Fast forward three or four years.
Whether you're married, moved-in together, or have simply made it out of the honeymoon phase, there's no denying that eventually you relax into a routine. The routine probably involves going to work, cooking dinner, maybe some tv, maybe some *ahem*. This time together is comfortable and can even be really fun at times, but it's not exactly the most romantic.
EJ and I got there this past year when I started graduate school. I was taking classes and working three part time jobs. He was working full time and coaching part time in the mornings before work. To say that we were in a routine would've been an understatement. Don't get me wrong...I love routine, but unfortunately the routine we had fallen into left us with maybe an hour a day together. So when the summer started and we both had a little more free time, I started brainstorming ways to spend more ways to spend time together (and more importantly, to make that time fun) without needing to schedule in expensive "date nights" or drastically change our schedules.
Before dinner every night EJ and I usually try to get in 30 minutes of exercise. For me, that's usually yoga. For him, it's going on a run, cycling or lifting weights. My yoga practice is primarily fueled by online videos from DoYouYoga.com, and when I saw their new "Yoga For Men" 30 Day Challenge, I sent it over to EJ. At first he laughed at me. Picture the Tin Man before he gets oiled in The Wizard of Oz. That's EJ. But after I explained that the videos are only 10 minutes he agreed to do them with me after his run as a stretch and cool down. Neither of us had to give up those 30 minutes alone, but we still get to share that extra time on the mat each day.
Maybe I'll even try running or lifting with him after the 30 days are over ;)
Grocery shopping became EJ's chore last year when I was super busy with homework on the weekends. Now that I have time again, I have been going with him. This was something my parents always did when I was growing up...the grocery store was always a group trip. Not that Harris Teeter is a huge outing or anything, but it's something!
On my to-do list is finding a local farmers market to hit up on the weekends together. Saving money on produce, getting some sunshine, and spending Saturday mornings together with a destination? Count me in.
We finally have a kitchen large enough for two butts!!!! I love to cook and an extra pair of helping hands is always welcome. Being in the kitchen together with some music on leads to impromptu dancing, quicker meal prep, and a chance to ask how each other's days went before we stuff our mouths full of food.
Just Try New Things
This one teeters on the edge of "date night" but doesn't have to be expensive or high stakes! This past weekend there was a road bike race in Winston accompanied by a reggae concert. EJ enjoys cycling and wanted to see some of the races, so he asked if I wanted to go. In theory, definitely not my ideal way to spend a Saturday night, but we ended up inviting some friends and having a lot of fun! Most cities are full of festivals, concerts, galleries, and other events. Check out your local newspaper, pick a destination and head out. If you hate it, then you have permission to return to your couch...but in my experience, most things are exponentially more fun with someone you love by your side.