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The Fun Dare 12 Dates in 12 Days

The Fun Dare: 12 Dates in 12 Days

The Fun Dare 12 Dates in 12 Days

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’d love to have a date night but just don’t have the time”?  If you’ve uttered those words over the past four weeks I want to challenge you to The Fun Dare!

You can make up for all those date nights you haven’t had -in less than two weeks.  The dates don’t have to be complicated and can all be at home.  The important thing is you set aside the time to do it.

Don’t worry, we’ll supply the date ideas.

Think of this as The Twelve Days of Christmas with your fabulous spouse (minus the drummers drumming, pipers piping and the maids-a-milking) and open up a fabulous new date daily for 12 days.

The important thing with The Fun Dare is to block 12 consecutive days off your calendar (or one day a week for 12 weeks if the consecutive days just aren’t possible) and treat your spouse to the time of their life.

Are you ready to take on the challenge?

Here we go.  Ready.  Set.  Date!

Day 1: Take Dance Lessons.  Yes, you! Don’t go expecting to be on next season’s So You Think You Can Dance, but use this as a great kick off to your Fun Dare.  It’s the perfect way to get up close and personal while burning some calories together!  

Sign up at a local community center for free, find a nearby dance school, or my favorite: Type in “Learn to Dance” on YouTube and pick a video.  From ballroom to hip hop to salsa, you can learn it all for free in the comfort of your own home.

Day 2: Create a Homemade Spa. The simplest, most relaxing date ever.  And after your night of dancing, you might need it!  Pick up some lightly scented candles (lavender is a good choice), a CD with tranquil music and a bit of oil for your couple massages.  Fill the bathtub with warm water and bubbles and treat one another to a nice soak followed by a relaxing massage.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try giving each other facials or scrubs.  And if you’re really feeling generous, give each other manicures and pedicures.

Day 3: Play Librarian.  It’s not Halloween so don’t go pulling out your “sexy librarian” costume.  Drive to your local library and once inside, walk up and down the aisles looking for books that remind you of your school years.  Bring as many back to the table and share with each other your various stories of why each book made an impression on you.  Books, like music, have a funny way of sending us down memory lane.  And your spouse will love learning even more about you.

Day 4: Exchange New Marriage Vows. There is something incredibly sacred about vowing to love one another til’ death do you part. And the many commitments between your first words and that final line are something worth celebrating.  Sit across from each other and set the timer for 60 minutes.  You can use a dictionary, the computer, and anything else that will inspire you to write the best vows.  After they’re done, spend time reading it to one another and then toast with a glass of champagne (or apple cider).

Day 5: Build a Campfire in Your Backyard.  One of my dear friends rented a home for more than 10 years and I’m convinced the reason she loved it there so much was the fire pit she built in the backyard.  Don’t worry, the grass will grow back!  But even more likely, you won’t want it to.  Camille and her hubby built their own and I also found this great tutorial online by Debbie Graney.

Once you’re done, grab a couple chocolate bars, some graham crackers and marshmallows and celebrate all your hard work with freshly made S’mores.  And if you happen to do this at night, don’t forget to look up.  Stargazing together is about as romantic as romantic gets.

Day 6: Game Night Circa 1990.  What board games were you playing 23 years ago?  If you or your spouse are too young to remember, change the “circa” to any year you’d like.  We know those board games exist somewhere.  In the attic, maybe the closet or basement.  Wherever they are, break them out and enjoy game night like you’re kids again.  And if you’re up for it, try a sexy game night (definitely put the kids to bed for this one :) ).

Day 7: Get Fancy!  Host a Wine and Cheese Night for Two.  You would be amazed at the great wines being sold these days for less than $10 per bottle.  Couple that with some delicious cheeses sold in the deli section of your local grocery store and you’re ready for an awesome date night at home.  Don’t worry about buying one of the fancy trays to display the cheese, your chopping block will do do the trick.

Day 8: Become a Connoisseur.  Pick something.  Anything that interest you.  And become a connoisseur.  For Keith’s 39th birthday, we became of connoisseurs of…tamales!  I looked up reviews for every place in the Los Angeles area that served tamales and then went to the eight with the best reviews.  We even invited family to join us at a few of the stops. For 8 hours, we drove from north to south and east to west in search of the best tamales in town (and this is a big town).   

Day 9: Don’t Stop Til’ You Drop.  Find a coupon online (Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Local, etc) for a trendy new workout and jump right in.  Spinning and power yoga combined (mine and hubby’s favorite), Crunch Fitness, indoor surfing, CrossFit – there’s never a shortage of the workout studios cropping up all over town.  And if, by chance, you can’t find one with a discount coupon (or even better, a “try your first class free” offer), or if the kiddos make it tough to leave the house, find a workout video or instructional online that will make you sweat.  

There’s nothing like panting with your partner after a good workout and barely mustering the energy to give each other a high five.  Good times!

Day 10: Start a Home Improvement Project.  What one thing in your home would you and your spouse both enjoy fixing up?  Maybe paint a room a new color, build a bird house, create a couple’s collage, or stain the hardwood floors.  Whatever you do, just remember the operative phrase here is “both enjoy.”  

Day 11: Enjoy a Movie in the Open Air.  Did you know there are still hundreds of drive-in theaters all around the US?  Thank goodness, this style of movie watching didn’t die with Grease.  Park your car, lean your seat back and enjoy a movie with you honey (popcorn fight and all).  Need a stay-at-home version of this date?  Pitch a tent in your living room, bring the television inside, and then snuggle under a blanket while watching your favorite movie on DVD.

Day 12: Check Something Off Your Bucket List.  You and your spouse both have bucket lists, don’t you?  Well, find something on there that’s doable for you both to do and help cross one thing off each of your bucket lists…together.  I can’t think of a better way to end your Fun Dare than with helping one another fill one of your lifelong goals.

(MOMS: Have no fear, parent-friendly modifications can easily be made. And if you have young ones at home and need more ideas that allow you stay close to your little ones, try our Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas.  Also, check out the this post with tips from Annett Davis who gives a great tip on how you and your husband can take this challenge (it’s called “kids swap“).

QUESTION: So tell us, are you going to take the challenge?  What do you think will be your first date? (Share your response on our community Facebook page with over 1 million members.)

P.S. If you have an anniversary coming up, this is a FANTASTIC gift to give your husband.  Begin your anniversary twelve days early and save your best date for last.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Happy Wives Club Book

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book like none other.  Guaranteed.

How to Make Date Night Happen When You're Parents - Kid Swap 101

How to Make Date Nights Happen When You’re Parents: Kid Swap!!

How to Make Date Night Happen When You're Parents - Kid Swap 101

When I posted The Fun Dare: 12 Dates in 12 Days challenge, many parents were discouraged; it’s as if they were missing out on all the fun.

Even when I suggested modifying most of the dates to stay-at-home, and spreading the 12 dates out over 12 consecutive weeks, some still couldn’t wrap their brain around how this could be done with children.  

I didn’t have the solution until US Olympian Annett Davis posted a comment saying exactly how she and her husband of eighteen years were going to pull this off.  

I immediately sent her a text and asked if she’d share their brilliant practice with you.  Get ready…this is gooooood.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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I know what you are thinking.  I have kids, I can’t do one date night, let alone the 12 suggested in The Fun Dare!  Think again.  I’ve got two words for you…Kid Swap!!!

On a beautiful fall day 18 years ago I married the man of my dreams.  We purposefully waited before trying to have children. Why?  Because we wanted to enjoy each other every day, selfishly, without having to care for little ones.

Fast forward to today.  We are actually more happily married than we were in the beginning, and now have two amazing children.  Sure spontaneity went out the window the moment we had kids, but that didn’t mean our fun date nights had to go with it, and neither does yours.

What’s a couple to do?

Kid Swap 101

A few years ago we came up with a fabulous idea.  We have a neighborhood full of amazing folks with kids around the same age as ours.  Our kids have been playing together for years.  One day it hit us.  Why in the world were we forking out $30 or more per date night, just for the babysitter, when we could be babysitting each others kids, for free?!?!

Here’s how the kid swap works. 

1.  Find a friend or neighbor that you trust with your kids. 

2.  Pick a day and time that works best for both couples.  It’s okay to have a daytime date.  There’s no rule that says you have to go out after 7pm. :)   Sometimes with little ones dates work better during the daytime so that it doesn’t interfere with their nighttime routine.

3.  If your child has allergies, make sure you bring your own snacks to share.  You can also take your children’s favorite toys, games, or movies to ensure a good time.

4.  Make this a regular occurrence, not just a one time thing.  In my case, my neighbor Ani takes our kids every Friday night so that my husband and I can go out.  Then on Saturday night we take her kids.  The children play games, watch movies, have snacks, they have a blast! What kid wouldn’t want two extended play dates with their friends every week?

We all know that date nights are extremely important.  Not only are we kindling the flames of our relationship with our mates, but our children are learning something important too.  When you go out on a date, your child sees how much you value each other.  They see that your relationship with your mate is so great that you do lots of fun, cool, and amazing things together to keep it going. 

What a marvelous example we set for our children. My daughter’s eyes light up, in a Disney Princess type of way, whenever I tell her that her father and I are going on a date. She wants me to dress up, and wear make-up for him.  I love how excited she gets seeing us date.  Doing a weekly kid swap makes this happen much more often than it used to, it has certainly made our marriage sizzle.  We are going to use the kid swap to do The Fun Dare, and I hope you do too!

QUESTION: How do you make sure your date night happens? Tell us on our community Facebook page where over a million women join us.

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JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

Happy Wives Club Book

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book like none other.  Guaranteed.

date ideas

9 Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Coming up with fresh date ideas when you’re married can be tough.  Having to be mindful of a budget can make it even tougher.

But there are a number of things you and your hubby can do together that are fun, exciting and won’t break the bank. All you need is a little ingenuity and an open mind.  

Volunteer

Giving back to the community isn’t only fulfilling (both for yourself and others), but it’s a great way to meet and talk to people from different backgrounds who will stimulate your senses and satisfy your entertainment needs.

It’s a great opportunity for you and your husband to spend some time together, while sharing an amazing experience and giving back to your community. It also offers the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about others.

Also, concerts, festivals and other types of events are always looking for volunteers. If you’re into the music scene, this is the perfect solution to getting to hear your favorite tunes while not having to pay for it.

If you don’t quite know where to volunteer or how to get started, try resources like Volunteer Match to find an organization near you.

Play a Game

Okay, this idea may seem a little stale, but you will really be surprised by the number of laughs you and your man will share.  It’s the perfect excuse to order a pizza, grab some cheap beer or wine, and break out a game like Scattergories or Life. It can be played as many or as few times as you’re interested in, and the results can be quite hilarious. They also aren’t so competitive that you’ll end up bitter at each other (cough, cough, Monopoly).  

Plant a Garden

Growing your own garden isn’t just entertaining, it’s good for the environment and helps you save money, not to mention spruces up your home’s exterior. If you’re a couple that likes being outdoors and active, this is a great way to spend the day together and be productive. Head to your local nursery and pick out a variety of plants and flowers to plant in the ground or for a lesser commitment, in big, beautiful pots.

All-Out Movie Night

For a relaxing and indulgent Friday night after a hectic week, plan a movie night… but not just your regular DVD and microwave popcorn movie night. Get a cheap bottle of wine, make some caramel popcorn, bring bed pillows out to the living room, light some candles and put on your favorite pajamas.

Rather than having to go out to rent a movie or watch one you’ve seen a hundred times, utilize the movies offered by your cable provider or services like Hulu or Netflix. Movies are brand new, well-priced and involve no extra effort to watch. These little details can make a standard movie night into a romantic and relaxing night in.

Flea Market Finds

If your man is game, get up early on a weekend, grab a cup of coffee and head out to your local flea market. The opportunity to find something unique and affordable for your home is something you both will love. Turn it into a contest to see who can find and repurpose the best piece; channel your inner HGTV hosts and see what your imagination is capable of.

Drinks & Dessert

Don’t you hate when you go to a restaurant and at the end of the night they give you the dessert menu and you’re either too full or too money conscious to order one of the decadent treats? Make that a date! Eat a light meal at home, then head out to your favorite restaurant to enjoy a glass of wine and share a fantastic dessert.

Baby/Pet Sitting

Have friends with kids or a dog, but you don’t? Do them a favor and offer to take their kid(s) (either fur or human!) for a few hours on a weekend. Take the kids to a museum, park, or aquarium, or take a hike with their pooch. It’ll give you and your husband a chance to get a glimpse into life with children, while giving your friends a much needed break.

Cook-Off

Do you and your husband have a favorite food show? Try recreating it together, and inviting a friend or two over to be the judge. Make a spending and time limit for both and get to cookin’! You’ll end up with two fabulous meals (great for leftovers!) and the chance to spend time together. If you’re not feeling competitive, assign one of you to the main course and the other to sides and appetizers and collaborate for an awesome meal.

Coupons

Want to do a traditional dinner date, but are afraid of the bill? Check sites like Groupon and Living Social to find deals on restaurants in your area. Many have deals that offer discounts on your entire meal, free appetizers, or coupons that give you double the money (Pay $15, get a $30 gift card). It will also encourage you to try new spots.

 

Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

We all know how important frequent date nights are for keeping the fire burning with our spouse. 

But when money is tight, or a babysitter is nowhere to be found, keeping a regular date night can be a challenge.  We’re here to help!

We’ve scoured the web, looking for the best, cheapest, most creative stay-at-home date night ideas and compiled a list of the top 20 we found online.

So grab your hubby, put the kids down for the night, and get your date night on!

  1. Iron Chef Chocolate: Make a meal with chocolate featured in every course. Who says chocolate can’t be served as a main course? You can either make a meal together or divide up the courses between each of you and surprise the other with your sweet & savory creations.

  2. Strip Trivia: Make it a hot night with this sizzling bedroom game. Tease each other with one steamy question at a time to set one another on fire!

  3. Make It a Theme Night! Choose a theme and center everything you do around it. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, you could eat spaghetti and gelato, then watch a movie like The Italian Job or Life is Beautiful. Some other fun theme ideas: Mexican, Asian, Christmas, Kid’s theme, 1950′s (or any decade), etcetera.

  4. Living Room Camp-Out: Get anything you have that makes you feel like your camping out and set it up in your living room (i.e. camping chairs, turn off the lights and use flashlights, blanket…). Make tin foil dinners in your oven for the dinner.

  5. Crepes in Paris (no ticket required): Spend an evening in Paris right in your very own home enjoying create-your-own-crepes and creative spouse caricatures. So fun!

  6. Create a DIY Photoshoot:  When’s the last time the two of you were in the same photo? Using your tripod or Apple photo booth, snap pics together in various rooms of your home for memories you’ll never forget.

  7. Kid-Free Slumber Party: Make a cozy pallet for you and your spouse on the living room floor [with] lots of blankets, pillows, snacks, and movies. We call it a ‘slumber party.  It’s a little silly, but super fun and makes us enjoy the little things in life.

  8. All Dressed Up & Nowhere to Go: Pull out your nicest formal dress from your last cruise or even from your high school or college prom (if yours still fits.. good for you! I’m not even close to fitting into mine), light dozens of tea candles, and have a romantic, fancy dinner.

  9. Out of Character: Dress up as an actor from a movie and pick the character for each other (think Tom Cruise in Risky Business).

  10. Dream Date by Design: Design your own Dream Date with an easy survey! Have your sweetheart do one also, to create two amazing dates!

  11. Turn Your Bedroom Into a Love Nest: I purchased a bed canopy years ago. Occasionally I’ll pull it out, dust it off and put it up for the night. Then I fill the room with candlelight and other sundry romantic items and pretend that Mr. Beguiles and I are tucked away in a sumptuous hotel room or cottage somewhere.

  12. Karaoke Night - oh yeah! Find songs with lyrics on YouTube and sing your heart out. This is funniest if you can find some heart-wrenching ballads to belt out.

  13. Dance the night away: It has all the intimacy of a club without the downside of slipping in spilled drinks. Rehash the days of the high school dance. Turn down the lights, turn up the music and be sure to dance two feet apart. Just kidding! Getting close is the point, and what better way to get close to your spouse than dancing in your own private gala?

  14. Vacation Planning Date: Turn planning your next vacation into a fabulous and fun date night with our great printables!

  15. Get a Taste of Another Culture: Plan out a delish meal of Paella and sangria, prepare it together and then dig in. Love Indian? Make your own Chicken Tikka Masala.

  16. Write out the story of how you met (and fell in love): Better yet- video tape it! Your kids and future posterity will be so grateful and it is so fun to go back and read (or watch) years down the road. It’s amazing how much you will forget!

  17. Wine Bar at Home: Buy a few different bottles of wine (get 20 great picks under $20), make a plate of meats and cheeses, light some candles and load up your iPod with your favorite tunes.

  18. Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue!  Celebrate your lifelong commitment to your sweetheart with this “Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue” themed date! This date is a true celebration of love.

  19. Play the Newlywed Game! See how well you really know one another. Have prizes for every correct answer. You can check out some fun questions here.

  20. It’s a Love Match! Create some sparks with your sweetheart with this free printable that puts a romantic spin on the classic game of Memory!

Didn’t find something on this list that floats your boat?  Find an endless amount of creative and cheap stay-at-home date nights at my absolute favorite date night site: The Dating Divas.  These fabulous ladies love their hubbies and have made a career out of sharing their awesome date night ideas with us.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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the argument free marriage book

 

THE BOOK: Read the book that inspired the powerful TED talk and prompted author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, PhD., to write the book’s foreword. Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, bestselling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts said, “We’ve been counseling couples and writing marriage books for a long time, and we can say with absolute certainty, there has never been a book quite like The Argument-Free Marriage. If you think no such union exists, or if you’ve come to the conclusion that arguments are necessary in marriage, allow Fawn to challenge that notion and set you on a path to creating the greatest partnership in life: your marriage.”

Free Date Idea

Free Date Idea: Take a Fantasy Tour Around the Globe

Happy anniversary!  Can you believe it’s been a full year since the Happy Wives Club book was released on January 7, 2014.  Where did the time go?

Since it is, technically, it’s birthday or anniversary, or whatever celebratory thing you want to call it, how about we create a brand new -and scrumptiously unique- date idea?

Free date ideas are the best kind in my book. With at least 52 potential weekly date nights in a year, you can never have too many ideas to choose from. And if your hubby is like mine and loves variety, it’s a great idea to have a few plans in your back pocket and ready to go.

Today we are combining food, travel, TV, *and* using a little inspiration from the Happy Wives Club book– what’s not to love?

One of my favorite parts of the Happy Wives Club book was feeling like I was seeing, smelling and tasting all the places Fawn went to interview happy couples and learn their secrets to happy marriages.

When I was thinking about a FUN and FREE date night idea, I remembered how much fun The Hubs and I have watching House Hunters International and fantasizing about whether or not we would ever live anywhere but home.

Soooo I thought it would be even more fun to go on a fantasy vacation, inspired by the fabulous locales in the Happy Wives Club Book and approved by the hubby!

What you will need:

1. Laptop or Tablet – to cue up the Travel Channel’s website.

I suggest taking all the links below and opening them in new tabs, that way they are cued up and ready to go so you have the mechanics out of the way and can snuggle and discuss as you go along the tour.

2. Some yummy food – check out great snack ideas inspired by the book (see links to fabulous recipes at the end of every country I’ve listed below.)

3. A little conversation – one of my favorite things to do with the hubby is PAUSE THE TV and DISCUSS. Would we want to go there? What do we want to see? Is it a “must-go-before-we-die-place?” or a “would-be-nice-but-eh-place?”

Ready for the World Tour? (You don’t even need a passport! Score.)

Cape Town, South Africa

This one is on my own bucket list. I loved this video because I must admit, I was curious to see the South African version of McDonald’s. It does not disappoint.

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/mcfeasting-in-south-africa

The recipes from this fabulous part of the world:

http://www.food.com/recipes/south-african

And who could forget about the red cappuccino’s Fawn raved about, and are only served as espresso’s in South Africa? Well, this may not be identical but I think we found a way to enjoy the taste without needing to take the flight:

http://capepointpress.com/rooibos-cappuccino-latte/ 

Perth, Australia

When I was a kid Olivia Newton John was one of my idols (thank you, Grease! And yes, it’s still the word.) So Australia has been magical and beautiful since I was 13. When Oprah went during her final season, I fell in love with it all over again.

When I was looking for the most viewed videos on Australia it turned out to be a review of their Superman roller coaster.

That reminded me of one of the things I just love about travel – the way you can plan a thousand details and yet a place will surprise you and the last thing you thought you would ever do there turns out to be your favorite part.

So, here is the link to Superman Down Under -

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/superman-flies-down-under

And a little dive into the Great Barrier Reef –

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/dive-into-the-great-barrier-reef-11550

And a little 5 Star Spa Day to relax after all that exploring!

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/lilianfels-spa-and-resort

And we can’t forget some great local recipes from down under (or what the locals call “Oz”) -

http://www.abc.net.au/perth/recipes/ 

Mauritius

Since we are half way around the world already, let’s just hop over to Mauritius for some “Street Eats” and snacks.

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/mauritian-mash-up

Don’t forget to try out some of the fabulous Creole food from Mauritius -

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/cuisine/mauritian

Or you can do what Fawn did when dining with a French couple married more than half a century, enjoy some fabulous (and buttery) French cuisine -

http://www.foodandwine.com/french-recipes

Europe – Rome & London

Let’s wrap up our world tour with some Gladiator school in Rome –

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/gladiator-school-in-rome-11153

a mini tour of Rome neighborhoods -

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/romes-neighborhoods-11156

a look around London -

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/taking-a-look-around-london

and finally, the food!

While in Rome…eat as the Romans do: http://www.aboutroma.com/rome-cuisine.html

While in London, authentic fish and chips are a must: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/english-style-fish-and-chips-recipe.html

Winnipeg, Canada

According to Fawn, those living in Winnipeg will be the first to tell you there’s not a whole lot to do there other than The Forks.  But what they do have and are so proud to share (aside from a beautiful culture and love for family and mastering the art of simplicity): Poutine.  It’s so popular, Canadians even tried to make it their official national food.

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Gravy-Fries

These are just a few of the 12 countries Fawn visited during her research for the Happy Wives Club book, there’s so much fun to see and learn about.

After this date night, always remember that it doesn’t take a lot of money to travel the world – just an Internet connection and a little creativity.

Where do you and your spouse want to travel next? Please share in the comments.

We’re SO close to our goal! JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

Happy Wives Club Book

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book like none other.  Guaranteed.

summer date

4 Fun Summer Date Nights

There is something about the summer sun that makes me feel at home and happy. 

On the first day of summer I welcome in with a happy heart the heat, the bbqs, the swimming, the vacation time.

But, what I look forward to most is spending the warm summer evenings hanging out with my husband. There is little else that brings my heart so much joy.

Summer is a time when you can forget the traditional date night of heading to a restaurant.

It is the time when you can get creative, head outdoors and enjoy the lingering summer sun with the one you love.

Here are some ideas for fun summer dates to spend with your sweetie.

Go To A Drive In
A drive in movie is, without a doubt nostalgic and romantic. And, there is something undeniably tender about snuggling next to your sweetie under the summer night sky and sharing a box of Milk Duds.

Revisit your youth and pack up the car with chairs, blankets, pillows and sweets and take your spouse to a good old fashioned drive in theater.

Do an online search to find a drive in near you.  No drive in theaters around?  Check event listings in your area.  Many cities offer movies in the park for a similar experience.

Dance at an Outdoor Concert
There is nothing quite like an outdoor concert.  But, going to a big expensive concert isn’t necessary in order to take your sweetie on this fun date.  Many towns offer concerts in the park with local bands.

Pack up some fold up chairs and buy some take out and sit back and enjoy the local culture.  Hear a song you like?  Ask your spouse to dance.  Summer air, good food, music and your sweetie? Now those are the ingredients of a great date!

Go For a Drive
For as long as I have known my husband he has loved to put together a summer playlist of music. Back in the day that meant making a mixed cassette tape.  Now it is as simple as dragging and dropping our favorite songs in ITunes.

For a great summer date, make a playlist that your spouse would like and hit the open road.  Go for a drive with the windows down, the music on and sing out loud together.   See where the road and the music takes you.

Watch a Meteor Shower
One of my favorite date memories is when Husband and I drove up to the mountains and laid in the bed of the truck watching a meteor shower.  Talk about romantic.

This summer, head out past the city lights between August 10th and August 13th to catch the Perseid Meteor Shower.  Grab some blankets, pillows, wine and dessert and have a romantic night among the stars.

Whatever it is that you do for date night, get out and enjoy the summer air.  The freedom and hope that summer brings comes and goes so quickly.  Don’t let it fly by without taking some time to enjoy it with the one you love most.

progressive dinner for two

Progressive Dinner for Two!

Today I mentioned on Facebook that I was looking for some fun and creative date night ideas. To my surprise one of the BEST date night ideas that I’ve ever heard of emerged.

Tricia Callahan, my friend and an awesome blogger over at OnceAMonthMeals.com, gave me permission to share her fabulous date night idea with you.

Have you ever heard of a progressive dinner? It’s a fun dinner that you usually have with friends or neighbors. The way a traditional progressive dinner works is that you have a 3 course meal that is spread out over the course of the night.

The catch is, with a progressive party, you don’t eat the meal all in one place. Each course is served at someone else’s home. For instance, you would have the appetizers at house “A”.  Next you’d move down the street to your neighbors home for the main course, which of course will take a couple of hours there. Finally, you go to the last home for dessert.

Well the traditional progressive party has lots of families or couples involved. Tricia’s idea just involves two people, you and your man.

So how does it work?

How to Have a Progressive Dinner for Two Date Night:

  • Make a list of some of your favorite (or new) restaurants. You’ll need a list of 9 places in the same general area of town. One set of 3 that have great appetizers, another set that has yummy dinners, and the final 3 that have amazing sweet treats. You will let your hubby choose from the list which places you’ll go to (or take turns picking).
  • Get in you car, and while you are on the way to the appetizer location call in your order for take out! Hop out, go get it, and bring it back to your vehicle.  Use your phone wifi to connect your iPad, computer, or phone and watch your favorite Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon movie or series from the comfort (and privacy) of your own ride.
  • When you are finishing up your appetizer, pick the dinner location from the list, call in your order, pick it up, eat, and have fun watching your next series episode.  Then repeat again with the dessert location of your choice.

Variations to the night that I thought of, and weren’t in Tricia’s plan, include having a different activity at each location instead of watching a show. For instance, while you are eating appetizers have a phone game contest, like see who can get the high score on Flappy Birds, or whatever phone craze game is out now.  At your dinner location play a 21 questions game, see if you can find out something new about your spouse that you didn’t already know. During dessert you can have on hand your favorite board or card game to play in your vehicle. 

Remember you are in your car and you can go anywhere you like. So, a fun idea could be taking your dessert to the beach, or a mountainside to watch the sunset. 

The possibilities are endless. Make the night light, creative, delicious, and fun!

Comment Below: What’s will you do on your progressive dinner for two?

Date Night

Do You Really Need a Date Night?

I recently attended a marriage conference. A woman with grown children talked about how important it is to have a date night, and I nodded my head in agreement.

But then she went on. “It needs to be something good. You need to get out of the house, and going to Walmart together doesn’t count.”

When someone mentioned date night at home, she emphatically shook her head. 

I could feel the spirit of defeat in the room. 

So, I just want to say, You do not need a “date night.” At least, not in the traditional sense.

Having a date night isn’t about an expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fun sometimes. But for some of us, it just isn’t possible.  We have no money and/or no babysitter.

If you’re in that season of life where a traditional weekly date night just isn’t possible, take heart! It’s not about the date, it’s about the time spent together.

You don’t need a fancy restaurant. You do need quality time together with your spouse. Here are a few ways that my husband and I connect.

Read the Bible Together. Each night after our boys are tucked in bed, my husband and I read a chapter from our Bible and pray together.  Spending time in the word is an excellent way to connect with God and each other, and it also gives us a perfect opportunity to talk about what God is doing in our lives, what He is showing us and where He is leading us.

Talk. This is so simple, yet so important. Make time to spend with your husband, just talking–about something other than disciplining the children and paying bills! In my book, Intentional Marriage, I include a list of 101 conversation questions that you can use to have some fun conversations with your spouse.

Watch a favorite TV show or movie together. Pop some popcorn and snuggle up on the couch. If you’re watching a tv show, mute the commercials and spend that time chatting.

Go to bed at the same time. This has always been important to me. Sometimes, the busyness of the day makes it hard to find time to spend together.  Going to bed at the same time is an excellent way to be sure that you have time to connect as a couple.

Do chores together. Now, this might seem like the opposite of spending quality time together, and it can be. Chores can be a drudgery. And if I go into it focusing on that, I might just have a bad attitude. But if I go into it purposing that I’m going to enjoy spending time with my husband, no matter what we’re doing, my entire outlook changes.

In addition to these daily things, there are plenty of “dates” you can have with your husband right at home and on a low budget. Check out the date night section right here at Happy Wives Club.

I also have a free printable with over 50 date night idea cards. Most of these ideas are free and many can be done at home!  

Intentional Marriage Date Cards

What is your favorite way to connect with your husband?

5 Ways to Keep the Spark Alive in Your Marriage

5ways2

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of sitting with a wonderful group of women in Atlanta as a part of my 12-City Coffee Talk Tour (I’m in Chicago today if you can find the time to join us). 

What I’ve loved most about going from city to city and speaking with women in this community is being surrounded by such positive energy.

I can’t even explain how encouraging it is to connect face-to-face with women who believe in the power of love, the beauty of marriage, and the joy of a lifelong union.

During our conversation, someone said, “Marriage is hard work.”  Her comment reminded me of something a couple I once interviewed said, “Maybe the work in marriage is in getting it not to feel like work.”

That led us to an insightful conversation about the difference between “work” and “effort” and how the outcome of those two things can vary greatly.  I look forward to sharing more from that conversation with you this week.  

As I read this guest post by HWC contributor, Aesha Roberts, I thought, this ties in perfectly as a great example of the type of efforts we can make consistently to keep the spark alive in our marriages. 

Simple and small efforts that can yield great reward.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I recently read a shocking statistic about marriage in a post from the New York Times: According to research, the passion and happiness a couple feels after they say “I do” typically only lasts two years.

As a happy wife who has been married for 7 years I can confidently say that it doesn’t have to be this way!

Research in the science of love reveals that it’s really simple to keep the spark alive in your marriage.  I’ve boiled it down to 5 simple practices that can take as little as 5 minutes per day.

You’re probably doing some or all of these things already, but when we do them with purpose and intention they become powerful! 

5 Ways to Keep the Spark Alive In Your Marriage

1) Appreciation: Look for new things to appreciate about your husband. For example, watch him for 48 hours and then say, “I love watching you (fill in the blank with something amazing about your husband).” This will help you see him in new ways and make him feel loved and valued. 

2) Spontaneity: I admit that this is a challenge for me, given the way that I love to plan everything. However, I experienced how amazing it can be to do things on the spur of the moment when my husband arranged a double date complete with a sitter in a matter of hours and whisked me away to enjoy a fun date night!  

3) Novelty: Simply doing something in a new way can re-ignite the passion in your relationship. For example, instead of just going out to dinner, try restaurant hopping. Go to one place for appetizers, another for your main course and another restaurant for desert. 

4) Variety: As much as my family loves the organic roasted chicken I make for dinner, they don’t want to eat it every night! The same could be said about many of the routines we have in our marriage, especially in the bedroom. Be intentional about spicing things up, especially between the sheets! 

5) Surprise: This can be as simple as stealing a passionate kiss when your husband least expects it, or as elaborate as planning a weekend getaway to a local bed & breakfast.  

It’s easy to get used to the things that make us feel good about being married such as routines, comfort, and security. The good news is that keeping the spark alive in your relationship doesn’t have to be complicated! Start with these 5 simple tips, 5 minutes per day and watch the love and passion in your marriage go to another level!

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Date Night Ideas, www.happywivesclub.com, today show, frugal dating

Free Date Night Idea: The Today Show Date

My personal date-night challenge was this: come up with either a cheap or free date night idea. Preferably something free, fun, and that parents with small children could do easily – no baby sitter needed.

I started thinking about what my favorite things to do with my hubby are. Number one on my list is talking and cuddling. Any variation of talking and cuddling will *always* make me happy.

I had the idea for this blog post and then was thrilled to see a conversation on the Happy Wives Club Facebook page where HWC members repeatedly agreed that “talking and cuddling” is where it’s at as far as our favorite bonding activity with our hubbies.

So here it is, super simple and I discovered it totally by accident. We had recorded the Today Show and when I turned it on the big headline was that the government was monitoring our cell phone usage. Remember the day, when that story broke?

Well as it turns out, my husband had very strong feelings about it, as he is in IT, and understands the nuts and bolts of *how* the monitoring would work. I had very strong opinions too and asked him a ton of questions.

I found out things I didn’t know about him, just by asking him a question from the news story on the Today Show.

Then I realized he is my favorite person. I want to know what he thinks about everything. So I asked him to stay and watch the show with me and if we could pause on different segments and discuss. He is used to my zany suggestions and said yes.

We laughed, we debated, and we watched Martha Stewart using Match.com to find a date. We found that both gripping and hilarious at the same time. We talked about how having cameras following you around is probably not conducive to opening up your soul.

I could not get over how much Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie look alike. My hubby laughed, highly amused at my observations.

In the end we fast forwarded through some segments (latest and greatest makeup on sale) and had long, thoughtful discussions about others (what is our expectation of privacy in this digital-shareable world?) and overall had a great time.

This is so easy to do, I had to share.

Record the show. Watch together. Discuss. (If you have little kids, you can totally do this once they are asleep at night.)

Disclaimer: I am not associated with the Today Show in any way, other than watching it. I took the pictures on my camera at home and I hope the team at the Today Show thinks this is a really GREAT idea! – Maggie

Another 1st Date

Another First Date

Can you still remember the first date or outing that you and your husband shared? The excitement, the butterflies, nervousness and maybe even a bit of awkwardness. ;)

This fun little date night idea will help you reminisce on those old memories. All you have to do is think about your first date and try to recreate it. Eat at the same restaurant, visit the same places, or watch the same movie (at home). You could even try to wear similar clothing or take photos in the same places that you did so many years ago. 

Recreating the first date can be a super fun and romantic way to celebrate anniversary milestones, or just to revisit old memories together! It’s the perfect time to think about how far your relationship has come, since that first butterfly-filled evening together.

My husband and I did this on the 2 year anniversary of the day we met. We first talked inside a Starbucks, so we went back, 2 years later, sat in the same spot, and talked about how much had changed in just 2 short years.

This time we were married, and even had our newborn son with us! It was a bit surreal as we realized that just 2 years earlier we had sat there, getting to know each other, talking about our dreams. We had no idea that we would one day be there again, together, married for almost 2 years (for those doing the math, yes, we got married 35 days after we met), with our son next to us, and endless love between us.

On that first unofficial date that started it all, we never would have guessed that we would end up happy and in love, but we did.

another 1st date

Recreating special moments is such a romantic way to reminisce and it is a beautiful way to build new memories together. 

Where did you and your husband share your first date? How can you re-create that day?

The Power of Touch

The Power of Touch

I am assuming that almost everyone is aware of the power of touch. Coming from my education background I always find these topics of interest. I read an article recently by Psychology Today that grabbed my attention.

In the article Dr. Herbenick talks about her desire to be touched.  She mentions benefits for our husbands sexual satisfaction by the power of touch.  To my surprise it was not a sexual touch, but instead cuddling, caressing, and being together.

This article made me think back to my husband and my favorite times together.

Here is the date night that walk down memory lane conjured up.  It’s a date my husband and I did without any planning involved.  At that moment we had no children at home, so for those with kids this may require some planning.

We did this when we were feeling disconnected because of schedules and such. When we do not have quality time together, it generally shows in our communication.

To start off the date night, the first thing we do is to get comfortable. For me I’m usually in a tank and shorts. And ladies… no bra! I have not met one women who is comfortable in those blasted things. :)

This date can take place on your porch, couch, wherever you are comfortable, yet can be touching… but my favorite place is our bed.

(I’m blushing… geeze)

There are a couple of reasons.

1. CUDDLE TIME! – It is so much easier to cuddle and have skin-on-skin contact.

2. It’s a presence and environment of rest.

We start by talking about things we have miscommunicated over the last day-week-month. We talk things out while holding hands, hugging, and caressing. Even when we discuss things that may have upset us, because we are cuddling and touching our defenses are down. It becomes much easier to get out what we are feeling and solve any conflicts.

We talk about our dreams and plans. I think this is important. We get so busy with life we forget all those dreams and plans we have. Reconnect through those.

We also talk about funny stories, or things we have been through, that we can now laugh about.

There are a few rules to this:

#1. NO electronics… put them away. Your spouse needs to feel you are listening to him. 

#2. No Sex – I know that could possibly (or probably) will lead to this… but hold off. Trust me after having a connection and talking things out you will feel incredibly close.

#3. No time limit- If you have children this might be a challenge, or if you are really busy. But set a couple hours aside for just you and your spouse.

I love the benefits of this date! Communication, touch, and quality time with the one you love. Try it and let me know if it helped you connect! I know it has for my hubby and I!

Staying Hopeful, Aunt LaLa