Friday, May 27, 2011

Date Your Mate Friday

Today I am excited to have Jenni from Carlisle Clan Conversation guest post on Date Your Mate! Jenni is a blog friend turned real life friend, who has one of the biggest hearts I know. She is awesome, beautiful, funny, compassionate, and has a heart that rejoices in the Lord. She makes me happy and ever since I was blessed to meet her in person at Creative Estates...I find myself missing her on a daily basis. Is that weird? To miss someone you've only briefly met? I don't think so. And once you get to know Jenni - I think you'll agree with me!

Hi lovelies, I'm Jenni from Carlisle Clan Conversation and I'm so excited to share my thoughts on dating my mate with Bringing Up Burns readers today!  I wanted to give you a little background on me and my guy first.

The Hubby, Randy and I, met senior year in high school. After fighting my urge to fall for him, I did and hard.  He pursued my heart and told me shortly after dating that he wanted to marry me.  We got pregnant the summer after we graduated and in a whirlwind, we moved in together, had a baby, and got married.  Starting off a tad backwards has made us be very intentional about our time together and building a strong foundation for our marriage and for our children.

There are four areas that I think make or break our dates.
Time   Money   Childcare   Variety

I can't encourage you enough if your schedule permits, schedule your dates into your weekly, and/or bi-weekly, monthly schedule.  Just as Dr. appointments are important to make and keep, so are dates ladies.  Dating your spouse is maintenance that affects not only your relationship with your Hubby, but your families well being too. 

I am crazy frugal.  Date Nights don't have to be expensive, they don't even have to cost anything. Again, whatever blesses your budget for dates, budget it's important. I promise if you work it in to your budget, the stress from how to pay for it alleviates itself.
Here are some frugal date options:
  • Enjoy what your local town has to offer.  Check out your local calendar and schedule dates around local happenings. Local parks are great for picnics, do a photo shoot with your mate at local landmarks, visit a local arboretum, hikes/walks, anything local and free or inexpensive. Summer is a great opportunity, our local community offers concerts in the fun!
  • Food is typically what eats your budget...literally. Mix it up.  Cook a meal at home and go out for desserts, go to dinner at a local eatery who has half prize appetizers and eat that for dinner, sign up for coupons to your favorite restaurants, eat your favorite fast food or quick dining, pick one date night to do a more expensive date night and have less expensive dates the rest of the month.
  • Sign up for online discount sites, such as Living Social and Groupon who offer local discounted dining and entertainment options to curb costs. A lot of time we buy great deals and save them, planning our dates around the deals we have purchased.
  • Ask for gift cards as gifts from parents, in laws, etc to add to the 'Date Fund'.
We are so very blessed to have family locally {and lots of it} to help care for our littles.  If that isn't an option for you, I encourage you talk with your spouse about reasonable childcare rates and what you are looking for in a childcare provider.  Start with friends who share your parenting style and see if a Mommy friend would like to be your go to sitter. Even better? Work out a childcare swap with that friend.  Maybe you have an elderly family friend who is a stand in Grandma and would jump at the chance to love on your babes? Perfect! I would also check with your childcare provider, after school care, Church youth group...any trusted extension of people who pour into your kidlets and who would be a good fit for your family.  If family isn't an option and finances are slim, get creative.  Maybe you have a gifting that can serve as payment, such as sewing, cooking, crafting, handy man services, etc.  Barter away!  Lastly, we do many evening dates at home after we have put our children to bed....just remember if you have scheduled a date in, put away the cell phones and laptops! :)

Dinner and a movie is great, but variety keeps the fire going longer.  
Here are some ideas to try out:
  • Make a meal together...go all out!  Select new recipes, set the table, create a beautiful ambiance....dress up even!
  • Game Night, choose a game {make sure it doesn't cause arguments} and make snacks.
  • Discount Theater, splurge at the snack bar!
  • Take turns planning for one another based on each others interests. Invest in one anothers interest, even if you don't love their choice, focus on being with your mate!
  • Volunteer, serving side by side stirs your heart for others and for one another!
  • Be a kid!  Play putt putt or go to an arcade and slip some quarters in the dance game...laugh at yourselves and have fun!
  • Once a year plan an over night getaway.  Again, no need to be expensive.  Maybe you have a friend with a time share who can spare a night.  Maybe a sibling is out of town who lives in a nearby city.  Just a change of scenery can be nice!

No matter what dating your mate looks like to your budget, your tastes, your family...treasure it.  Invest and pour into your spouse every chance you get!

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Erin Burns said...

Love all your ideas Jenni! Matt and I do "Date Night In" almost every week. I love it =)

Janna said...

Love this post!

Just last Friday, when my mom was here watching the babies, we rode our bikes to a beautiful park to play tennis and eat a picnic and it was an awesome date!

Nicole M said...

awesome! this was great. thanks Erin and Jenni for the great ideas and insight.. how fun to do all those things.

Heather :: AFD Jewelry :: said...

Love all of your ideas, Jenni!

carlisle clan conversation... said...

Thanks lovelies, dating my mate is one of my favorite things to do! XO

hannah singer said...

LOVE this.
great ideas too! xo

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