Sometimes I think this blog has its own personality.

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In the evening as I sit in my office it stares at me from my desk. I stare back.

“Why so serious, Blog?”

“Because. I have many important things to say about culture, faith, and being a godly woman. No time for frivolities.”

I shake my head. “Well, that’s no good. I’m a fun person. I like to laugh, you should at least SEEM as if you enjoy life, too.”

Blog sets his jaw and looks grim. “Can’t. Too many serious topics to discuss. I have a world to change. Can’t stop for laughter.”

Forget him. Today we’ll talk about something fun!

Mr. M and I absolutely love dating each other. I know we’re married, but all the wife-y blogs say to date your spouse and we do our best to keep that a part of our newbie marriage. I wouldn’t say we’re as original as the hipster bloggers, nor as serious as the parent bloggers with families to raise, but we’ve developed some fun routines and date nights other couples may enjoy. In fact, one of our date nights has even been adopted by a reader and her girlfriends – so these aren’t all limited to married and dating couples!

1. Theme Nights

Every Friday, Mr. M and I hold our ‘Friday theme night’. Sometimes we invite others to join us, but most of the time it is just the two of us. Theme nights consist of a dinner, drink, and movie all centered around the same ‘theme’. For instance, we have held Western theme night, Christmas theme night, Baseball, Valentine’s, French, Thai, and German theme nights, each complete with a recipe pertinent to the evening and a movie corresponding to the theme or nation we chose.

For French theme night we watched the Count of Monte Cristo in French and had cake and tea. For Native American theme night we watched Last of the Mohicans and ate chili with cornbread. German theme night – last week! – we had runzas, german pancake, and tea while watching The Book Thief (this was especially fun since Mr. M is German). We look forward to trying different themes and are open to almost anything – including changing up our ritual movie-with-dinner to do period- or theme-specific activities. We plan to continue this event with our kids, incorporating it into their school curriculum to educate them during a fun family time together.

2. Scavenger Hunts

Leaving notes is one of the best ways to encourage your husband, and if you are a words girl like me, you probably appreciate it too! I try to hide notes in Mr. M’s lunch, under his pillow, and in his laptop case when he leaves for work or when I am about to go out of town for business. In addition to leaving notes, we are also big fans of scavenger hunts. Somewhat kindergarten? Maybe – but it’s a ton of fun!

One of my favorite hunts was for Valentine’s Day last year. I went to all the bookstores and libraries within our city limits and left clues in specific books on the shelves. I gave Mr. M the first clue, the hunt took him all across the city as he searched for the final prize – his Valentine’s gift! We have also done hunts within our apartment just to make a gift a little more exciting and special. You can always hand someone a present – why not make them work for it? They love it even more!

3. Expert Eating

As a couple, we’re pretty much foodies. I try out new recipes on him every week, stalk ingredients at the local farm markets (pardon the pun), and love to experience new restaurants. We decided to make a passport book. The passport book (or adventure book, as we call it) is a little notebook in which we draw pictures of the dates or dinner we plan to go on. When we are done, we put a sticker on a checkbox in the page. If we like a certain kind of food – i.e., Mexican – we’ll try it out a few different places depending on our budget.

One thing we want to try is a progressive dinner: appetizer at one restaurant, entree at the next, and dessert at the final destination. We share each other’s dishes and never get the same thing, so we can split the plates. Then we discuss and rate the food on the way home, and I’ll mark it down in our book (if I remember!).

4. Map It

Surprise road trips are one of our favorite weekend activities. Here in Virginia, it is about three hours to anywhere: D.C., North Carolina, West Virginia, and even Bristol, Tennessee. We’ve taken turns finding destinations and using only a map to get there! Mr. M is especially good at plotting out these events because he is always on time. I can’t say the same for myself.

A few of our favorites have been:

  • St. John’s Church, Patrick Henry reenactment
  • the Richmond botanical garden
  • a peony farm
  • Pearisville downtown and Sinking Creek covered bridge
  • Douthat Park to go rowboating
  • a rodeo in the Civic Center
  • segway tours of historic Richmond
  • day trip to a mountain campground to go fishing
  • antiquing
  • grocery shopping at Mennonite dry goods stores

We are as random as that bullet point list illustrates, but we have a blast! We use our state’s tourism website to find area activities and festivals. Usually, the person planning the event will not give away any details other than telling their spouse what to wear and how long it will take to get there. The surprise factor makes it so much more fun! For even more adventure, don’t use your GPS. We’ve taken a couple trips with only a map!

5. Formal Invitation

The nerds that we are, my husband and I like to match outfits.

Like… all the time.

We coordinate colors at church (even if we don’t match, we ‘go’) and have five sets of matching t-shirts to wear to the gym. Yes, it’s that bad.

One of our favorite things to do is get ‘gussied up’ for formal events. Now that our wedding is over, the ultimate dress-up day is in our past. However, we’re lucky to live in a college town and still be close enough to college age that we can attend formal events and dinners that benefit different causes. One of our favorites is the Military Gala. I have a few formal dresses I’ve kept around, and we’ll go to Belk or Penney’s to pick out a matching tie for Mr. M. This last gala we were able to attend with another couple, which made it an even better time!

We find this is a nice way to socialize with the community, meet other couples, and have a chance to be ‘positively smashing’ together – in addition to benefiting the causes we support.

6. Park It

For almost a year now, Mr. M has begged me to go play disc golf with him. It’s rather silly that I haven’t, since I’m the one that bought his discs.

Sundays after church we eat lunch with a great group of young adults (this group also does ‘themes’, much like our theme nights, but the theme is in relation to the lunch recipes alone) and have gone to the park with them at times. Frisbee, slack lines, soccer, dog walking, disc golf – the options are endless.

Another favorite is the local cemetery. For some, this may seem a bit morbid – but let me assure you, most cemeteries are actually beautiful, well tended places that are fascinating to peruse. I grew up visiting cemeteries and looking at the different names on the headstones, enjoying the gardens and bird watching. Mr. M and I have also done this and are even planning a picnic in our local cemetery, which doubles as a park!

7. Morning Routine

Okay, so this isn’t really a date, but I count it as one, because it is planned, intentional time together. Isn’t that what a date is?

As a single woman I enjoyed getting up early to go the gym before work. Once married, the last thing I want to do is leave my cozy bed  snuggled against my husband; so I’ve changed my routine. We set our alarm for the agreed upon time to accommodate our respective work schedules, then get up with enough time (generally) to make breakfast, eat together, and read the Bible together during breakfast. Now that it is summer, we try to utilize our spacious balcony (which houses my garden) in the mornings. It’s a lovely way to begin the day.

On days where we have enough time, I usually beg to make my coffee and take a turn around the pond below our complex. We usually see the neighbors walking their dogs and get a chance to bird watch, talk about what we’ve heard in the news, and see if we can spot the giant carp that swim near the shore in the morning.

In order to get up early and enjoy this time together, we make sacrifices in other areas. We got to bed rather early, and I now work out after work instead of before – Mr. M joins me when he can. With post-work commitments like the Junior League, morning is sometimes the only time we have, so we have to be intentional about it. It’s my favorite time of the day!

A few last ideas we’ve tried that don’t fit a dating-demographic:

  • Rent old cartoons and watch while eating your favorite cereal
  • Make a tent in your living room and watch a movie (yes, we’re kids at heart)
  • Play tennis
  • Go horseback riding
  • Pick out a fish together (just don’t kill it, like we did)
  • Run a 5k together
  • Visit pawn shops (one of our favorites!)
  • Go yard saling
  • Go to Ross or TJ Maxx and let him pick out an outfit you to try on, and vice versa
  • Go mini-golfing

Do you have some creative date ideas? Share them in the comments below!