Shortly after Lee and I got engaged he brought up one of his fears, which also mirrored one of mine: that through this period of engagement we would quit growing in friendship and focus solely on our wedding. I for one am a sap for weddings and also am a girl who loves all things pretty, has a lot of time at work to daydream and has a great cohort of friends and family who are over the moon excited for us and want to help with wedding details in any way possible.
Even with all of these factors, I'm not planning my wedding. Well, actually, it's not just me. It's Lee and I, so it's we. And we are definitely planning our wedding. BUT we are not allowing the planning for a mere one day of our lives to consume us for the next 255 days (thanks for the countdown, wedding websites everywhere).
With that, we have decided to institute...
(...drum roll please...)
wedding-free date nights!
Okay, so that might be a slight over-reaction, but it really is pretty exciting--both the date nights, and the ability to reference one of my favorite movies.
Also, for me personally, I have attempted to institute wedding-free Wednesdays! This is when I make my best attempt* at not doing anything wedding-related on Wednesdays, and then offer the struggle for the kiddos that I'll see later that night in religious ed.
* I'm still human, and still excited about having my own wedding someday, after all! I can't expect perfection right away, but I'll keep striving.
Ever since we've lived in the same city, Lee and I have held fast to our weekly date nights. Each week we take turns planning the evening's events, and we even extend our curfew until 10:00 on those nights so that way it's extra special (getting old is rough, dontcha know...). This wonderful schedule has allowed us to enjoy a plethora of activities that take minimal planning but that we might not do otherwise (think: read each other books at B&N, $5 movie Tuesdays, try fun new recipes or restaurants, carve pumpkins, scrapbook, etc).
I think that regular date nights are essential for couples--dating, engaged or married--and should be cherished and guarded each week, especially until the little ones come along and make life a little more joyfully chaotic. Also, when couples spend all of their time just "hanging out" and not actually doing anything, it can lead to not getting to know the person and all of their wonderful quirks, likes, and dislikes, but just feeding the emotional highs you get when you're close. It's a hard fact to face, but I do believe it's true. Snuggling up next to each other on the couch every night may seem like a great idea, but with any firm resolve to remain pure and chaste, that can really be dancing on the edge of the fire, if you know what I mean. That's why we keep a running list of "Things to do with the other" and when in need of an activity, we don't have the excuse that, "there's nothing to do!" Shoot, we've got a whole list right there on our handheld devices. And believe me, there are always things to do. Take this example from Olivia over at To the Heights. You don't need to live in a big city with lots of social options to keep you entertained; try something as simple as having a candlelit homemade dinner, or teaching someone your favorite game (in this case it's chess..and one of these days I WILL let you teach me, Lee, I promise).
Because both Lee and I cherish our weekly date nights, we have decided to guard them even from our own wedding planning, and let these nights be just about us and our growing friendship. Our relationships don't just stop growing when we get engaged or married, anyway. Plus, this is a pretty sweet deal, am I right? Sure, it's tempting to want to bring up the, "what about this idea?" or, "Have you thought about that?" But in all reality, we are starting to see that those ideas aren't going anywhere, and will be there to talk about the next day. We also have a nifty Google wedding spreadsheet with a "To-do" tab, so if we think of something to talk about, we can just add it on there and talk about it on some night other than our date night.
After a little reflection about why I think setting time aside to not do wedding planning is so important, I realized that in a sense, it is a lesson in trust. Trusting that everything will work out just fine--regardless of when this reservation is made or that decision is decided, we just need to trust that everything will work out exactly as it's supposed to. So far we have had zero road bumps in planning and choosing venues, so it's also pretty easy to trust right now. But in a real, tangible way, this is preparing us for marriage when we will need to trust in God to take care of all of the unknowns (our family, our jobs, our finances, etc.) when we can't control everything. And ultimately, I don't want to be the one in control anyway. That's His job, not ours.
Here are a few pictures I found from some of our fun date nights:
|Lee made me a fancy birthday dinner of salmon and asparagus for this date night.|
|Carving pumpkins before Halloween!|
|We each picked out a children's book that we liked and read it to one another.|
(Lee picked the book above, I chose Walter the Farting Dog. So romantic.)
|Making our first cookie cutouts together for Christmas!|
|Grilling at the State Park by the |
lake for date night.