And how to truly connect when things are crazy!

I didn’t really want to write this blog if I’m honest. I am no marriage expert for one thing. And for another, when you are knee-deep in the career-building, kids raising, money and time-intensive season of life like we are, romantic getaways and date nights are not very high on the priority list. Sorry if that makes me sound like a terrible wife but it’s true. I am not even a fan of Valentine’s day!

With all that being said, I do believe that love should be celebrated, even in the midst of the busy, the manic, the intensive and the expensive seasons. But it’s hard when you feel like you’re busier than a one-armed ninja and there are 1000 things you know you should rather spend the time or the money on. In those seasons we are always tempted to rely on “marriage muscle memory”, falling back on the good work you did in those first few years (you know, when you were still reading marriage books and being all precious about it!) and all the dates and romance you “banked” back then. But marriage is not a credit facility and let me tell you straight up…

So here are some clever ideas to not just get away or feel like you are getting away, but to actually make that time count. To not be that couple so overwhelmed by life that date night becomes an admin or management meeting, so worn out by it all that a weekend away becomes simply an opportunity to escape into a book or a Netflix series with no real moments of connection. Whether you are just stepping out for a date night, or sneaking away for a long weekend, there are ways to make the hard-earned (ahem!) time out and money spent really count for your marriage.

Turn date night into an international experience

It’s not always possible and feasible to get away, but it’s totally possible to feel like you did! A local eatery with international flavour can do the trick! Some of our favourites include La Boqueria in Parktown North, where you can feel like you are in the heart of Barcelona. For a slightly more affordable option, visit La Rosa for the best skinny Marguerita in the city and full on Mexican vibes! And what about a free option Kona? Two thermal mugs of your favourite hot beverage and walk around your local park (Here in Jozi, The Wilds in Houghton will make you feel like you’re strolling a park in Italy, safe, free and magical!) slows the pace life right down and will cost you nothing but time.

Romance for every budget & seasonChange the scenery, change the energy

There are times and seasons when the sheer maddening mediocrity of extramural schedules, google calendar invites and home maintenance reduces our interactions with our partner to rushed, obligatory exchanges, completely absent of malice, yes, but fully entrenched in the mundane. That is when a change of scenery is called for. Maybe you need a quick anniversary escape, or a not-too-far-away and a not-too-pricey break from (out of?) routine. Why not keep an eye on websites like Travelstart where there are new deals for all sorts of budgets and new destinations being uploaded all the time (so it’s a good idea to subscribe). You can even check on cheap flights or quick one or two-night self-drive breaks (depending on the babysitting situation am I right?).



Banish boredom, create connection

I never want to be one of those couples that you see out to dinner, just sitting there, staring off into space, or worse, at their phones, with nothing meaningful to talk about or share. But when the long-anticipated date night or weekend away arrives I am so bowled over with relief that it’s finally happened and angst over how little time we really have simultaneously that all the great things I want to talk about flies right out of my head and I just sit there….thinking about how many litres of milk we have left. Or if the coleslaw I bought on Monday will still be fine with dinner tomorrow. It probably won’t be. I will probably serve it anyway. Also, I have to work hard to make sure we don’t talk about fishing the whole night. I’m serious, that is legitimately something that can happen. What can I say, my husband, bless him, he’s passionate.

If this happens to you (please say this also happens to you?) here are some questions you can ask to spark conversation and create a connection that will truly make your precious time out count.

Romance for every budget & season

Giving intentional attention to our marriages is hard when we are needing to keep our eye on the many balls we have to juggle and when everything else feels so urgent. But if we focus on creating experiences that foster connection, we can come away from even just a simple dinner or walk around the block together feeling stronger and more intimately aligned in facing the big and the small of whatever season we find ourselves in. For more on marriage (and what we are modelling to our kids about it) also check out The Mommy Diaries!

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.” 

Tim Keller