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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rekindle Your Romance Date Night #3: Plan!

We need a date night plan! Without one, Jason and I will stay home, relax, and settle into our comfy rut. I mean, we've been developing this rut for a long time. (Ahem, a few decades.) Sometimes, having a rut to share with your spouse sounds great. Like the weather is terrible. We're exhausted at day's end. And if you're like us, you're playing catch-up after Christmas spending. So staying home may seem like the perfect solution.

Yet, what about romance?
What about the date night challenge?
What about spending quality romantic time with your spouse as much as you can in 2018?

I confess, this week, we didn't have a plan.

However, in full disclosure, after my workshop last Saturday, Jason suggested we go to dinner. So we went to a restaurant, chatted about the workshop, and talked about the type of house we should live in next. But, as thoughtful as the outing was, it wasn't a date.

You know what I mean, right? There's a difference between the things we do on a regular basis as a married couple--eating together, shopping, watching TV--and the things we do when we're focused on being romantic and dating. For each couple it's different. For me it means flirty glances, hand-holding, stolen kisses, and experiencing something new together. And did I mention ... flirting? (Yes, even as a long-time married couple, flirting with each other is still part of our dance.)

Actual dating is something new for us, and we can easily slip back into our stay-at-home comfort zone. However, my goal for this year is for us to date more and focus on rekindling our romance.

How about you?
Do you and your spouse have a date night plan?

If not, may I recommend my free resource "Rekindle Your Romance! 50+ Date Night Ideas for Married Couples?" I apologize for the blatant advertising. But, hey, it is free. It's packed with ideas for date nights. Couples can use the suggestions they like, and hopefully the 50+ ideas will stir up some creative date night possibilities of your own.

For us, we need to talk about our plans early in the week, or else too many days can pass without us dating or working on rekindling our romance.

Then we get too comfy in our rut.
Perhaps, feel bored.
Or even get grumpy.
(Or is that only me?)

Spontaneity has its place in marriage too. I'm all for surprises. An unexpected romantic getaway sounds fabulous, especially in the middle of winter.

But I also like having something to look forward to.
I enjoy daydreaming about Jason and me dating.
Where shall we go next?
Is there a local venue we haven't explored lately?

Where will you go with your spouse this weekend?
What are you going to see or do?
Remember, both of you can come up with ideas. If you can't agree on one, toss a coin. Go with one of your ideas this week, and your spouse's idea next week. The point is to go. Have fun. Be together.

Hold hands.
Smile at each other.
Tell each other special things along the way.
Whisper sweet nothings during that movie or walk.
Share ideas.

Let's make our marriages stronger, happier, and more fun!

Plan something enjoyable with your spouse for tonight or tomorrow, or next week.
Dating your husband/wife is worth every bit of effort it takes: planning, saving, getting a babysitter, etc. If you have a tight budget, that's okay. It's not about going anywhere fancy. It's about being together, being romantic, and having fun.

Date your spouse!

Mary Hanks writes about second chances, marriage restoration, and rekindling romance. Visit

If you missed the first two blogs in this Date Night series, check out:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rekindle Your Romance Date Night #2

Last week, I asked Jason if he would date me. And he said, "Yes."
(Big smile.)
It's easy for us to get busy with life, or to feel lazy and stay home, and forget about dating each other.
We're great friends. That in itself is pretty cool after forty years of marriage.
It might be easy to think friendship is enough.
But I still want to experience romance with the man I love.
I like for us to remember what drew us together in the first place.
And to talk about those things.

So we're dating.
And I'm sharing a little of our journey as we date as a married couple.

For many, a weekly date night is nothing new. If you've been dating your spouse regularly, good for you! You are a giant step ahead of us.
But for those who have kind of forgotten what it means to date, this blog might serve as a tiny reminder to rekindle your romance.

Things to think about:

  • Dressing up can be fun. And it says something, doesn't it? You're worth a little fuss. I'm putting my going-out face on just for you! I've been looking forward to our time together.
  • Going somewhere new can be a fabulous shared experience. And making new memories together can be priceless.
  • Dating doesn't have to cost a lot of money to be special.
  • Holding hands with your spouse is a beautiful connection.
  • Kissing in the car (or on a walk) is still exciting.

One time, before we were married, Jason pulled up to a stop sign in a quiet neighborhood and gave me a big kiss. Guess who happened to drive by just then? Yep, my mother! (I was sixteen.) Oh, was she mad! And, boy, was I embarrassed! That night, I got a huge lecture about never doing that again--especially on our way back from church. (Yikes!)

But you know what? Ahem. Forty-plus years later, I still like stolen kisses from my sweetheart. It's exciting. And maybe a little sneaky--still. (Giggle.)

Not too long ago, I got an idea to compile a list of inexpensive places to go for date nights, so I asked some of my married friends to help me generate ideas. We came up with over fifty suggestions! Isn't that cool?

Here's #34 from Rekindle Your Romance:
  • Use Coupons for your next outing. Clip those coupons to go to a restaurant for less—or to one you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. One of my contributors said they like to go to a discount movie and then use coupons or a buy one/get one free deal at a restaurant. This is a great “deal” date night.

The thing about using coupons or a gift card is that you can go places together where you haven't been before, or to somewhere you haven't been able to afford. For our date night, we didn't clip a coupon, but Jason had received a Christmas gift card from his employer to a restaurant we think of as too expensive for us. So, on Saturday night, we went to that restaurant for a nice meal and an enjoyable time together. We did a lot of smiling and talking. Remember, dating is something you do intentionally. It's spending quality time with your spouse, sharing the experience, and bonding together. And it's practicing those little romantic things that add spice to your relationship.

We're more of the get-a-hamburger couple. But in my younger days, a great meal out meant a steak and a baked potato with the trimmings. Your special food might be sushi or a buffet dinner or going somewhere with a great view of a lake. On this date night, we both ordered steak and a potato. Knowing we had the gift card to cover half of our expenses helped in our decision-making. You can see I like mine well-done! (If you don't eat meat, I apologize for the photo.)

I have to admit, even with the $25 gift card we went a little over the $25 date-night budget.

But we had a great time. And the company was pretty fantastic.

Dating is a bit of a novelty for us. Yes, we're that older, comfortable couple. But I want to keep experiencing romance with my man. And now that we live in town, we can go places easier than we could living in the country. I'm also collecting date night ideas. And I'm hoping you'll catch the spirit of dating your spouse too!

If it's been a while since the two of you have spent time doing fun things together, maybe you should ask your spouse for a date. Remind him he's "still the one."

I did. And we're still having fun!

Remember those things that drew you together in the first place.
Hold hands.
Sneak a few kisses.
Have fun making new memories.

Since Jason and I started dating again, I find myself daydreaming about our next date. Where shall we go next? What can we do that would rekindle our romance? Aren't his eyes beautiful? See there! Dating my spouse is already rekindling our romance!

If you'd like some fun (inexpensive) ideas for dating your spouse, get the free resource, Rekindle Your Romance! HERE.

Mary Hanks writes stories about second chances, marriage restoration, and rekindling romance. Visit her website at

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rekindle Your Romance Date Night #1

Married couples, have you been on any date nights (days) lately?

With jobs and family and household responsibilities, our date nights can get put on the back burner. Let's change that up in 2018! I challenge you to go out and have more adventures with your spouse this year.

You can even start with something simple like we did.

From Rekindle Your Romance Date Night Ideas #1:

  • Hiking together, or even walking hand in hand, can be an inexpensive, yet memorable, day out. Other than the food you pack, possibly gas, or an entrance fee (rare), this is a day you won’t soon forget. Remember how it was when you were first dating? Flirt a little along the trail! Kiss at every bridge or switchback on the path. Take silly selfies. Laugh and have loads of fun together.

A group of fourteen ladies and I gathered over 50 date night ideas--under $25 each--with married couples in mind. Jason and I need a little prompting to get out and have more fun. So we are taking the challenge! Who's with me? Will you take the challenge to date your sweetie more often in 2018?

I'm even going to blog about our adventures and misadventures of dating at 40+ years of marriage! Truth is, we could use a little romance rekindling. Couldn't you? We still want to have fun together, and I bet you do too!

To kick off our challenge, we started with something familiar. Jason and I went on a Sunday afternoon date to a place where we've walked and talked in other seasons. But this time, it was smack-dab in the middle of winter. We wore mittens/gloves and held hands--better to get closer and keep each other warm. And per the instructions, we found a couple of places to sneak a kiss. (Ahem, no pictures of the kissing.)

The boat dock and park by the Resort in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is one of our fave places to hike. You can see Tubs Hill in the background--which was a setting in Winter's Past. Normally, this area is jam-packed with boats, and I love looking at them. But it's mostly empty now.

However, there were a few boats snuggled up tight for the winter:

After we circled the dock, we walked all the way around the park. Then we found coffee and hot chocolate in the Resort Mall--for a grand total of $10 (including tip). A pretty cheap date, huh?

But getting to walk and talk with the man I love? Priceless! It felt great to get outdoors and exercise together too. We talked and reminisced and bonded.

And that's the good stuff that should happen on a date, right?

Here's your challenge: date your spouse this week! Maybe you can go on a walk/hike, chat, and end up at a coffee shop. If you need some inspiration, download Rekindle Your Romance! Use the ideas that sound just right for both of you.

Do you accept the challenge?

Here's to lots of dating with your husband/wife in 2018!

Romance makes the journey sweeter.