My Dating (my husband) Journey: Shattered Expectations & Ways to Make it Work

date night ideas

This Valentine’s Day give your spouse the gift of committing to date each other. Come up with dates that work for you and your schedule.

Below I will share my dating (my husband)  journey: Shattered Expectations, Why Date Each Other?  and a link to Ways to make it work for you.

We have been married for 10 years this May!  Yay, that brings tears to my eyes as I think about the life I have been blessed with and the challenges we’ve had to overcome. Only by the grace of God, seriously.

We have tried implementing date nights since our first year of marriage but we had a lot to learn along the way and I am sure we are still in process. Sometimes our date night plan would work for months at a time and at other times it was a total flop.

As you read along keep in mind,  I have 3 boys under the age of 8 and life can quickly get chaotic here in our home.  I say this so you don’t roll your eyes and think well you are a newly wed with no kids, of course you go on dates. Also, I say this because we have gone through stages in our life when it just wasn’t possible and we made the most of it. Above all, as you read this don’t feel guilty instead be encouraged and find what works best for you and your spouse!

Before I dive in, this is a 14 day series - 14 Days of Busy Moms Dating their Husbands. You can stop by here to see the schedule and all of the amazing post from our 20 awesome mom bloggers.

Shattered Expectations

When my husband was my boyfriend he came up with some awesome dates and I mean really creative dates. One night he took me by the lake and we sat out by the cool water in the hot South and enjoyed the breeze,while we talked, smooched, laughed and my favorite part–danced under the stars! Another time he took me out on the river in a canoe and he had a picnic ready for us. He even had some romantic music set up with speakers. I can go on and on about all of our creative dates but you get the point, he knew how to woo me.

All that to say I was shocked a year into our marriage when the fun dates stopped. But not even just fun dates but they all together stopped. I know things change, life changes, people change but still I was taken aback. My husbands love grew for me, as mine did for him–it had nothing to do with love.  But everything to do with figuring out what worked best for us now that we were married, with more responsibilities and a child on the way. And to top it off, he was a first year teacher in an extremely hard inner city school.

At that time I didn’t get it. I didn’t realize all this change would mean change in how we would date each other. All I felt was hurt and let down by him. As with all things, a little heart to heart and real communication I was able to express my thoughts in this area and we were able to move forward but still with a huge learning curve for both of us.

In our journey I learned, sometimes the hard way, that I needed to adjust my expectations to our reality.

I used to think it was his responsiblity to plan our date nights. He is supposed to woo me.  I was crushed when another week would roll in and once again no date night. I took it personal because after all if he loved me enough, he would remember, right. That mindset had to change if I didn’t want to end up a bitter old wife. We decided to take turns planning our date night. One of us plans the night the other gets the sitter and then we switch. Up to this day, this has worked the best for us.

I expected weekly date nights but it wasn’t happening with all that we had going on. After three years of trying weekly date nights we realized we are not weekly date night people. So we decided that twice a month worked best for our schedule.

I thought date nights involved going out. It never dawned on me that we could have a date night in. Either after the kids went to bed or we could drop them off at the sitters.

I expected special nights not dinner and a movie dates. Quickly I realized our budget nor time could manage “special” date nights.  I must admit I hate movie date nights (don’t worry he knows and we only do that maybe once a year). It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special, it can be whatever interest both of you or a date night catered for him or you. It doesn’t even have to be at night it could be during the day.

It is important to set some guidelines for your dates as you discover your preferences but be flexible. For example, as I mentioned above, I don’t do movies as date nights. But I will do a movie night for him if it’s a movie he has been dying to watch.

grow where you are planted

Why date each other?

Marriage is an amazingly beautiful and hard journey to embark on. I think back to our most challenging  “phases of life” and I can’t even imagine walking through the “torrential storms” alone without him. So hand in hand we move forward sometimes at each others throat, sometimes merrily skipping through life but most importantly always trying to enjoy our little blessings. I don’t think I would be able to say this if we had not stopped to reconnect and nourished our relationship along the way with our dates.

Reason #1 – To connect.  I was reading a blog and basically she said she didn’t believe in date nights but when she went on to describe what she did it was dating her husband. So if you’re against using the term “dating my spouse” then call it something else but don’t stop making intentional time to connect just because you’re against the term “date nights” or leaving your home to connect.

One of the most important lessons that I learned early on in my marriage was this,

“Marriage and parenthood are filled with “phases and stages” so learn to blossom in them.”

I pass this on to you because some of you maybe in a challenging phase or stage of your life right now. I encourage you to grow in the midst of it because there is beauty and strength to be found. Don’t wait til the baby gets out of the nursing stage, or she doesn’t cry anymore when you leave her, or when he’s not so tired from work, or when you’re not so exhausted from being pregnant, or…… Because before you know it, you’ve grown old and distant. Please make time to connect and have real conversations, laugh together and play together.

There will always be excuses, but I hope you choose to seize the day. When you don’t have the energy to seize anything, give yourself grace and keep plugging along. Here are some post that encouraged me by real women who have had their share of struggles.

Reason #2 – You need each other. Not just a roomie version but you need to make intentional time for your friend and soul mate.

Reason #3 Your children need to know that you make time for each other not just them. Set an example for them.

Reason #4 When we stop working on our relationship we start growing apart.

I share over here Date Nights: How to Make them Work and Stick (plus calendar sticker printables)

The other lovely bloggers joining in this series are (to see the schedule of post go here): Kids Activities BlogMy Nearest And DearestPleasantest ThingPlay Dr MomGlittering MuffinsInspired By Family MagMama MissLife At The ZooToddling Into Madness, Sense of WonderEducators Spin on ItLittle AritsitsHome Learning JourneyFrogs And Snails and Puppy dog Tails, Pragmatic Mom, The Good Long RoadMamas Like MeKids Stuff World , Toddler Approved and Adventures in Mommydom

Other post you may enjoy:

Loving Your Man When It Hurts Series -Real Women Sharing from all stages of life

DIY Paper Bag Lanterns for a quick romantic dinner

Creative Love Note Ideas & Projects

DIY Valentines Day Photo Holder – Simple and Beautiful

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19 Responses to “My Dating (my husband) Journey: Shattered Expectations & Ways to Make it Work”

  1. Charis
    January 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I needed to read this. It’s definitely hard to be intentional. Thanks

    • January 31, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      Charis, Thanks it’s always lovely to know that our post are encouraging others on their journey. ~Mari

  2. January 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Using those stickers is a great idea! Thank you for sharing such an honest and inspiring post.

  3. January 31, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Such great advice to accept and embrace the different stages of a marriage!

  4. January 31, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    What a beautiful post! So much resonated with me and I think hubby and I need to talk about how to make time to connect with each other as much a priority as connecting with our children.

  5. February 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Love this idea. My husband and I struggle with making date night work, but I love the thought that we can use valentine’s day as a time to “recommit” to dating! Thanks for sharing!

  6. February 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Great post! We try hard to have date nights, but it doesn’t always happen.

  7. Hannah
    September 3, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Great post! So encouraging for me. I often think the only thing we have in common anymore is the kids but I need to put forth more effort in making sure there is more than that.

    • Inspired by Family Mag
      September 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      Hannah, So glad it encouraged you and hopefully inspired you to move forward connecting with your man.

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