Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dating Your Spouse - Date Idea #5 - Take Her Dancing at Home

There is something about dancing with my wife that makes me feel more connected to her, but when it comes to dates it is very hard to find a dance venue that is suitable to attend.  The club atmosphere with alcohol overflowing isn't what my wife and I enjoy.  Not that I have anything against alcohol in moderation, it just seems hard to find a classy place to go dancing.

If you have never taken your wife dancing, you should give it a try.  And here is the good news - you can do it at home.  Don't worry.  You don't have to be a perfect dancer.   Even a modest effort on your part will put your wife on cloud nine (assuming she like dancing).   This date is also nice because you can do it at home after you put the kids down for bed.

Pulling this off is really quite simple.   Browse your CD or mp3 collection for some great songs,  and choose a few songs that she likes and a few that you like.  You can mix it up with a few upbeat songs and a few nice swaying tunes.   To add a nice touch - dress up for the occasion.   You might even have some sparkling grape juice or wine to enjoy between your dancing interludes. 

Dancing is a great way to connect with your wife. There is something about moving together in unison that is a physical expression of what your relationship is like emotionally and spiritually.  God has called us to be one with our wives so use this date idea to pursue oneness and connection with her.

Another great plus to this date, is you can express as much passion and desire in your dancing as you and your wife would like.  No need to keep it tame - as long as you both enjoy your time together!  Maybe you could checkout a ballroom dancing video at the library and spice up the evening with a little salsa dancing or maybe even a tango.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dating Your Spouse - Date Idea #4 - A Walk Down Memory Lane

As time passes in our marriages, we often seem to lose the spark and giddy feelings we had when we were dating our spouse.  I am glad though that the security of marriage brings a stability and lessens the nervous anxiety we might have had during courtship and dating.  Nonetheless, it sometimes takes a little effort to keep that excitement going that you once had early on in your relationship.

My tip in this post is to setup a date with your spouse and plan to revisit places in your city you were fond of when you were courting.  I did this with my wife a couple of years ago and she still mentions it on occasion.  For example, if there was a particular park that you spent many hours in together revisit it and initiate conversation with your mate by asking her what she remembers about those times you spent together.   You can even visit several places from your courtship if you have time.  Maybe take her to her old neighborhood and go for a walk.   Visit your old college campus if your relationship budded there.   The possibilities are endless, but you must choose places to visit that have memories and significance to both of you.

Not all the stops on your date need be memorable places from your courtship - places that have become memorable after marriage are great also.   Try this date idea and have a great time with your spouse reliving the memorable moments of your relationship and making new memories at the same time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Love Your Wife - Do an unexpected household chore for your wife.

Something that I have discovered that never fails to put a smile on my wife's face is when I do a routine household chore that she normally caries out.   If you have a chance, find out what daily tasks your wife dislikes the most then try to do it for her when she is not expecting it.   For my wife it is laundry and cleaning the bathroom.   On different occasions I have done the laundry or cleaned the bathroom while she was out of the house.   Even if you can't get her out of the house to surprise her,  just pick up and do it and I'm sure your wife will be blessed also.

I will admit sometimes I don't recognize all that my wife does everyday, but even a little effort in relieving her of a simple task makes her happy.

And you gentlemen out there might think... "Well if I do this once she will expect it everyday".  Thus far I haven't found that to be true.  Generally, my wife has expressed that it makes her feel loved and noticed, and makes her feel more inspired to keep doing all of the ordinary things in life.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dating Your Spouse - Date Idea #3 - The Gourmet Picnic Date

As warmer weather is slowly approaching, I am getting more eager to be outside.  Spending time outdoors with your wife is a great date idea.  My wife and I have spent several dates walking and talking in various parks around our city.   One of my favorite dates is having a picnic in the park.   If you want to take the romantic atmosphere of the picnic date up to the next level, maybe you should consider a gourmet picnic in the park.   I use the term "gourmet" rather loosely, as for most of us gentlemen this would mean anything we put a reasonable amount of effort into making.

If you can find a nice park that has tables and charcoal grills available it will make it easier to pull off a meal of finer cuisine.  Also, most of us gentlemen have better skills with the grill than with the stove in our homes.   This date will take some planning, but it is very doable.  Pick a grill worthy meat - whether it be a steak,  pork chops, or even shish-k-bobs just pick something you both will enjoy.   When I last did this with my wife,  I grilled pork chops at the park and pre-baked potatoes that I baked prior and put in an insulated snack sack.   To round out the meal you can include a tossed salad (for even more convenience you can get a pre-mixed salad at the grocery store).   As a beverage consider something like sparkling grape juice or even ice tea depending on her likes/dislikes.  In addition to the food items,  you might also think about taking a few of your actual dinner plates and glasses (maybe even champaigne flutes - but be aware that many public parks have ordinances about consumption of alcohol).   This might sound strange, but using real plates, glasses, and silverware adds an extra fine touch to the meal to keep that gourmet and romantic feel.   A few other items you won't want to forget are tablecloths or a blanket (red checked is a classic),  silverware, napkins, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, candles, and maybe bug repellant.   Generally,  I would recommend doing this type of date in the evening to take advantage of pleasant temperatures (note I live in Texas where it is often to hot in the middle of the day). To top off the fun you might include a frozen treat like a small container of her favorite ice cream.

The point of this date is to enjoy treating your wife to a nice meal and getting lost in her company.  It also is an adventure that you can embark upon together and overcome any challenges that come up (as they usually do when attempting outdoor fair).   I think the gourmet picnic is a fun and creative way to show your wife that you love her.  There is just something about the outdoors that inspires romance.

If you attempt this date, I'd love to get feedback in the comments about what you and your spouse thought about it.

And since I am a fan of bulletted lists here is a check-list of items to prep for the "gourmet picnic":
  • charcoal
  • lighter fluid
  • matches
  • a grill suitable meat
  • potatoes pre-baked
  • potato trimmings - butter and whatever else you like
  • tossed salad (maybe even dressing)
  • a beverage (ice tea, sparkling grape juice, water, lemonade, you pick)
  • dinner plates
  • silverware
  • glasses, goblets, or champaigne flutes
  • napkins
  • tablecloth or blanket
  • optional - a frozen treat for afterward (remember to pack this well-iced)
  • optional - candles adds a romantic touch even if it isn't dark yet
  • oh and yes ... don't forget to bring your spouse.
I hope that you find this date enjoyable and a great way to connect with your spouse.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dating Your Spouse - Date Idea #2 - The Extended Weekend Shopping Date

In our culture today, it is so hard to keep our busyness from distracting from our time with our spouse.  In my own marriage, I've found that getting away for a few days with my wife is absolutely critical to growing our relationship.

In conversations with my wife, one of the things I discovered is that although she really loved getting away the responsibility of planning and preparing for a trip diminished her excitement and enjoyment of it especially in the days leading up to travel.

Well, this past year my wife worked very hard and followed a very disciplined diet and exercise regimen and she lost 25+ pounds.   She felt strongly  that this is what God wanted her to do and He brought her tremendous victory with her weight - an area she has struggled with since adolescence.   The perseverance by which she stuck with her diet inspired me to try to do something special for her this year around Valentines Day.   I decided to plan an extended shopping date to Dallas, Texas for her to replenish her wardrobe,  but I wanted this to be a surprise.

So first things first,  I began checking around with family to find child care for our children.  With a little work I had child care covered in a few days.  Fortunately, being family that was watching the kids, I didn't have to pay a babysitter.

With childcare covered, the next step was to find a nice place to stay.  I wanted to treat my wife, but as most people do I needed to be frugal.   What I have discovered, that helps tremendously with getting discounts on hotel rooms, are websites like and   It takes a little work to find a good deal with these sites and patience.   The way these sites work is you get discounted rates on hotels that aren't going to fill all of their rooms.  The caveat is you do not know the exact hotel until you book.   So if  you go this route be sure to research the best areas to stay in and pick hotels that are in nice areas.  You can also check with friends that may be familiar with your destination and get their opinion.   I have had good experience booking hotels as long as they have an 80% positive customer review and no less than 3 stars.    Using price line I reserved us a room in a 4 star hotel for around $57 per night  (which is much less than even a cheap hotel would be at full price).

With lodging and childcare in place, it was now time to figure out a way to give my wife some money to spend.   Since I had to live within our means and also keep it a surprise,  I scavenged around and found several restaurant gift cards we had been given,  I redeemed points earned on our credit card for a $50 visa gift card, and I found two $50 gift cards we had from smart phone rebates we hadn't used yet.   So I added $150 cash from the bank to provide her with some unconditional spending money.

As time came closer, it was time to think about getting her out of the house to pack everything up.   I arranged for my wife's sister to invite her to breakfast on the Saturday we were to leave, and I agreed to text her when I had all of the bags packed.  If you do this, I suggest making a packing list in advance so you can get things in order quickly.   Also, I would advise paying attention to your wife's morning routine.   Take note of what cosmetic items she uses,  make-up,  hairbrushes, perfume, curling irons, etc.

Here is a sample packing list if you need some help in this area:

  • Clothes appropriate for your destination -  I would suggest overpacking to give her plenty of combinations to choose from
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Undergarments  (Remember gents that ladies require more undergarments if she doesn't have 2 undergarments packed for every 1 undergarment you pack you are missing something)
  • Nightgowns or sleepwear (although if you forget these items hopefully you and your wife can still enjoy yourselves...maybe even more...and this enjoyment is legal for married couples)
  • Toothpaste/toothbrushes
  • Makeup and cosmetics
  • Hair brushes and combs
  • Her razor
  • Vitamins and or medications either of you require
  • Shoes (take note of what shoes your wife wears for different occasions)
  • Music for the car or an iPod
  • A camera to capture your memories together.
  • If you aren't going to be dining out, you will also need to think about taking the appropriate food items.
I found that for me it worked best to walk through our morning and evening routines and collect all the necessary travel items and pack them up.

A few days before we left, I purchased an appropriate card and wrote a personal note in it and put the gift cards and spending money in it.   On travel day, I put this card in the glove box when I packed all of our bags into the car.

Once I finished packing everything up,  I sent the text message to my sister-in-law that everything was a go.   When my wife came home, and I told her we were going on a trip she was overtaken with surprise.   Please be aware that if you do this your wife may burst into tears, but I assure you in most cases they will be the best kind of happy tears.   Once we were on the road,  I had her open her card which she received with much surprise and more tears.

Be sure and don't overbook the agenda for your trip.  Leave yourselves some flexibility to be spontaneous and have leisurely fun.   We hit a couple of shopping malls had dinner out a couple of times, and our last day we just kind of did whatever seemed fun at a slow pace.   

If you are worried about shopping,  I'll let you know that shopping isn't my favorite past time, but I have come to enjoy it more with my wife.  Maybe pick a few items for her to try out and let her know what you think she looks really good in.   Most ladies will enjoy knowing what you think she looks attractive in.   Be tasteful though and don't push her to try on things she isn't comfortable in.  If you have made her feel special in all the preparations and have showed her you truly love her, don't be surprised if she becomes very open to you.  I was quite surprised when my wife turned to me in the store and said she would try on anything I wanted her too just for me.  Of course, now my surprise was surprising even me as my wife wanted to know what I thought she would look sexy in.   And if you are getting worried because this post seems to have become a little racy, just remember as Christians we should have the corner on the market when it comes to enjoying the beauty of our wives and their bodies - this is good and right and nothing to be ashamed of.    I will say that my wife's willingness to try on anything I wanted to see her in excited me, yet it did humble me and made me realize that she was offering me a great deal and it was my place to honor and cherish her by not taking advantage of her open heart or compromise her by pushing the limits to far.    It is an amazing thing how letting the Holy Spirit express love through us comes back to us many times over when we have truly expressed His love to our spouse.   All the effort was certainly worth it and the time to connect and learn new things about my wife is priceless.

I certainly don't want to sound more holy than anyone else,  I stumble and I am not always as loving as I should be, but this I can say - I've never been let down by loving my wife the best I can.  I hope that someone somewhere will feel inspired by the post and maybe help you plan that well deserved date or getaway for your wife.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dating Your Spouse - Date Idea #1 - A Twist on the Typical Movie Date

Dinner and a movie - the classic date for all ages.  For many of us if we started dating in college or high school, dinner and a movie was probably one of the most common dates we went on.   Interestingly enough, my wife and I never went on a movie date until after we were married.  Before we were married I remember desiring to just be with her so much that the idea of taking my attention off of her for a movie didn't sound all that fun.   As life has progressed a few years with young children and more responsibility we often have found ourselves in the movie theater due to lack of energy and often times lack of planning on my part.

With all that said, I am by no means saying that going to the movies with your spouse is a bad thing.  I have found that it does require a little more effort to connect.   It's very easy to become passive.

Here is a dating idea that my wife and I have done before.  Planning a date to a movie can be fun, but as Christians it is worth a little caution in what we watch.   My wife and I like to use plugged to get a Christian perspective on a movie before we go.  We pick our movies carefully, but that doesn't mean we restrict ourselves only to PG movies.   I personally believe we are free in Christ and it is between you and Jesus about what you feel you should not watch.  Each person and couple may be more or less sensitive to certain kinds of content.   I believe it is best for us as Christians to avoid films with explicit nudity and sexual content.

If you are on a budget, most movie theaters offer an evening matinee on an off day of the week.  In our town, Tuesday evening movies are usually $6 per person.

Now that I've rambled about some of the basics of movie selection and budget, its time to think about planning the date.   As a husband I've found it is important for me to establish connection with my wife in everyday life and on dates.   Dates in which we talk a lot and connect rank higher on my wife's scale.   To build that connection if you can do something unexpected and thoughtful the day or your date or even a few days before you can help establish that connection.

Something that I have found that blesses my wife is to leave a random hand written note for her in a unexpected place.   Tell her how much you appreciate her and love her and maybe leave the note on her breakfast plate, in a drawer she is sure to visit, or any other place she can find it unexpectedly.   You might even include something like "I look forward to spending time with you on our date tonight".   This builds anticipation for her and you as well.

When you choose your movie if you can choose a movie that is inspirational or heart touching it may give you more opportunity to connect with your wife.   During the moving if you think your wife is being touched by a certain part in the film, put your arm around her to connect with her and let her know you are experiencing it with her.   As a married christian couple it is also quite okay in my opinion to kiss your wife during a moving, granted you may want keep it tasteful so as not to be disrespectful to your fellow movie goers (passionate making out can always be caught up on later in the evening :) ).

After the movie, take your wife somewhere you can talk whether that is a coffee shop or a park.  On our last date, my wife and I picked up a light bite to eat after the moving then parked beside a park and talked in the car for nearly an hour.   Rather than just forgetting the movie, talk about what you both liked and didn't like.  Was there anything that meant something to her in the film?  What were the positives and negatives about the characters.   Movies can be a great way to explore life and process how we should respond to things in our culture.   Also, if your wife decides to rabbit trail to a different topic just go with it, the point is to connect - to love her and get to know her very soul.

My fellow christian men I hope you have many fun and creative dates with your wife in you future.

Husbands Love Your Wives - Does that include Creative and Playful?

As christian men we have all heard those these words from Ephesians 5:25-26:

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Work,.." Ephesians 5:25-26 (Amplified version)

We are to love our wives sacrificially just as Christ loved the church - a calling that I myself often find intimidating to aspire to.  We should each learn the love language of our spouse, whether it be quality time, acts of service, gifts, affirmation, or physical touch.   Dr.  Gary Chapman has written an entire book (The Five Love Languages) on the five love languages that is worth checking out if you haven't already.

So you may be asking what is this blog about.  Well, I only claim to be a fellow christian brother trying to learn to love my wife the way God desires.   I hope to share my own experiences and ideas on how to pursue the woman in your life.  I often have found myself caught up in the busy freeway of life trying to earn a living, keep the cars running, and keeping the house in repair that pursuing God and my wife slips from the forefront.

I believe first and foremost we must pursue Jesus if we are to truly pursue our wives.  I have recently picked up John Elderidge's new book Beautiful Outlaw.   If you have a view that Jesus is an ethereal, angelic, and austere fellow this book is a must read.   As I have read this book, it has given me a new perspective on Jesus personality and how wonderful His love is for us.   In this book, Elderidge ponders the playful side of Jesus - the loving and fun personality that came to win us back to the Father.

Thinking back to the verse "Husbands, love your wives..."  in light of this playful side of Jesus got me started thinking on how I can exhibit the playful and loving nature of Jesus to my wife.  My wife and I for a few years now have blocked off one night every week to have a date night.   This has been a huge blessing in our marriage, but I've often found too often I default to dinner and a movie and let these times become more routine than imaginative and playful.

As part of this blog my hope is to offer up some creative dating ideas for christian couples, hoping that I try to keep fun and creativity alive in my own relationship with my wife that maybe other men will find the ideas helpful or even inspire their own.