Tag: date night

A Couples’ Retreat is NOT the same as a Lovers’ Getaway

February chills us to the bone. If the groundhog sees his shadow, we’re in for another six weeks of winter. I was ready for summer three months ago.

Spending time away from home with your significant other sounds like a cozy arrangement. You can leave behind all the household projects staring you in the face. Staying in a fancy chalet should be a great time.

When I think of spending time away with my husband, I’m thinking about long walks holding hands. Cuddling up together to watch romantic comedies on a tiny screen in our private room.

Sleeping late followed by in-room exercise that’s guaranteed to work up an appetite is on the schedule. Follow this up with breakfast and coffee and sharing a hot shower. Sounds pretty awesome so far, right?

Except – just like last February – my husband and I aren’t vacationing alone. We’re heading over Mt. Hood with five other couples to invest in strengthening our marriage.

Let me tell you, Couples’ Retreat is NOT synonymous with Lovers’ Getaway.

First of all, there will be no private room. We share the three-bedroom chalet with two other couples. One of them we don’t even know that well.

But I feel bad for them because they are young – and have only been married five months. This non-getaway must be cramping their style much more than it is mine.

After breakfasting around the log-cabin-style table, we all prepare to meet the day. First on the schedule is a team-building activity. Team meaning a married couple.

Lunch hits the spot. Who knew Central Oregon could chill a person to the bone in February? Oh, right. Me. I’m the one who reserved this place for the retreat.

On to a communication activity – or three. This is where my nearly-idyllic marriage falls short. Hubby and I have forgotten how to listen to each other. We think we know each other so well that we zone out during conversation.

Now we’re forced to confront these poor habits head-on. And discuss ways to improve our communication skills. I look around the room and wonder how forthright these couples are being in this group setting.

Now it’s time for the retreat to begin. “From ordinary to extraordinary” this presenter has called his four workshop sessions.

If I can’t have a lovers’ getaway, maybe I can learn how to communicate with my husband again. When did I stop listening to him? Sometime during those three years I worked full-time and went to college for the rest of my waking hours.

The retreat ends with a dress-up dinner out at a local restaurant. It’s a six-tuple date.

Maybe not romantic, but we all know marriage is hardly about the romance.

Would you choose a couples’ retreat or a lovers’ getaway? What do you see as the major weakness in your long-term relationship?

Friday – Your Favorite Day of the Week

It’s almost cruel to post about Friday on Monday. There are many Garfields in the world who hate Monday and wake up asking, “Is it Friday yet?” Why is Friday a favorite to so many people?

Last Day

Most people love Fridays because it’s the last day of their work week. This means it’s the last day for plenty of things:

  • Getting up early
  • Going to bed at a regular time
  • Driving to the office
  • Dealing with ugly traffic
  • Slogging through the stack of stuff on the desk

It’s only the last day for a very short time before the cycle begins again.

I’m self-employed. I’m wearing sweats and slipper socks as I type this post. That’s my “go to work” uniform. I still show up for six or more hours Monday through Friday. Someday, I might even collect a paycheck.

First Day

If you’re a “glass half full” sort of person (like me), you love Friday because it is the first day of your weekend. When you walk out of work at closing time, you answer to no schedule but one you choose.

Many times, Friday is the first day of:

  • Vacation
  • A three-day weekend
  • Rest & relaxation
  • Forgetting the stress associated with work

I freely admit that Friday is not the first day I must share my quiet work space with another individual. My oldest son works from home on both Wednesday and Friday (this telecommuting thing is great for some people). Friday brings both my son and my husband to their telecommuting office space.

Fortunately, we all have our own desk in three separate rooms. Most of the time the WiFi can even keep up with all the data we’re spewing around Internet-tionally. But when it’s lunch time, my space is invaded, and the quiet ends.

Fun Day

Friday night is date night for many people. Restaurants with open seating on Monday through Thursday require reservations on Friday. Why is this?

People are ready to celebrate the end of the work week. Maybe heading out on the town is the way they relax.

I’m not much of a late night person, so I’ve noticed that most forms of entertainment I might enjoy begin between 7 and 8 p.m. Whether we’re heading to a Blazer game or a Murder Mystery Dinner, things don’t get started until 7 or later.

Which is fine since most people aren’t getting up at their regular time the next morning. It’s Saturday. They’re sleeping in, cooking a lovely brunch to enjoy while leisurely scrolling through their Facebook feed. After that, they’ll tackle that wonderful thing called a “to do” list.

What do you like about Friday? If Friday isn’t your favorite day of the week, why not? What is your favorite day and what makes it so great?

Does your ideal date include a test drive?

A sunny Friday night spent dining with my husband in one of our family’s favorite restaurants. A prefect date night. Then comes the suggestion: how about test driving a Durango?

Yep. I want the red one.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when date and drive are used in the same sentence, this is what I think:

  • “Let’s do a date at the drive-in” (I know, I’m old.)
  • “How about a drive up to that scenic viewpoint to end our date?” (And then we park and, you know the rest.)

Test driving a car wasn’t on my radar. Until Friday night. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been married for 26 years. All the other exciting date options have been done to death (*rolls eyes*) so you resort to consorting with car salesmen.

It sounds exponentially more horrifying when you phrase it like that.

Fortunately, our salesman didn’t feel the need to press us forward. Of course, hubby didn’t drive either of the vehicles we might trade in for the new car either. He knows himself very well.

The model in the color I wanted with the options I like was still in transit to the dealership. Darn. I guess there’s no chance of a sale tonight.

Hubby drives the car off the lot. He takes it on the highway and punches it. Pretty fair response for a V-6. I’m enjoying the view from the passenger seat – above all the minions in their sporty or economical cars.

Eventually, I get to drive sedately down the road back to the dealership. The only reason there’s a blind spot is because of the window sticker. I could be a back-up pro with the reverse camera. Acceleration – check. Braking – ditto.

I’m still not sure I want such a big vehicle. I’m happy to whip in and out of tight places with my little RDX. Really, I just wanted to move up in the world to a stellar luxury brand.

Do I really want to be that girl? I’m thinking about it. Still. Okay, no, I don’t want to be all about the brand. “I drive an Audi.” “Oh, well my BMW cost more.” “Ha! My Mercedes trumps you all.” You know the type of person I’m talking about.

No, I don’t want to be that girl. Of course, the major selling point for the Durango is that it will whittle us down to one vehicle per person in the house. Yes, hubby agrees to let the truck go if we get something that can haul a utility trailer.

It’s not every girl that can separate a man from his truck.

What’s the strangest “date” you’ve ever been on? For the record, I have been on stranger ones.

Family Movie Night

familymovienight.marquee

Friday night for years meant two things: pizza and movies. Before our sons had a social calendar rivaling Paris Hilton, we would rent two movies, pick up a pizza and chill out in the family room.

This was back when the movies came from Blockbuster. Conveniently, our movie rental store was located two doors down from the Papa Murphy’s. That’s what I call one-stop shopping.

Fresh popcorn and fresh-baked pizza both stimulate the same response for me. It must be time for a movie.

We would fill our paper plates with slices of gooey pizza and sit in front of the TV. During the intermission between films, popcorn aromatized the house.

Soon basketball games and theater productions honed in on movie night. It didn’t work as well on Saturday night. Never did figure out a concrete explanation for this.

Change is inevitable. Kids are supposed to mature and find interests outside of their family. Encouraging them to invite friends to hang out at our house kept me in the loop longer than many parents.

Once the kids moved out, my husband and I dropped back into this familiar pattern. We tried to make it a “date night” but after a long week of work, that seemed like too much effort. Our dates became Saturday afternoon affairs.

Friday movie night isn’t the same anyway. We vary the type of take-out food (Chinese, pizza, Subway) and the movies come in the mail from Netflix. It isn’t the same. Are two people a “family”?

What sort of family traditions did you miss as you grew older? Can you recommend any new “couple-centric” things to replace movie night?

Date Night

Or Not

Spritzing on the body spray, I take one last look in the full-length mirror. Oh, forgot earrings. Back a few steps and locate the perfect pair to complement my outfit.

Dressing up for a night on the town happens rather rarely in the life of this lady. After 25 years of marriage, what’s the point?

First of all, I like to dress up and go out. Yes, even if it’s just dinner and a movie, I’ll still put on something special and dedicate extra attention to my hair and makeup.

Rewind 30 years. What was all the hype about dates back then? If you say it was about catching a guy, I’m sad for you.

It was an opportunity to get to know each other. Maybe we just wanted to have fun.

In my mind, those dates were an opportunity for a guy to show me that I was valued. He spent time deciding where to go, maybe making reservations. Over dinner, conversation about mutual interests flowed (or if it was all about him, there was no second date).

On the flip side, I showed my appreciation for his efforts by complimenting him. Nerves and expectations juxtaposed to make every moment like skating on thin ice. Who knows what will make it crack? The freeze follows.

I suppose the men don’t want to date us once we’re married because they don’t want the hassle. They ask what we want to do and we say, “Whatever you want is fine with me.”

Thin ice.

I know my husband values me. He washes and vacuums my car and makes sure it’s in perfect running condition. Planning a date night – not so much.

I think we should take the pressure off.  How? Get rid of expectations.

Recently, my husband took me to dinner at a restaurant about 30 minutes from home. I spent 30 minutes or so choosing an outfit, flat-ironing my hair and putting on makeup. Yes, I even added a spritz – or four – of Heavenly and a pair of corresponding earrings.

He threw out two options. I told him to choose. I didn’t bring up the subject again. No expectations. How can he make the wrong choice? Of course, if either of the options were less than appealing, I should have made the decision. If I leave it up to him, I have no recourse. Translation: sit down and shut up.

I suggested a walk around the mall across the street after dinner. It was mostly deserted. We bought two things. The dinner was three times as much as the mall purchases.

After driving home, I threw my sweats on and we watched a movie in our bonus room. I say it was a successful date night. Why? Because we relaxed our expectations for the good of the outing.

We’ve been married for too long for him to have experienced any nervousness. He probably didn’t even consider a good night kiss. Until he was next to me in bed, that is.

Are you a proponent of date nights for committed couples? What suggestions do you have to make them more effortless (without seeming devalued)?