Date Night Ideas

Date Night Ideas

Here’s a quick run through of date night ideas. My wife and I actually use these. And with it being close to Christmas, maybe there’s a few good ideas you can turn into a gift…

Cheap/Basically Free:

  • Netflix and Chill. Come on it had to be here! My wife and I like to watch a favorite series and eat ice cream in bed.
  • Interview Questions. This is fun, and can be done in combination with almost any other date ideas. We ask each other questions, specifically intended to find out more about each other – and we still do this after 15+ years of marriage! We’re still discovering more and more about each other, and loving very step along the way. Some of our responses have changed over the years also. Don’t know what to ask? Start here.
  • 2-player video games. We’ve been playing Overcooked on Nintendo Switch lately and it’s a blast!
  • Nice Dinner at home. I love to cook, so I’ll occasionally grab a couple steaks, or scallops, or mussels, and cook up a simple, quick, elegant meal for just the two of us. There’s something intimate about cooking together.
  • Cleaning Party. Ok, no lie, this is nowhere near my first choice. I’d much rather “Netflix and Chill”! But we get some needed things done around the house, and that makes both of us feel more romantic.
  • Run errands together. We hear couples complain about never having enough time together. So turn ordinary things into a date! Buying groceries? Get a coffee together and make it a date!
  • Coffee and Prayer. I’m trying to do better at this. With 4 kids and a constantly busy house, there’s plenty to interrupt us. But we try to consistently have some regular morning time to pray for each other… over a cup of home made coffee.
  • Board/Card Games. These are so fun together, but also a great idea for family nights. We like Sushi Go, Game of Life, Ultimate Werewolf, and, yes… Exploding Kittens.
  • Overnight date at Home. This one’s for all the married with kids folks! We have a few other trusted families who we swap off watching our children overnight with about once a month to every other month. Our kids get to have sleepovers, and so do we with each other.

Moderate Cost:

  • Dance Lessons. Contrary to my Baptist roots, dancing is fun, romantic, and not inherently evil. There’s a great little affordable class you can do together in-home here!
  • New restaurant. We love to eat out, and we’re very adventurous with trying new foods/cuisines. We’ve got a favorite ramen joint, Ethiopian spots, plenty of Indian, Korean, phò, and of course Mexican options all around us. More importantly, we love experiencing them together.
  • Night at a nearby hotel. Occasionally, we’ll take a night out – in or near our own town! It’s like getting away but with far less travel time. And for the cost of a single hotel night, it’s pretty fun.
  • Art Gallery. We’ve only gone to a few art galleries, but have had a lot of fun each time! These are reasonably affordable trips, and this is another good family “date” for kids in many cases.
  • Comedy Show. These can be tough to find decently clean shows, but we recently went to Gabriel Iglesias and LOVED him. Hilarious, and decent.
  • Nearby travels. We have the good fortune of living in the SF Bay Area, and we’re surrounded by lots of great date day options that amount to a day trip. We’ve toured San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Paso Robles, Downtown San Jose, Willow Glen, Fremont, and several other parts of our greater Bay Area just to discover people and places together.
  • Fire pit. We have a enough yard space to enjoy a fire pit. It’s perfect for cuddling, talking, and enjoy a drink or meal, and just unplugging from all the other distractions for a bit. This is the one we use. We paid less, and we’ve had it for years.

Special Occasions/Pricey:

  • Michelin Star Chef. As a big food nerd, I found out there was a 3-star chef nearby that I was dying to visit. We saved a considerable amount of money for this trip, but enjoyed what is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime meal. We’ll share the memories of that meal for the rest of our lives. WORTH IT.
  • Hawaii. We went here for our 13th Anniversary a few years ago. As an Army brat growing up, I lived on Oahu for 3 years, and already knew several “must do” stops. But we spent half the trip on Kauai and just relaxed. Maui and the “Big Island” are also great. Lanai is tiny!
  • Missions Trip. We recently went to Kenya together and got to serve some missionaries and Kenyan pastors. It was a joy to serve together, and reminded both of us of what our marriage is centered around.
  • Family Reunion. My extended family is literally spread coast-to-coast. We had a big family reunion a year ago and reconvened with most of them in Oklahoma where my parents live. The trip there and back was as rewarding as the time with our relatives.
  • Conference/Retreat. We’ve both spoke at different conferences, and have attended dozens more. Some were focused on ministry, our marriage, or just a getaway with other couples. They are all rewarding and great to experience together.
  • Special Experience. We have loved some of the wine tours around us. We’ve gone fishing together on charter boats,
  • Visit another part of the world. We’ve got more travel plans. I promised my wife when I married her that I’d take her to Ireland. So Ive got plan that out soon! We’ve been to Germany, and hope to also go to A few tropical places sooner rather than later.

This is just a simple kick-starter list – the point obviously is to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company and building intimacy. What are some other favorite married date ideas you’ve enjoyed with your spouse? Anything I should have added?

Blessings,
Pastor John

7 Valentine Ideas for Men

7 Valentine Ideas for Men

If you’re a dude, you know that you can’t neglect to do “something” for your wife for Valentine’s day. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not be sure what to do. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking in the right direction. By all means, adapt as necessary to woo your woman’s heart…

  1. Come home early. There’s hardly a worse way to begin a night of romancing your wife like trying to hurry her out the door so that you don’t miss a reservation. Take your time.
  2. Flowers. Simple. Easy. And (almost) every woman loves them.
  3. Dinner. Either somewhere decent, or home cooked, but only if you have more in your cooking repertoire past grilling meat.
  4. Dress nicer. Please tell me you have at least one good button-down collar shirt? Tie not required. You’re dating your wife, not taking her back to the wedding altar.
  5. Personal touch. Do at least one thing that is special and unique to the two of you. This shows that you actually planned something. This could be in the form of a gift.
  6. Talk! Don’t go to a movie or anywhere that you are expected to sit quietly. Instead, go for a walk somewhere decent where you can connect.
  7. Memories. Bring up a favorite time the two of you had together, and tell her why you liked that time. Use details.

Be a real man: romance your wife.

Blessings,

John

Single Ladies’ Checklist

Single Ladies’ Checklist

EVERY unmarried girl I’ve ever know has had “the list”: a detailed description of what her ideal man would be like. Some of the things on the list are non-negotiables while some of them are more “wants” than requirements. Regardless of who you are, here are a few things that should make the list of all the single ladies (I couldn’t resist):

  1. Loves Jesus more than you. If he does, you should feel more secure, not less. He answers to a higher authority than you regarding your relationship.
  2. Respects his parents. He will bring several parts from this relationship into your marriage… just like you will.
  3. Has a J-O-B. A real man takes care of himself and his family. No excuses. If he would rather have no job over washing dishes, RUN! Also be very leery of a guy that quits one job before he has another.
  4. Treats all women with respect. Young, old, attractive, less attractive, funny, boring, whatever… Treating women with respect without any thought of what he can get out of his kindness, tells me that chivalry is part of his values, not simply his behavior on a first date.
  5. Physically patient. If he gets pushy for the first kiss, leave him. Period. What else will he try pressuring you into? If he cannot delay gratification in the small things, it’s unlikely that he will on the bigger, more obvious things later. There’s a word for this guy: selfish. And he’s more interested in what he can get than in what you need.
  6. Self-secure. Confidence is extremely attractive. Few people want to be with someone that is always down on themselves. And a man definitely requires a certain amount of security in himself, and your relationship, if he is going to be any kind of leader. If he constantly questions you on where you’re going, who you’re with, etc. then maybe you need to sit down and talk about the root of these insecurities. If it can’t be resolved, you may need to move on. Insecurity can escalate dangerously if not put into check.
  7. Not Conceited. While you want a man that is self secure, you do not want a man who thinks he’s “all that.” If he loves himself more than you, chances are, he’ll end up being the only one with such a high opinion of himself.
  8. Compatibility. Specifically in the areas of family expectations, life direction, and values. If he intends on living on the west coast and you’re from Virginia, you may have to decide whether you’re willing to live so far from your family. Also, are you willing to be married to a guy who does __________ for a living? Or did you always dream of marrying a guy that did something else? How much of those things are you willing to let go of or adapt?

Blessings,

John

The Questions You Asked… Part 2

The Questions You Asked… Part 2

  1. Question: “Are there people in Heaven right now?” Answer: 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather, to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord.”
  2. Question: “Would something artificial (hearts, lungs, etc.) be considered bad?” Answer: The Bible gives us no direction on this. Some argue that “the life of the body is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) and therefore we shouldn’t have a blood transfusion. I don’t find that conclusion in this passage. As far as I am concerned, there are no guiding principles against it, and if I (or any of my family) ever needed an artificial body part in order to live a relatively functioning lifestyle, I would accept it.
  3. Question: “What is the best way to speak to people of other faiths, including atheists?” Answer: In general? Find common ground and love them to Jesus. That is a gross over-simplification, but without dealing with every specific religion individually, that’s the best advice I can give. That, and be sure of what you believe, and why you believe it. Oh and one more thing… decide not to argue with anyone. Most of the arguments we get into drive people away from Christ, and if they just want to argue with you, they’ve already chosen to blind themselves for this conversation at least.
  4. Question: “Are piercings bad?” Answer: Like tattoos, I would say it depends. Why are you getting a piercing? What are you hoping people notice about you or think about you? Can you do it for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)?
  5. Question: “What [clothing] is considered too revealing?” Answer: As Pastor Craig and I dealt with this in Elevate this past Sunday, if you’re having to ask that, it might be too revealing! Remember to ask yourself, “who am I trying to impress, and what do I want to impress them with?” If the answer is some aspect of your body, it’s probably inappropriate. Even worse, you will attract guys, but not the one’s you really want to be in a relationship with. If you’re unsure, ask someone you trust like a parent, pastor, pastors wife, etc…
  6. Question: “How far should education be allowed to go with sex-ed, ancient cultures, violence…?” Answer: Excellent question! Personally, I am adamant that this is the role of parents first and foremost. I’m comfortable with schools dealing with issues of anatomy and physiology. But sex-ed is an entirely different subject. If/when my kids are at that age and being directed to a sex-ed class in school, I will withhold them on religious grounds. Even churches need to be cautious about dealing with minors on this subject without parents’ knowledge.
  7. Question: “What if a girl says no to a date?” Answer: Ask a different girl out! Don’t get your feelings hurt. And don’t be desperate.