The Gift of Dating


I know I have talked quite a bit about the Date Nights that I have created, but sometimes I know I make them ridiculously difficult and time consuming. I want to help you put together a Date Night Package to give as a Christmas gift to your significant other or to a newly married couple without a great deal of effort or expense. This works great as a wedding gift as well. I have included the plans to create 12 wonderful Date Nights (1 for each month). I will explain the packaging at the end but will start with the actual Dates themselves.

1. Progressive Dinner – Purchase a block, dice, or cube from a craft store that has nothing on it. Write 6 different restaurants in close proximity on the sides of the cube. Roll the dice to determine where you go for drinks, appetizers, entrée, and dessert. Make sure to put something like McDonalds in there to make it interesting. The expense depends on the choices you write down. You could also limit this to 3 choices. If this were a gift to another couple, I would include the dice and a wipe off marker so this can be done again and again. You could also include some gift cards to different area restaurants. Once again the cost is determined by you.

2. Dinner in a Surprise Location – Choose someplace that you would enjoy, or someplace that is just very unusual. I did this on the rooftop of a building. You could choose; a park, your backyard, your front yard, by a beautiful lake, at sunset on the top of a hill, on your own rooftop…etc. It’s all about what you put into the presentation. Make sure you have a table cloth, candles, music, dinnerware, lights, the food itself and/or drinks. Make a wonderful dinner or order carry out and just present it on China or your best tableware. If this is a gift, include a gift card or a promise that you will make the meal or even set it up.

3. Re-enact your first Date – Do exactly the same things and go the same places that you did on your first date. If possible, try to replicate your clothing. Discuss that first date and what your first thoughts/impressions were. If this is a gift, you could ask the couple where their first date was and get a gift card and/or make up an itinerary on a card for them to follow matching the events of their first date.

4. Slumber Party – Rent some movies, grab some snacks, pull out those old board games, put down a bunch of pillows and/or sleeping bags in your living room and have a good old fashioned slumber party. Don’t forget the pizza. Try to stay up all night…or don’t, which sounds a whole lot better. But that’s me. If this is a gift, you could put some DVD’s or gift cards to a video store, playing cards and snacks in a popcorn tub.

5. Photo Scavenger Hunt – Come up with 20 fun photo captions, such as; that’s going to hurt, you really are getting way too old for that, my new best friend, etc. Spend the evening going all over town taking pictures to match the captions. Print them out and make an album or put them on Facebook or Instagram. For a gift, you could just supply the captions.

6. Spa Night – Pull out all of those lotions and foot scrubs that you’ve gotten as gifts over the years and put them to good use. Take turns using the products on each other. Make sure to have some nuts, fruits, cheeses, chocolates and wine.  I would start by working the hair conditioner into each other’s hair and leave on for at least a half hour.  Apply the exfoliation scrub all over each other. Carefully jump in the shower and rinse off keeping in mind there is oil in the scrub so don’t actually jump. Do not rinse your hair yet. Dry off completely and paint each other with the mud. Leave on for about 10 minutes and then shower again, this time rinse your hair out. Dry off and use your scented oils or lotions to give each other massages. The rest of the evening is up to you. You will want to have:

*A painter’s drop cloth or a giant sheet of plastic

* Exfoliation scrub – (enough for 2) 2 cups of sugar, and enough olive oil to make a paste. You can also add a couple of drops of scented oil to this.

* Hair conditioner – (enough for 2) 1 cup of orange juice, a half cup of olive oil, and 4 whole eggs,

* Mud – (The spa kind, not the backyard kind) I have not been able so far to find an easy, inexpensive DIY recipe for this (Let me know if you know of one) so you can either purchase it or skip it, although it is an awful lot of fun to paint on one another.

* Scented Oils

* Candles

* Soft relaxing music.

* An uncluttered room close to the bathroom

As a gift you could type up the directions, include the homemade scrub and conditioner in mason jars, candles, scented oils and maybe a plastic drop cloth.

7. Drive in Movie Theater – In your backyard, set up comfy furniture, or put an inflatable mattress in the back of a pickup or a van, hook up a dvd player to a projector and hang a white sheet or project onto a white wall outside. Serve concession stand foods and snacks. Don’t forget the popcorn. If you don’t have a projector, the local rental centers usually have them and they are relatively inexpensive. Ask around, you would be surprised by how many people have them. As a gift, purchase a couple DVD’s, popcorn/snack basket, a rental center gift card, or the promise to set this up for them.

8. Wine Tasting Party – Invite a few other couples over and have them bring a bottle of their favorite wine and a snack to go with it. Have them cover their bottle so that the label cannot be seen. As people arrive place a number on each of the bottles. Give everyone a rating sheet and have them sample all of the bottles of wine and vote for their favorites but tell them they can’t vote on their own. Have a bottle of wine, wine glasses or wine charms for the winning couple. As a gift, purchase number stickers and paper bags for the wine bottles, and a bottle of wine for the winners.

9. A Night in Italy (France, Japan, etc.)  – Plan and prepare a meal all the way down to the dessert and drinks, based on the country that you have chosen. Try something you’ve never tried before. Create menus for the evening. Complete the dining area with culturally appropriate decorations. Play music from that country. You could also ask a friend to be your waiter/waitress and serve you and then quietly slip out the back. As a gift you could offer to be the server, choose the country/meal for them and include decorations, music, wine, etc.

10. Camp Out With or Without the Camping – Have your partner meet you out back where you have a nice little fire going. You could set up a tent or not. Have hot dogs, or pie irons and either make pizza pies or roast hot dogs over the fire for your dinner, along with other snacks that you’ve prepared ahead of time. Finish the meal off with gourmet S’mores- Use the typical graham crackers and marshmallow but add sliced fruits or different types of chocolate bars such as a peanut butter cup or chocolate with nuts or toffee.  Play some music and break out some wine. Sit around the fire and stare at the stars, or into each other’s eyes. For a gift, you could buy a pie iron and some marshmallow skewers along with directions for the evening.

11. Room Service and Champagne – Reserve a hotel room for a night. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Some of the nicest hotels have rooms at reasonable prices if you go to,, or any hotel booking site. Pack clothes and bathing suits for yourself and your significant other. Prepare a meal, or order one that you can pick up on your way. Send your significant other a message, or sneakily leave them a note on their car at work telling them a particular address or location to drive to (not the hotel address). Tell them to text/call you when they get there. Give them another 2 or 3 locations to drive to, all leading them to where you are. If you give them the exact address too quickly they may figure it out. Have the meal, candles, champagne and yourself waiting for his/her arrival. Eat, enjoy the hot tub or pool, watch a movie,… I guess I really don’t have to tell you what to do once you get there… J

12. TP Your Friends – Dress up in all black. Get some cheap toilet paper and go to a few different friends’ houses and TP them. Forking their yard is another fun, harmless prank. Basically it’s buying plastic forks and pushing them into the ground with the prongs up all over their yard. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just a blast to be a kid again! For a gift, buy some toilet paper, or forks and black stocking caps or masks.

I hope some of these ideas would work for you. I have to really search quite a bit to find one that hits home for us so I can’t imagine that all of these would be perfect for everyone. Keep in mind these are suggestions. Replace some of them with something different or alter them to match your style. There are so many great websites out there with incredible ideas for Date Nights. (,, etc.)

As far as the packaging of these Dates, I have tried 2 different routes so far. I have put all of the dates into envelopes and labeled them with the proper month (to meet the weather requirements) and had my husband open them on the first of every month. And most recently I have created scratch off tickets using tickets that I created on my computer. I used card stock paper. I typed in the Date Nights in a certain area on the cards, colored heavily over that area with white crayon and then painted over the top of that with a mixture of 2 parts dish soap and one part acrylic paint. It took a few coats to really cover nicely. My husband scratches off a card each month. I wrote the weather/time requirements on the front of each card so he chooses accordingly. If this was a gift for someone else and you needed to have all the material at one time to present, You could have several small boxes with scratch off tickets or envelopes attached to them that they would have to wait to open until the beginning of each new month.

If you end up using any or hopefully all of these Date Nights please send me pictures that I could post or even just a note letting me know how they worked out. If you alter them in any way that’s great information to share as well. I’m always excited to get new ideas. Thanks so much for reading and please make sure to continue dating your spouse! That doesn’t stop when you get married!









Dinner and Spa Night

For this Date Night, I found some pretty awesome spa packages for couples at the Motor City Casino in Detroit.  They also have an amazing restaurant with a view from the 16th floor called Iridescence. We began the evening in the Iridescence restaurant bar where we had a drink and appetizers. We headed down to the spa after that. The spa package started off with reflexology. Then we went into a different location where mud was applied and then hot tub time. It ended with a massage on their music tables where the vibrations of the music could be felt and heard through the table throughout the massage. We went back to the restaurant for a light dinner and drinks. Great night and extremely relaxing! I don’t normally make them this extravagant but it was the night before his birthday so I wanted it to be extra special!

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Fixing Yourself

To anyone who doesn’t know me, I have been married for 26 years. My husband and I have three children and one brand new granddaughter. (Ask me, I have pictures) My husband and I had a semi-unstable marriage but for the most part we made it work. When our children left home, I was left trying to figure out what my purpose in life was. My husband couldn’t fill in the gaps that my children had once encompassed and I was not dealing well with the “Empty Nest,” syndrome. My marriage was crashing and burning around me. I had never felt more alone in my entire life. I do have to say, this is not stated because I am trying to make my children or my husband feel guilty. I don’t know where the phrase came from but it’s one of my favorites. “Your job as a parent is to teach your children how to leave you.” You really need to understand and fully live that statement. Your children may grow up and move across town, the country, or God forbid, the world. But, when and if they do, it’s because you are an amazing parent who gave them the skills and security to not only survive, but to grow and make the world a better place. They have left you, because you did your job! Sorry to any parents out there with a 30 something child living in your basement… This is not to say it doesn’t hurt like hell because it does. It rips a part of you away and it is a very slow healing process. Now add on to this, a marriage with an ever widening gap.

I am now going to list the ways that I screwed up and got myself into this mess: Everyone had goals and ambitions in high school. Mine were to get married and have children. I lived and breathed for my children. I did not actively pursue and work for my marriage even though I loved my husband desperately. I withdrew from him and threw myself even more completely into the lives of my children. I did not communicate my needs in a clear or appropriate manner. I left almost all friends behind because they would take away from time with my family. I allowed myself to become unhappy. I lost my “Self.”

As you have probably noticed, I did not list anything that my husband did wrong. That is because, I am only in control of myself and my happiness. This is a blame-free zone. I want to focus for a moment on my last statement in my list. I had lost my “Self.” I had lost my identity and had become completely absorbed into my family. “I,” no longer existed. I had deferred to my children and husband for so long that I had no idea what I even liked or wanted anymore. Before I could work on my marriage I had to work on myself. I had to figure out who I was, and what I wanted out of the rest of my life now that all of my “lofty,” (heavy dose of sarcasm) goals were achieved… Now mind you, I have a Master’s degree so I didn’t sit around and completely dissolve into my family. But I felt as if I did. I was very lost and unsure of my next step. I needed to find out if I even liked the person that I had become. I decided to start out on a 6 day adventure on my own…including my trusty 6 pound side kick, Brutus, my dog. We travelled all over Michigan, including Mackinaw Island and the Upper Peninsula. We almost died a couple of times but that’s another story. The point is…I had a blast! I didn’t think this was possible. I did what I wanted, ate what and when I wanted, and slept when I wanted. It was amazing and life changing. There’s nothing like a little time alone for some serious soul searching. I have slowly begun to take more chances, try things I normally wouldn’t and to finally settle into some wonderful friendships. I am closer to my circle of friends than I ever have been.

As for my marriage, we began counseling and started to focus on healing and rediscovering one another. We also had to discover what we liked and what we wanted out of our relationship. So many people talk about how their spouse needs to change and what their spouses are doing wrong. I am not saying that they aren’t correct but, you can’t control their actions and behaviors. The only thing that you have control over is your own. This is not to say that you should take the blame for all of the problems in a relationship. I am saying that it is wasted effort and energy to worry about what someone else needs to do when you could use that energy to work on yourself and your own happiness. “You,” are the only thing that you have when it boils down to it and “you,” are the only variable in life that you have control over. I believe if you change yourself, the world will change around you. And if it doesn’t, it may be time to move on.

Challenge yourself to spend quality alone time! I’m not talking about hanging out at your house where you are tempted to clean, play games on the computer, etc. Get a hotel room for a night. Spend the day at the beach. Take a book and a bottle of wine.  It is honestly a very liberating experience. Take care of yourself first even if you have children, and or a spouse. So many women feel trapped in relationships because they don’t want to be alone. That is not a reason to stay. I felt the same way. One of the things I wanted to find out was, could I make it on my own? Could I enjoy life without someone beside me to share it with? The answer for me was yes I could, which freed me up from that weight and allowed me to see that I truly wanted to stay, I didn’t need to.

Is life perfect? Is there a fairy tale ending? Absolutely not! Marriage is still hard, dirty, sometimes unappreciated work. We still stink at communication and back slide way too often, but the point is, we are still constantly working on our marriage. Sometimes the only opportunity we get to see each other is if I schedule a Date Night or some other type of event. Date Night’s are a fantastic opportunity to show someone that you care enough about them to go that extra step. Since communication isn’t our strong suit, I use my Date Night’s to convey how important my husband is to me and how important our marriage is. And the best thing is, I have a blast doing them:-)

Our most recent Date Night was entitled, (yes they have titles:-)) Drive In Movie. I created a Drive In Theater in my backyard. I set up some comfy furniture with loads of pillows, a bed in the back of my van using an inflatable mattress, a projector, a big screen, tons of snacks, of course popcorn, several movie choices and a vast assortment of beverages. A perfect romantic night with my man!


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Drive In Movie Theater – Date Night

This is the first of our new set of Date Nights for this year. I set up a projector, a giant screen, comfy furniture and a bed in the back of my van using an inflatable mattress and plenty of pillows. I hooked up the sound to my van speakers that played out of the back above our heads, until I killed my battery:-( I quickly rewired it to a sound system in our garage which worked out great except for the fact that it was blasting throughout our backyard and we were watching Django. If you’ve seen the movie you will understand why this was a problem:-/ Other than that we had a great, very relaxing night together!:-)

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Men…You’ve Got to Love Them Because It’s Illegal to Kill Them…And Unfortunately They Are Pretty Amazing to Have Around

There are many stereotypes regarding men and women. Men in general are thought of as oversexed, unemotional creatures by women. Women are thought of as emotional, unstable, and completely unreadable by men. In some respects there is a little bit of truth in both of these generalizations. Men think things through with logic and reasoning. Women generally are ruled by their hearts and first react with their emotions, then logic is added in. Men tend to see things in black and white. Women see situations in every shade of black, white and gray. This is not a judgment, it is a fact, with many differentiations among individuals, but you get the idea. Let’s face it we are wired differently.

Your feelings, attitudes, and beliefs are all a byproduct of your experiences, and genetic make up. You will truly never know what another person is feeling or how they are reacting to a situation without crawling inside their skin. There is no other human being on this planet that will hold the exact same view point that you will. We lose sight of this in relationships. All we do is make assumptions based on our own reactions to things and physical cues given by others. We are probably only on target about 75% of the time. We don’t go around verbalizing how we feel in each given situation and even if we do its more than likely only mistruths. Another difference between the sexes is that women for the most part tend to hold on to something when we are angry. Men on the other hand do not (generally). I will honestly hold onto something until I feel, in my mind, that it has been resolved. Do I do anything to resolve it? Of course not, I am waiting for him to remember what he has done and fix it!! Communication is definitely not our strong suit. I would sometimes have 6 months worth of itemized things that he had done stored up in my head. I would become more withdrawn and he would not want to be around me because of my angry, withdrawn attitude, which in turn would be added to my list. This became a horribly vicious cycle. From his perspective I was just angry all the time for no reason. From my perspective he knew all of the things that bothered me and didn’t care. I am working on my communication skills and he is working on being more open to communication. My husband and I come from different planets for the most part. At some point, the realization comes that we not only have differing perspectives among genders but as individuals as well. You never truly know a person well enough to predict exactly how they will perceive any given situation. This is why communication is key to all relationships.

I have worked very hard to get to a point where I am expressing my wants and needs. I have tried to put myself in his shoes more, and am dedicating myself to making our marriage happy. I am also making sure that he feels special and appreciated. I am still not where I need to be but I am trying. Part of the problem is the fact that we are polar opposites in most ways. We will never truly understand each other and we will never enjoy the same things in life in the same way. This is where compromise comes in. We needed to come up with something that helps us to meet at a neutral zone. My idea was to create Date Nights each month for a year. I try to make them something that we have never done before so that it is a new, shared experience.

Last August I painted a box silver for our Silver Anniversary and placed 12 envelopes inside with completely planned Date Nights for each month. All he discovered was the theme each month. He didn’t know the details until it was happening. I kept his interests in mind when planning each one but also made sure that I would enjoy them too. I started this on our 25th anniversary and just concluded the 12 months of dates this last month.

One of our favorite Date Nights of this last year was entitled, “Progressive Dinner in a Limo.” I had a large cube that had dry erase boards on each side. I wrote down 6 different restaurants on the sides of the cube, one of which was McDonalds. I hired a limo on a Monday evening, (very cost effective) and he rolled the cube to reveal where we were going for pre-dinner drinks. He continued to roll after each restaurant visit. There was a stop for an appetizer, an entrée, and dessert at the end. We visited 4 great restaurants in the area and had a blast. There was always the ever looming fear of McDonald’s turning up but it didn’t. I was slightly disappointed because that would have definitely been interesting showing up in a limo for dinner at McDonald’s but we had an incredible evening nonetheless.

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We actually just had our finale Date Night of the year in August. The title for this Date Night was “Food, Beer and Wine From Around the World.” We ended up planning this together for the most part. We put together a Group Date Night where we invited 20 different couples over and asked each couple to choose a country. They were asked to conceal the identity of the country (Except to me) and they needed to provide a wine or a beer from that country along with a type of food that represented their region as well. Everyone was given a set of rules and a recording sheet. Their jobs were to go around and do blind taste tests of the food and drinks and determine what the country of origin was for each station. then they chose their favorite food, wine and beer. The prizes for the winners were Date Nights that I had put together for them.. We also had live entertainment. It was an amazing evening!

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For our 26th anniversary, (This last August 14th) I actually created another 12 and made scratch off lottery tickets this time that reveal each month’s theme.The process was pretty simple in making the scratch off tickets. I designed and printed them out on card stock. I then took a white crayon and completely colored over the scratch off area. Next I took 2 parts silver craft paint and mixed it with 1 part dish soap. I then painted over the scratch off area (about 3 coats) and let it dry. I put the requirements for each date night on each card in the unpainted section, so he could choose one that works for him each month, (ie., temperature if its an outside activity, overnight, evening, weekend, etc.,) Our first new Date Night is scheduled in September and the title is “Drive-in Movie.” I can’t tell you more until its happened.:-)


I would love to challenge all of you, women or men to plan and carry out a Date Night. I have all of the Date Nights I have done so far on my blog but I have found a ton of ideas on . It can be something small just do a mystery date that keeps them guessing. Make them feel special. I would love to hear from you on how your Date Night turns out. You can leave a comment on my blog or my Facebook page. I have to admit my husband was a little hesitant at the beginning but it got to the point that he was waiting up until midnight, the night before the first of the month to have an opportunity to open his envelope. He also has men calling him asking for advice on how to carry out the Date Nights:-/… He carefully explains exactly the steps to follow for each one…hmmmm not sure how that happened. But to be perfectly honest, it makes me extremely happy that he has gotten excited about them too. He has actually gone as far as planning 2 different Date Night’s of his own over the summer. One of my favorite rules that I live by is, change yourself and your attitude and the world will change around you! I am telling you that I am living proof that this is true!!! Good luck dating your spouses!

Life’s Embarrassing Moments

Ok a quick story before I head out on a one week anniversary vacation with my hubby:-) we will be camping for part of it:-)…anyways I digress. Soooo I very nearly avoided what could have been the most embarrassing moment of my life a week or so ago. About 5 years back all of the girl’s in my family decided to do a biggest loser kind of contest. We somehow came up with the bright idea to take “before” pictures of ourselves in order to “see” a difference at the end, plus we could use these pictures as a motivator. Did I mention we were only wearing our underwear and bras??? We tried to make sure we looked as big as possible (slouching, sticking our stomachs out, etc.,) so that no matter what we lost we would still feel like we look better at the end… I know this makes no sense but it’s how my family works… Anyways, I must have printed them out on my picture printer. We decided I needed to hide these and protect them with my life! So I came up with the perfect spot and tucked them away. Anyone who knows me, knows that when I hide something, I never remember where I hid it! So this is clearly not my fault… So flash forward to a week ago at my High School 30 year reunion. I was one of the people in charge of it and we had decided that all of the people on the “committee” should bring their yearbooks to set around on all of the tables. I had to dig mine out because I hadn’t seen them in forever… We laid them on the tables and began preparing for the party. People began to arrive and I was talking to one of my classmates. We were discussing some former classmates and decided to look them up in my yearbook. I go over and flip through the pages and low and behold guess what I found?!! I grabbed the stack of pictures and did a little scream! I was asked about it and gave a weak quick explanation and shoved them in my purse. Oh my god!!! So flash forward again to last night. I was at my sister’s sitting around the table with all of the people who I had semi nude pictures of in my purse! Up to this point I had actually forgotten about the whole thing! Yes I know my medicine is clearly not working. Anyways I remembered, told them the story (to their horror) and grabbed the pictures out so I could give them back. Uh oh… There were only 3 different people (mine included) from several views:-/ So where were the others…? I probably should have checked the other yearbook too…:-( Someone remind me to look for those when I get back from vacation:-)

Date Night #12 – Food, Beer and Wine From Around the World

This is kind of the grand finale of the year’s Date Nights! We had a couple’s group Date Night. Each couple was asked to choose a country and to bring either a beer or wine and food from that country. They were asked to conceal the identity of their country. Everyone went around tasting all the food and drinks and tried to guess what country they originated from. They filled out sheets and voted on their favorite food, beer and wine. The couples with the most votes in each area won a gift basket inspired by different Date Nights that I have done through the year, so they could have their own Date Night. The grand prize was for the couple who guessed the most countries correctly. The prize for that is a recreation of my first Date Night. The lucky couple gets to have a catered dinner on top of the Bull Pen overlooking downtown Toledo, with all the trimmings. We were lucky to have a portion of the band previously known as Empire Drift play for us all evening. Great food, drinks, music and friends. Thank you to everyone who came and thank you to my husband Ed Beczynski for an amazing (interesting) 25 years of marriage! We will be celebrating our 26th this Wednesday on the 14th.

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Dating Your Spouse

Dating Your Spouse
If you are not 100% committed to having an amazing marriage that will be fulfilling, healthy and happy don’t read this article. This will be hard and some times unappreciated work… In the beginning.

My marriage has truthfully been a struggle from day 1. There has never been anything easy about it and divorce has fluttered through my mind more often than I’d like to admit! Having said that, I love my husband more than anything. He is everything to me. I just would like to back my car over him…a few times. Everyone has their own personal struggles within a relationship. Its all about perspective. One thing first and foremost that we have to remember is that, chemically, physically, and emotionally women and men are worlds apart. The way we react to the same situation is different. Our needs are different. The way we approach life is different. The list goes on and on; parenting, finances, death, sex, romance, humor, socializing, etc. We will never see eye to eye on anything. What’s important is embracing that, taking yourself out of your own shoes and making an attempt to look through their eyes. It’s not an easy thing to do and almost impossible for some. The important thing to remember is that it is absolutely normal that you view the same situation from two totally different worlds.

The best way to approach your marriage is say to yourself, ” What would make me happy? What do I want out of this relationship? What would bring us closer?” You are the only piece in a relationship that you have control over. Now you could take this information to your spouse and say these are the things that would make us better. He/she may even agree. You may even make some great plans to change things. And then surprisingly, you are going to eventually end back where you started. They aren’t meeting you halfway, they aren’t as committed, the excuses go on. My theory is, pretend that you are on your own to completely fix this yourself and that your partner is completely incapable of any assistance whatsoever. Expect nothing and prepare to give 100%. Take that list you made and make them happen. All on your own. You need to be appreciated? Show your appreciation to him or her. You need more affection? Be more affectionate! You need quality time together? Make it happen! Eventually it will become a normal part of your marriage and will begin to mutually occur on its own…Eventually.

This is where the Date Night idea came in. When someone takes the time to plan something for someone and really put thought into it, the other person can’t help but feel appreciated and loved. Before we were married and still dating, we were always eager to do so much for one another because it was fun and exciting and we were wanting to really bait and hook that fish. Once the fish is securely on the line, the work is done. The mentality of “self,” takes over and it becomes “Why doesn’t “He,” do this,” or Why doesn’t “She,” do this.” Get out of that trap. In a marriage with “healthy,” individuals, if you put your spouse’s happiness before your own, you will be amazed at how quickly the happiness is returned ten fold to you. Too many times, we sit back and just get angry about all of the things he or she are not doing. Let that thought process go! It’s not getting you anywhere. You’re both going to get old and gray waiting for happiness or you will never continue on the path together. The thought process you need to adopt instead is “what can I do to make him or her happy?” or, “What could I do to make things better?” Lose your “self,” for a while. I guarantee, the happy “You,” will come back.

One of our major problems was “Time.” His time would be filled up quickly with work commitments, and friends. I looked at his calendar and saw how he had the majority of his “time,” set aside for work obligations and friends. I was very annoyed by this. After confronting him about it he just said, “People call and ask me for appointments or outings of one sort or another and I put them in my calendar and it fills up. I truly don’t plan any of these things I just get asked and put them on my calendar.” This got me to thinking. I am going to make sure I start actively pursuing and laying claim to my place on that calendar. This was right before our 25th anniversary. I completely planned out 12 creative, fun Date Nights and sealed them all individually in envelopes, and put them in a box. He gets to open one at the beginning of each month and must give me a date and time within 24 hours. I am on the calendar! Yes!

The point is planning activities that are geared towards the interests of your spouse/partner. This is something that you are doing for them to make them feel special and appreciated. The best part is you are in total control so you can still spice it up in such a way that you will enjoy it as well. For example: I love camping, my husband is not a fan and enjoys luxury and fancy hotels. So I created a date night of “Glamping.” This is short for glamorous camping. This could be the same if your interests are the opposite. If you look up Glamping you will find so many places it will shock you! The term Glamping refers to extreme luxury in an upscale camp-like setting. This usually includes some type of flooring, a large pre-set up “tent” with heat and/or air conditioning, your own private bathroom and shower and luxurious furnishings and decor. The one we stayed at for our last date night was a yurt. A yurt is a round canvas covered structure. We had a king sized bed, a deck with chairs, and all of the above. Absolutely beautiful.

I try to do something we’ve never done before so that its new and exciting for both of us. I love doing research and believe it or not, you would be amazed at how many “Date Night,” sites there are. They go from super simple and economical to extremely extravagant and expensive. I mixed it up a little bit but for the most part there was just a lot of work not expense. One of the best resources that I have found is They have some amazing ideas. I have also found quite a bit on Pinterest. I have taken some of their ideas verbatim and I have used some as a springboard into something unique and all my own.

Probably one of my favorite Date Nights was the very first one. This probably had to do with his reaction. I think he really thought it was going to fall flat, but he was definitely surprised! On our anniversary he opened the card marked August and in it he found a card that just said “Dinner in a Surprise Location.” He totally underestimated me. We happen to be fortunate enough to own a small warehouse in Downtown Toledo. There is a terrifying ladder that takes you to a tiny cubby hole with a lid on it in the ceiling of the top floor. This leads to the roof. Up to this point I had refused to go up there because of my fear of heights. This was my surprise location! I managed (with help on the big items) to drag tables, chairs, chafing dishes, a beautifully prepared dinner, wine, flowers, music, linens, china, candles and silverware up this terrifying ladder and on to the roof. He was at work waiting for my call to tell him where to join me. He just happens to work downstairs from where I was at. All I told him was come upstairs. It took him a few minutes to find me but when he did, he was beyond overwhelmed. We talked, drank wine, danced, lit and released Chinese lanterns, but most of all enjoyed each other in our own little private corner of the world.