Josh and I believe in cultivating a strong marriage. This is not something that happens overnight or with little effort. Having this kind of relationship with anyone, including God, requires invested time and communication. As you unselfishly spend time seeking the heart of the Father, you soon experience the rewards of your efforts. So, it is with dating your spouse. When you make the decision to unselfishly sow into your spouse WITHOUT expectations, you WILL see the rewards of your efforts. They may not come as quickly as they do with the Lord, but in time, you will see them!
Galatians 6:9 "And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."
Colossians 3:17, 23 "And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him. Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,"
However, if choosing to be selfless or sowing without expectations is new in your marriage, there may be some hurts that need to be addressed, forgiven, and forgotten. (But that's another blog post!)
Setting up Date Night:
1. We chose Thursday night for several reasons:
a. There were no recurring events on Thursdays
b. We knew weekends tend to fill up with family or other social events.
2. NOTHING gets scheduled on this evening.
3. First & Third Thursdays of the month are at home or close to home (do not require a sitter). We explained to the kids that this night is for Mommy and Daddy to spend together and they can play on their own. (Family Nights are Wednesday nights, so we will have just spent an evening with them.) If you have little ones (under 5), date night in may have to happen after bedtime (and perhaps bedtime is a little earlier this night.)
4. Second & Fourth Thursdays of the month are out of the house (will require sitter if no kids are of age to babysit). This does not mean we spend money outside of a sitter.
5. Set a monthly date night budget and stick to it. This may start out very small in the beginning depending on your season of life and finances. Ask for gift cards for birthdays and Christmas. Sowing into your marriage is more important than the other "things" you may want.
6. Schedule your date night details and line up a sitter (when needed). Plan out at least a month in advance. (We do it quarterly.)
20 Date Night Ideas:
Think outside the box, have fun and go on an adventure with your spouse!
1. Window Shop at your favorite home improvement stores (dream about future home or projects).
2. Coffee Shop/Mall/Book Store: (make & take your own coffee if needed) Share vision for your future as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. Talk about what God has been teaching you. Plan future date nights/days.
3. Try a new place to eat! If it turns out to be a dud, do not look at it as a waste of time or money, but as an adventure you took and time well spent together! Then head home for some better grub!
4. Take a day trip! Do some research (google and/or friends).
5. Go yardsaling/antiquing (is that even a word?!)
6. Brunch. Breakfast is a cheap date and (in my opinion) able to be eaten at any time of day or night!
7. Walk/Run together.
8. Motorcycle/Bicycle Ride.
9. Hiking and a picnic.
10. Try/Attend a teambuilding activity.
11. Test Drive a New Car.
12. Target Shooting at a Gun Range.
13. Create a scavenger hunt for the other person!
14. Send the kids away for the evening. Plan, shop for, and make a meal together.
16. Exchange massages.
17. Roller/Ice skating
18. See a local Play/Musical
19. Progressive Supper (Appetizers at 1 place, Soup & Salad at another, Entrees at another, dessert at another or home)
20. Wii Tournament
Recently, I got to share how God is transforming me from the inside out. (Notice the present tense?) I started a journey to (let's be honest) just lose weight almost 4 years ago. I did it. I lost the weight. Actually, I was the fittest I had ever been (on the outside.) I started the journey weighing 185 lbs and got as low as 128 lbs (a number I hadn't seen...well, since I was a teeny bopper).
But, want to hear more honesty? I was still concerned more about the outside than the inside. Consumed. Yes. That is a much better word. Everything I did...ate...didn't eat...consumed me. And the compliments I received from the physical transformation? They were probably genuine, but they were feeding the wrong part of me. They were feeding my flesh. My pride.
God decided enough was enough. He had work for me to do. If I was so wrapped up in myself, how was I going to fulfill His purpose? I wasn't. I couldn't. I needed a perspective shift. I needed to fix my eyes on Jesus.
He started orchestrating new people to enter my life and others to leave. The scales (no pun intended) started falling off my eyes and collecting dust in my bathroom. I experienced His passion for people in the depths of my spirit. My heart was breaking for what broke His....the lost (those who don't know Him or are living free in and through Him).
So, began my REAL transformation. I was now in a position to start really hearing from the Lord and moving forward in His calling for my life and that of my family. He filled me with fresh purpose and passion and showed me my next steps in the journey.
I am now in a place of true joy and contentment: body, spirit, mind. I love Jesus and can barely get through a day without being overwhelmed by His goodness and the opportunities of sharing that goodness with others. Each time lights a new fire within me to keep seeking, learning, growing, and sharing. I want EVERYONE I meet to find fulfillment and freedom like I have found.
It is possible. There is hope. And it starts with a man named Jesus.
Over the last several years, I have realized the importance of meal planning and the positive effects on my overall wellness. We have been able to save money while sticking to our budget, decrease stress and save this momma's sanity when asked, "What's for supper?" I have learned many useful tips would like to share a few of the basics with you. Meal planning is not meant to be torture (although, when you are first starting out, it may seem that way). I hope you will have a new found peace in this area after you have read through and implemented these tips.
Before you begin:
1. Grab your UPDATED calendar (yours, hubby's, and kiddos). This is important, so you know which nights need to be a crockpot/easy-throw-together meal with little to no prep or which nights you have more time to put into the meal.
2. Set and know your grocery budget. (God desires us to be good stewards of our resources and that includes honoring our finances.) There was a time that Team Shuman actually carried a calculator with us through the store and added up our groceries to stay within our budget. Seems silly, but was an instrumental move to get us out of debt!
3. Gather your favorite recipes that include ingredients and the amounts you will need.
4. Take inventory of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. More often than not, you will come home from the grocery store with double or triple of something you already have because you did not check these places.
5. Have a visible meal planner!
6. Consider using a grocery list app. I am a pen and paper girl, but have on several occasions, forgotten the list at home or even left it in the van. I always have my phone and therefore will never be without my list again. Another perk to using an app is the ability for other people (your spouse) to add to the list as well via their phone. (Just remember to have auto-sync turned on.) You can check off each item as you buy them, but it saves your list for the next time!
Favorite Apps: Out of Milk (for Android), Any List (for iOS)
1. Meal plan based off the food you already have or meals that will require minimal items bought at the grocery store. This is a HUGE money saver!
2. We all have family favorites in our rotation, but sometimes they can get old. Instead of trying to make all new recipes, try starting with 1-2 new recipes per week. Ask friends or check Pinterest (Be sure to set a timer, so you stay focused and don't spend your entire evening "meal planning.").
3. Ask the family for suggestions. Any complaining at mealtime will be quieted with the fact that you gave them an option to have input for the meals! :)
3. As you choose meals and place them on your planner, be sure to place ALL needed ingredients and amounts of each onto your grocery list. When you are done meal planning, you will know exactly how many pounds of chicken you need or how many cans of beans you need, etc.
Understand and recognize your current season of life. Can you realistically plan for a whole month or do you need to start small and plan 3 days ahead? 1 week? 2 weeks? My husband gets paid bi-weekly and therefore I plan 2 weeks at a time.
I hope this was helpful for you and can relieve some stress and help save you tie and money!