Marriage, married life, relationship skills

25 Free or Cheap Date Ideas That Isn’t Netflix or Redbox

Dating our spouse is important, but can be so expensive!  You can spend quality time with our spouse without breaking the bank.  Netflix or any other streaming services are great, but there so many other FUN things out there that you and your spouse can do and enjoy without it being overly expensive!  

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Here are 25 Dates that Won’t Cost Much!

Have a Fancy Dinner In: 

Dress up in your fanciest clothes, set the table with your best dinnerware, light some candles, and cook your favorite meal to enjoy together.

Bake Together: 

Taste testing is the best part!

Go for a Long Late Night Walk: 

Hold hands and talk!

Play Board Games: 

You could make a friendly wager of loser has to give the winner a massage.

Volunteer: 

Pick a local shelter or cause together.

Workout: 

You can workout at home or hit up a local class you’ve been wanting to try.

Have a Video Game Night: 

Racing games, trivia games, party games, and dancing games can be so fun!

Have a Picnic: 

It can be indoor or outdoor, either way, lay out a blanket and pack a basket!

Bicycling: 

Explore the neighborhood in a new way, or explore a local park.

Watch Funny Videos on YouTube: 

There are plenty of funny compilations online.

Go to an Art Gallery: 

Look up your local art gallery; they sometimes offer free nights to display up and coming artists.

Geocaching: 

There are different websites you can look up that list different places where geocaches are located. Make sure you bring something to leave too!

Go to Open Houses

While there, you can discuss your dream home with each other.

Have a Lip Sync Battle: 

You can even dress up to try to reenact the music video!

Fire and Smores: 

Have a fire in your backyard, snuggle, and make smores together.

Go See a Local Band: 

Many restaurants have live music on weekends and do not require you to eat dinner there to enjoy the music.

Nerf War:

 Borrow the kid’s nerf guns and have a battle!

Go Fishing: 

You can enjoy the peace of the outdoors, and see who has the biggest catch!

Stargazing: 

Drive away from the city, pull over, lay on the hood, and take it all in.

Hiking: 

Look up local trails and go have fun!

Factory Tours: 

Many local factories give free tours, all you have to do is ask!

Thrift Store or Department Store: 

Have a contest to see who can put together the best and/or ugliest outfit. Don’t forget to try them on for each other too!

Water Balloon/Gun Fight: 

Fill them up, and fire away!

Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt: 

Many places allow you to build your own so you can pick as few or as many toppings as you’d like!

Sunset: 

Sit in your car, or bring a blanket for the grass, and watch the sunset together. You can reflect on your time together while you watch the sun slip away.

There you have it!  25 simple, free, or cheap dates for you and your spouse.  What else would you add to the list?

Download your FREE 25 Dates Printable!

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Marriage, married life

10 Ways to Fall Back in Love with Your Husband

After a truly exhausting day, I plopped down on the couch to feed our baby after tucking all the kids into bed. I looked across the room at my husband who was watching a show on his phone. Thanks, Hulu (eyes rolling). We both look at each other but don’t exchange a single word. We both went about our business, him on his phone and me feeding the baby while playing a game on mine. After about 30 minutes my husband asked me if TJ was still eating and I nodded (I mean he was sleep eating…) he then turns to walk into our bedroom. I hear the TV go on, and then the electric toothbrush start… I knew he was getting ready for bed because he had the same routine every night.

TJ continued to halfway eat… If I wanted, I could have put him to bed, but I chose to just sit there and feed our baby. Eventually he finished, but I continued to sit there for another 40 minutes just holding him because I didn’t feel like going to bed, at that point I realized two things: 1. that I somehow had become really passive with my marriage, that I would rather sit on the couch alone than climb into bed and snuggle with my husband and 2. I really needed to change.

Deep down I knew I really loved my husband more than anything, but I felt like somewhere along the lines I forgot how to really love him, maybe it was while we focused all our efforts on blending our family (you have no idea how difficult this is unless you have done it), or maybe it was the move half way across the country from everything I had ever known, or maybe it was adding two more kids into the mix, or possibly it was just that “mom life” had finally taken a toll on me. Whatever it was I was at a crossroads in my mind, 1. that our relationship could continue down this path and we could be great friends raising our kids together, or 2. I needed to change and figure out how to be “in love” with my husband again.

Every relationship, no matter how strong goes through what ours was going through, where you get passive in your relationship when things are less about passion and love and more about friends raising kids with one another.  

At that moment I knew it was up to me to decide… And here’s what I did!

Make the Choice to Change.

At that very moment, I made the choice in my mind and in my heart to change. I wanted to work at what we had and not get back to what we once were, but better than what we were! As I consciously made that choice I instantly felt a little happier, even though I knew that it would take a lot of work and effort.  

Apologize for being so Distant and Cold.

For months I had been pretty distant from my husband and I think the more distant I became I naturally became cold to him. I was no longer the happy wife that was glad to see him when he came home from work or the one who sought out welcoming him home with a kiss after a long day. So that night I climbed into bed with tears in my eyes and apologized for pushing him away for so many months. This was a turning point for us falling back in love with one another.

Look for the Positive in All Things

I began to evaluate my life, not just my marriage and I came to realize that I had become fairly negative in general. There were times I was negative about myself (my hair never looked good, my clothes were ugly), I was negative about things going on (the house was always dirty, the light was always red when I was running late), I was negative about my husband (he’s always late to everything, he works too much) and I realized that I had allowed that negativity to really affect my day to day life, especially with my marriage, so I decided that I needed to look for the positive things that were happening around me. I just refused to let negatively seep back into my life.

Stop Dwelling on What He Doesn’t Do, but Dwell on What He Does Do.

My husband is an amazing man. Every night he cleans up after dinner: he does most of the dishes, he sweeps the floor, and cleans the counters. I know many wives wish they had husbands like this, but I got caught up dwelling on the fact that he didn’t clean the pot that I left on the stove. So every night when he was done I would huff into the kitchen to clean the ONE pot that was not cleaned. I got so stuck on what he didn’t do rather than what he did.

I know that it is so easy to look at a situation and pick out what isn’t being done rather than what is, but this type of thing is harming to our relationship. Rather than saying, “my husband NEVER changes poopy diapers” say, “I am so grateful my husband changes some of the diapers to help me!” Rather than me saying, “my husband ALWAYS forgets to clean the pots,” I need to say, “I am so grateful that my husband helps me so much after dinner so I can get some other things done.” Dwell on what he does do rather than what he doesn’t do.

Appreciate the Small Things

In a world where we are all overscheduled and running around like crazy, it is hard to appreciate the small things because we might begin to just expect them or we just overlook them because we are too busy! My husband a few times a week will just randomly send me a text that says, “I Love You!” Nothing more nothing less… I used to really appreciate these messages because I knew he was thinking about me right then and that he took the time out of his day to send it, but then I got to a point where I wasn’t as appreciative of them; it was sort of like oh that’s nice… “I love you too…” We need to appreciate these small things because as we appreciate them we can understand just how much our husbands love us!

Stop Being Offended All the Time

If you ask my husband I am the most sensitive person he knows. My husband loves sarcasm and I love to become offended by it… I realized to truly fall in love with my husband again I needed to be less sensitive when we are joking around. When I chose to do this, we became closer. He now wasn’t afraid to say something that would cause me to not talk to him for several hours. I was no longer looking for ways to take offense. 

Put Your Husband First.

With so many kids and so many schedules, this was one of the hardest things to do for me, but it is the most necessary when it comes to falling back in love. When we first got married we were able to still spend a substantial amount of time together just the two of us. He knew he was my number one priority, but over the years this shifted a bit. The little kids need me more, the older kids have more activities than they did. My husband and my life were busier with various things. We were giving each other what was left, which equaled on average about 15 minutes a day.

When I decided to put my husband first, we grew closer together. On busy nights I make one of his favorite dinners, rather than what the kids want. Rather than ask what the kid’s want to do after the yard work on Saturday I ask my husband what he wants to do. Rather than pausing a conversation, we are having to answer one of the kid’s questions, I simply tell the kids to wait because we are talking. These simple things allow your spouse to know they are first in your mind.

Stop talking and Start Listening

As women, we love to talk and we love to solve problems. My husband would come home from work and I would want to do all the talking, but I realized that in order to fall back in love I really needed to listen. I needed to listen to what he was thinking, feeling, and struggling with. This allows me to have more compassion and love for him. It allows me to understand better his mood after a long day. 

Stop Comparing Him.

Comparison is an evil thing! It robs you of all your happiness and will eventually eat you up! Love your husband for who he is! Don’t wish he looked like your celebrity heartthrob or did things like “John Smith” down the street. Accept him for who he is and don’t look back.

Made Date Night a Priority.

Date night is now a necessary weekly event in our home because Date Night is cheaper than Divorce! Date night allows us to reconnect after a busy week. It allows us to enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. It shows us that we are a priority to each other! And it shows our kids that our marriage is important as well! Date night for us is never super fancy, but it is our way of getting out and reconnecting as a couple.

Falling back in love is totally possible! I know because I have done it! Yes, it is hard at times because sometimes you think it is easier to just stay where you are. I promise you that as you work on strengthening your relationship you will fall more in love than you were. This will lead to you and him being much happier!

So what do you say? What are you going to do today to fall more in love with your spouse?

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Divorce, Marriage, married life, remarriage, Step Families

An Open Letter to the One I Love

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So many years ago I hit rock bottom, divorced, going to school, raising two boys, trying to make ends meet, and wondering to myself how long this stage of my life would last. I remember like it was yesterday falling to my knees in prayer pleading with God that if he wanted me to get married again that he would literally have to drop someone in my lap because I didn’t have time and I certainly did not want to go through the “high school dating scene” again. That night my head hit the pillow and I dreamed a dream. I was standing on a cliff in a wedding dress marrying the man that would take care of me for the rest of my life.

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A few days later I met you, and at the moment I knew… I knew you were the man in my dreams that I had seen. You were the one that would pick up all my broken pieces and put them back together again. You were the one that would help me learn to trust and that I would give my whole heart to. You were the one that would be patient with me as I questioned everything. You were the one when I was finally ready to get married again you would be there.

We dated for several months, me playing the skeptic the whole time and looking for any red flag that I could and you still stood there silently waiting for me to be ready. You allowed me to question everything about you and about us. Many times I just wanted to give up and stop trying, because that was easy, but something greater than me told me to keep going and keep believing in the process of falling in love with you. I am so glad I listened…

Finally, one day I decided I didn’t want to ever live without you. I wanted to wake up with you next to me and go to bed with you by my side. I wanted you to always be there and share all of life’s joys and sorrows with me. The day you asked me to marry you was one of the best days of my life because I knew you would always be there for me.

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Our wedding was small but beautiful as our life began as one. Since then you have become my best friend and the one I truly love. You have helped me become a better person, a better mom, and a better wife. You have cheered me on with all my dreams and have been there to catch me when they don’t always work out. You have pushed me to try new things and comforted me on my weakest days.

Married life hasn’t always been easy as we have blended our kids together and learned to merge parenting styles, but never once have I wanted to give up on you, or us, or our family because I know hard things are worth it! And let me tell you this life has been 110% worth all the tears, sleepless nights, and frustration to get where we are right now.

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We have come so far in 4 ½ years. We have probably grown as a couple more in this amount of time than most couples do in 15 years of marriage.  We have 5 of the most perfect children all unique and special in their own way. We have a love for one another that I never thought was possible. I have everything I have always wanted in life, because of you. Perfection is something that doesn’t exist, but let me tell you this life to me is perfect, because of you. You have provided, protected, and loved me and the kids unconditionally.

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I have learned more from loving you than I have learned doing anything else in my life.

Through the ups and the downs, there is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes there are more downs than ups, but those are the times where you learn to love more. You have taught me how to love more even through the most difficult of times. I have learned what unconditional love is from watching you with the boys.

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People in the world might look at our life and call it crazy, but I call it perfection. This life is my happy place. I would not trade away this adventure for anything. There was a reason God gave you to me… There was a reason one Summer night I saw the man I would marry in my dreams. I could not be more grateful and honored to call you my husband, to call you my best friend, and the one I get to spend forever with.

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Thank you for loving me, even when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for picking me up when I fall. Thank you for supporting me through life’s toughest challenges. Thank you for keeping me on my toes with your sarcasm and your humor. Thank you for your compassion and love when I fall short of where I want to be. Thank you for your unconditional love you offer me and the kids. Thank you for your strength, your wisdom, and your charm that keeps me going every day. I will always love you!IMG_4723

Love,
Me

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An Open Letter to the One I Love

Marriage, married life, Mom Life, My Life, parenting, relationship skills

To My Husband After Our Baby

To My Husband

To My Husband,

I promise it’s not you… It’s me…

You see it goes like this… All day and all night I am touched. My body is not my own right now. It seems our 4 month old always latched on or attached to me somehow and our two-year-old waddles behind me all day touching my bum and wanting up.

By the end of the day, I have been spit up on, barfed on, drooled on, had snot wiped on me, worn a little breakfast on my sleeve, and now am covered in dinner because someone was “helping me” all without a shower because I just didn’t have time in my day.

I have been pulled on, dragged by the hand to turn on the TV, laid on, and slept on since the moment I woke up this morning.

I don’t remember the last time I actually felt pretty because who feels pretty when they are pregnant and then after a baby you just still feel fat because nothing fits quite right. On top of that who has time to paint their nails, or shave their legs, or put on makeup or do their hair? Certainly not me…

I Just Don’t Have it in Me

By the end of the LONG day of taking care of kids the last thing I want is to be breathed on, touched, or laid on because I have been touched all day. My body is currently not mine. It is shrinking back to normal size as well as fulfilling the purpose of feeding our child.

Every morning when I wake up I make the decision that today is going to be the day when I show you all the affection in the world when you get home from work and I can show you just how much I love you, but then reality hits, and the last thing I want to do is show any more affection or stay up even one minute later after the kids go to bed because I am tired, mentally and physically.

Please Be Patient

So I ask you to please just be patient with me. Please continue to love me even when I push you away. Take me on dates even though at first I complain that I have to put on real clothes. Keep kissing me even though I turn my cheek the other way. Continue to grab my hand when you want me to hold yours… Love me through this stage of our life.

My Promise to You

I promise I want you to touch me and snuggle with me in bed and hear all about your day. My love for you grows each and everyday, even though I might not always say it or show it. My world would be incomplete without you in it. I promise I miss you when you are gone and can’t wait for you to come home each day. One day I will be back to wanting to be touched, wanting to hold your hand, and wanting to be constantly kissed by you. I promise I love you more everyday, and one day when I feel like myself again I will show it. So in the meantime please know that I love you more than anything and just be patient with me.

Love,

Me

Are you struggling after having a baby? Check out this article to reconnect!

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Marriage, married life, My Life, relationship skills, Uncategorized

Surviving Home Improvement!

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Two months before my husband and I got married we bought a fixer-upper in the perfect neighborhood in the city we were living in. We knew he had two months to fix it up and get it to our standard of liveable before we combined households and moved in. I never realized  how difficult it was to survive Home Improvement projects with a spouse! 

This house was disgusting when we bought it; it needed a whole new paint job because of booger stained walls, it needed new carpet because of fecal matter from pets, it smelt like a zoo had been living there for years, the tile floors needed to be stripped down because the previous owners tried a DIY project that obviously went bad, the cabinets were caked with 3 inches of grease, the countertops had lost its grout because of poor maintenance, and the backyard was unfinished. Sadly, this house was only 5 years old and had sustained this much damage and abuse. They always say buy the worst house in the best neighborhood, well we did!

Looking back, we were so ill prepared for what we were going to take on as a “happily engaged” couple. We had set a budget and had an idea of what we needed to do, but that was about it. We were blindly heading into this project having never worked on a project together before, never really talked about decorating, or desires.

I recall our first “discussion” about the house when I realized that renovating a house with anyone, especially my fiance might have been the worst thing I ever decided to do!  One night, we were talking about paint colors and painting when I suggested that we paint the house a few different colors (not all in the same room) to give the house some character. I also suggested we paint the house a nice warm color that was not tan because at that time everyone’s house was tan. The look that was shot across the room for suggesting something other than tan was priceless! He then followed it up  with, “What do you mean a different color, we are painting it tan.”

Continue reading “Surviving Home Improvement!”