My husband Randy and I don't get out much—and it's not because he's too busy watching Netflix.
Long gone are the days of getting ready to go out around 9PM, leaving the house at 10PM and partying until 3AM. And that's okay.
We're both in our 40's, self-employed, and have trouble truly turning off (thank goodness we both like what we do for a living). Our kids are active, curious 6 and 7 year old boys who want to be actively engaged by present parents all the time. If we spend too much time staring at our phones, even if it is for work, boy do we HEAR IT. So by the time the end of the week rolls around we're usually pretty fried. And at least one of us is usually pretty grumpy.
We both know it's important for the stability of our marriage, but we have different ideas on how it should play out. A perfect Valentine's Day for Randy? Watching ALL of Netflix together. Yes, you read that right. ALL of it. We'd be in the same room, so to him, it counts. Ha! Unfortunately he's married to someone who hates wasting—I mean spending—time in front of the TV and easily goes months without watching a show.
Knowing "together time" is important is one thing. Doing it is another.
So where do our interests actually align?
Mountain biking, yoga and gong baths.
We have a set date once a month. On the first Friday we head over to our local Kundalini yoga studio for a gong bath. We spend an hour in shavasana (also known as corpse pose). As long as there aren't any snorers in our vicinity it's an incredibly relaxing and blissful experience where we "bathe" in the healing sound waves. My husband is not a talker and has a physically strenuous work week so lying on his back not having to engage with anyone is right up his ally. And I love gong baths because I always come out of one with a greater understanding on whatever issue I am trying to solve.
It's together time that's me time too.
This past Friday after hitting the gong bath we went over to Bardo's, a new coffeshop close to our house. Why not a restaurant? Because neither one of us feels great after eating out. Too many cheap ingredients that leave us feeling bloated, gassy and sluggish. So because we intentionally eat most of our meals at home, I'm always on the look out for ideas on what to do together beyond the restaurant scene. And so last Friday, we choose the coffeeshop where I got a Peppermint tea and Randy got some kind of exotic coffee that smelled like, well, coffee.
At Bardo's we sat shoulder to shoulder and Randy drew out plans he has for upgrades to our house. Not what I wanted to talk about, but I bit my tongue and worked on building my skills in the patience arena. Then we caught up on a 30 day online marriage challenge we're doing via The Gottman Institute. Not what Randy wanted to do, but he played along. And it got him talking. And talking about important things like what our individual and mutual goals are for the rest of the year. So we both left the coffeeshop in a good mood and ready to dive back into our individual and collective lives.
DINNER AND A MOVIE?
While we have a monthly date, I'm hankering for more. More Randy time. More play time.
I want ideas that will help us stay interested in each other.
So I decided to ask for help. I put out a SOS to my fellow health coaches and asked them what THEY DO with their partners and what their recommendations were for Randy and me.
What I got back? Some real gems. I'm inspired and motivated by their ideas and I know you'll be too. With Valentine's Day just around the corner it's worth a look.
Relationship Date Ideas from 15 Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches:
- Women typically bond face to face while men bond shoulder to shoulder so when we plan our dates we keep that in mind. Some ideas that are energizing to him are mini-golf, going on walks downtown, seeing a movie together or watching a game, where I prefer coffee or dinner dates where we can look each other in the face and just talk. We try to be aware of both needs and flexible to fill both of our cups with this in mind
- My hubby and I started doing one night a month away from home. Went to a nice dinner, movie and hotel. The fact that we did not have to rush home and could just be together with no kids coming in our room to ask questions is priceless
- Ice skating
- We regularly do swim dates, gym dates and cycle dates. We also have done cooking courses. And the ever popular “kitchen disco” where we cook together and put on good music and dance. We also go to concerts, movies, the theatre
- Hiking, kayaking, gun range, snowshoeing, goecahing, shopping, bowling, archery range, darts at a bar, roller skating, hockey game, ball games, local high school sports games
- We enjoyed reading and discussing the book Five Love Languages together
- Take turns picking the date night activity. Allow him to pick without your input. It may not be something you're crazy about doing but it will make him feel empowered that he gets to choose. I watch baseball games and westerns with my husband because he enjoys it. In return he watches romantic comedies and goes ballroom dancing for me
- I'm practicing the art of listening. When my husband gets home from work I just listen for the first 15 minutes or so. If he doesn't initiate conversation then I give him some quiet time for the same amount of time before I start sharing about my day
- You might watch Tony Robbins on YouTube. He has several wonderful relationship videos and they're free
- Great book.....From this Day Forward
- For us it's usually going for a long walk or hike in nature somewhere and having a dinner date at a nice restaurant every couple of months
- Write down all of the things that you’d like to do in your own town that you’ve never done or in close towns, and all of your bucket list things you can think of. Cut them all up and keep them in a basket and then pull one out randomly and see if it’s doable
- Sometimes it can be fun and sexy to do something physically competitive with each other, either through an intense one-on-one sport, like squash; or join a group tango class. And though I've never tried these myself, some couples love Star Wars roleplaying or paintball-type activities together
- I’ve recently tuned in to Esther Perel - Mating in Captivity- she also has a podcast on relationships
- Take a few days and go camping in nature. Walk each day together, in nature. Build on your character strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence
Inspired much? Yes.
I tried to get Randy to read the 5 Love Languages a few years ago but it didn't go over well. Even though it's a short read, he wasn't interested. He wanted the 30 second summary.
But Kitchen Disco? Hiking? Tango? A hotel once a month? Some of these things he would love.