, which is a great place to be, but you have to remember to be intentional!  Passion is no longer going to drive your relationship - now YOU have to get behind the wheel and call the shots.  Now you have to Decide to find time, Decide to go out, Decide to get a babysitter, etc.  While it might feel mundane and lacking passion, these decisions are investments.  And when you choose to invest positively in one another a deeper passion will ignite.

Remember this on Date Night!  It is so easy to get to date night and be less than enthused by doing the same old thing.  Don't let atrophy set in!  Nourish your relationship through date night.  Choose to change your attitude for the better.  Choose to put a smile on your face.  Choose to find the little things that will make your mate smile.  Choose to go the extra mile.  Just don't let another ordinary date pass you by.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love Mail

When I was little, getting mail was the most exciting gift I could receive.  I don't know what it was exactly.  Probably just the idea that someone out there had me in mind.  Be it an invitation, a birthday card, or letter from my grandmother (with a one dollar bill no doubt!) I was always thrilled. And that exhilaration still lives on today!  (This does not include bills or junk mail of course!)

My guess is that I am not alone in this.  

Something many people don't know about my husband is his obsessive compulsion over the mail.  I call it this because if it were up to me, the mail would be picked up, oh say about once a week (clearly I am not getting enough fun mail!) But Ramy can't wait to get his hands on it every day!  He will literally come home at midnight from a 10 hour flight, walk in the door, put his luggage down, give me a kiss and ask where the mail is.  So this year for our anniversary, in lieu of a card to hand him, I thought I would send him some mail.  I tore off a page of my desk calendar, circled our anniversary date and wrote him a sweet, simple note.  On the bottom, where the day's to-do list goes, I wrote in my plan for our day!  

Date Night Tip - Create some exciting date night anticipation by sending your mate a note in the mail.  Not only will he/she have a cool nostalgic surprise, your mate will also have a handwritten note - not something we get so often anymore with all the technology these days (unless it's "pick up milk on your way home" scribbled across a post it.)

Oh, and Ramy loved the surprise!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Date Night Idea: The Progressive Dinner

Progressive Dinner \prə-ˈgre-siv ˈdi-nər\ (n):
a meal where each course is served at a different location.

This is definitely one of my favorite dates.  Probably cus after being couped up in suburbia with the kids all week, I want to feel like I really got out and had a night on the town.

Wanna try it on your next date?  Here's How:
Pick three places.  Consider the parking factor - it might be a good idea to choose locations you can walk to from one another.  Now delegate a course to each location.

For Example:
Location 1: Appetizers & Cocktails
Location 2: Main Course
Location 3: Dessert & Espresso

What's your favorite progressive dinner date?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Avoid the I don't knows

Make a plan ahead of time.

This may seem obvious, but not so.  I can't tell you how many times date night suddenly arrives and nothing has been planned.  There is either not a babysitter for the kiddos or your looking at your date saying, "What do you wanna do?" Only to get back, "I dunno know, what do you want to do?" (On these nights, my husband is usually driving towards the freeway without a destination as I am frantically using my urbanspoon app to come up with a restaurant, praying we don't need a reservation.)

Here is the solution:

* If you have kids: Have a standing commitment with a babysitter. Budget the babysitter in and find someone you can count on to come hang with the kids every (Mon? Tues? Wed?...)day night.  Or ask your mom, if she is close by, to take the kids once a week.

* Take Turns planning the night: It sucks when you are always the one having to come up with the plan, or when you are constantly being dragged to something you don't necessarily want to do...again.

*Start thinking about it ahead of time... Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  This is where making reservations would come into play.

* Make sure you are showered and shaved ;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Create a Bucket List

Here's your assignment:

Seriously, do this:  Take a moment on your own and write down at least 10 things you have always wanted to do with your mate...outside of the bedroom that is!  Don't put limitations on money or destination.  Make it your bucket list; a wish list of all those adventures you want to seek out before you die.   Dream as big as you would like, but remember the simple things too.  Next, ask your mate to do the same and then come together with your lists.  

Ramy and I have been counseling couples for about 2 years now, and this is an assignment we always give out on the first day we meet (along with committing to a date night!) Time and time again, it is eye opening for couples to see each others lists.  I often hear, "Really?  I didn't know you wanted to do that?!"  Not only will you potentially learn something new about your partner, you will also have a list of things to do for date night.  Now obviously some of these might be immediately out of reach, but if you have dreams of eating gelato in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, there is no better time than the present to start talking about ways you can actually achieve that goal together.  It will more likely happen if it's out in the open than bottled up inside of you.  

Ultimately, this assignment will show you how to increase intimacy outside the bedroom (which then of course can lead to greater intimacy inside the bedroom too!)  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Get Yo Calendar Out

First things first, you need to make a commitment.

1. Get your calendar
2. Consider your weekly commitments
3. Select one day a week that will be DATE NIGHT & make it a weekly commitment
4. Rearrange, cancel, reschedule anything else that falls on this night
5. Keep your Date Night sacred!

PS: Do these steps together

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Date Night Deficit

Like most couples, my husband and I have crazy, hectic schedules.  He works around the clock; I hold down the fort.  We have two young boys, two big dogs, a calendar full of commitments, and little left over for US.  After months of feeling a disconnect in our marriage, often leading to irritation, bitterness, and resentment, our friendship slowly began to fade.

It was me who lashed out first, "You don't love me anymore!"  He responded with the same, "No, you don't love ME anymore!"  We weren't connecting.  We rarely went out like we used to.  We didn't laugh like before.  We were too busy with our responsibilities.  WE were starting to disappear.  

To get to the bottom of this problem, we went before our marriage counselor.  I complained he didn't give me enough attention, he rebutted I was unresponsive.  We went around in circles trying to explain that there was a hole in our marriage and love was leaking out the bottom.  Then we stared back at her hoping for a solution. "It's not that you don't love one another anymore," she answered, "It's that you need to find time to spend alone with each other." And then our marriage counselor prescribed "Date Night."

Simple put, we needed to make US a priority again.  Amid all the hustle and bustle, it was essential to assign a time every week to reconnect.  Just because we were married didn't mean that we should stop dating each other.  So we pulled out our calendar, reprioritized our current commitments, and carved out one night a week for us to go out.  We had to do the same with our budget.  We looked at our finances, reprioritized our spending, and set aside a date night fund.  It took sacrifice on both our parts, however, what was in store for us would be more than worth it.

But after all that, we would get to date night and not have a clue as to what to do with each other.  Dinner and a movie...again?  Or, really, can we talk about something besides work and the kids?  I once even brought up the happenings of a tv show cause I didn't know what else to talk about.  We stared back at each other desperately wanting that spark and some adventure.  But how?

We just needed the tools to get there...and that is why this blog was created: to share advice, date night ideas, & our adventures and conclusions.  After figuring out what to do with each other, our relationship has been stronger than ever.  I don't question our love any longer!

Through this blog, I hope I can inspire you and your hubby to have a remarkable date life too!