• Jennifer Hastings

Making Your Marriage a Priority!

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Marriage Challenge: Have a Year of Dates!

“You paid how much for Claire’s glasses?” He questions me as his eyebrows furrow together in that all too familiar scowl and I know immediately we will be discussing Claire’s new glasses for longer than I deem necessary. I try and remain silent. Just hold your tongue, I tell myself.

“You do know you could have just replaced the lenses, don’t you?” He walks around the bed looking for his flip-flops that rarely make their way into the closet. (I didn’t actually think of that, I have never worn glasses myself.) I also keep that fact to myself. All I knew was I didn’t want Claire Bear looking through those scratched lenses anymore. Plus, as far as fashion is concerned, it makes sense you might want to change your look every once in a while. I bend down and pick up his work shoes he left by the bed and toss them into his closet.

“You didn’t have to buy her new frames!” Stewart continues with a list of all the reasons why my choices at the eye doctor were ten shades of wrong. I figured this wasn’t the best time to mention, I upgraded her to transition lenses too. I could be saving her from premature crow’s feet. I'm not really sure you can put a price tag on that. Again, those thoughts are safe inside my head. I'm in listening mode.

Just this once, I thought I was going to succeed in keeping my tongue reigned in. It felt good, letting him get out his frustrations and trying to hear his points. He did have a few good ones this time. He seemed to have slowed down and I thought I had made it to the other side of his tirade. I’m still holding on to the idea of a pleasant dinner at this point. He is making his closing remarks when he looks me dead in the eye taking his index finger to his temple he bumps it a couple of times in a row and says. "Think... next time!” I kiss that pleasant dinner goodbye because it is on now! Well, as you can imagine, all hopes of remaining silent died! Stewart just won himself a ticket to every eye doctor visit and glasses fitting until Claire can drive herself to her own appointments.

I only share this little slice of life story because marriage is hard! Two people coming together with different opinions and personalities trying to make family life work is not easy! The regular stresses of everyday life can take its toll on a marriage. If we are not careful, many parts of our marriage can become like a business transaction instead of a thriving relationship.

If you look back through your text threads with your spouse, how would it read? If yours is at all like ours it reads more like an instructional manual and to do list than a romance novel.

Don’t forget to stop and get milk


Who am I picking up

no one, just meet me at the game

Which gym

The rec by the water park


Sound familiar?

Continuing to date your spouse is important!

One thing that has helped me forgive Stewart’s temporary lapses in judgment like telling me to think while tapping his forehead... is the fact that we have been taking time to have fun together and making good memories. For the last several years, we have tried to go on at least one date a month and I love it! I know it can be expensive especially if your budget is tight, but look at it like this, you are investing in a lasting relationship. If you value your marriage, setting aside some time and money to make date night happen, will be well worth it. There are lots of things you can do that don’t even cost money. Some of my favorite date nights have been cooking dinner together at home and playing games. We feed the kids something really healthy like corn dogs and let them eat on fancy china by candlelight. We start a movie and they don’t even realize bedtime came a little earlier than usual. Sneaky, I know!

Just a few hours out of our house with Stewart makes me feel like the people we used to be before we had three kids and dog to take care of. I also get Stewart to kiss me at the front door before we both go in, makes me feel young! I know some of you mamas don’t want to leave your little ones, but think of the example you are setting for your kids...marriage is a priority! Those fun times can remind us we are actually friends underneath all the pressures of life.

I plan to share a few more marriage challenges with you during 2019, but this one has the power to help transform your marriage the quickest! If you have never committed to having a date night at least once a month…try it in 2019! Make it one of your goals. If you don't have children or your children are grown, once a week might be a better goal for you. I was talking to a sweet friend today and she and her husband have a standing Friday date right after work. She was so cute as she told me about how much they both look forward to this simple part of their week. It can be as simple as having coffee together before you head out to work. I believe marriages are under attack in our world today. We must protect the family unit. We buy life insurance, health insurance, why not think of date night as marriage insurance?

I keep a short log our dates in my notebook as motivation not to miss a month. It irks me if I have a blank month and the simple act of writing it down keeps me accountable to making it a priority. It is also fun to go back and reading what we did over the course of the year! This year I will be better about taking pictures though! Looking back, I only have a few pictures from our year of dates.

Year of Dates


January- Double date to see the comedian, Tim Hawkins, and then dinner at Champy’s

February- Went to Athens to see Tennessee boys play Georgia in basketball and ate at the Trapeze

March-Double date in town at Crescent City and saw an ACT play

April-Spent the night in Knoxville and ate at Stock and Barrel, played cards back at the hotel

May- We take an annual Memorial Day trip to the mountains with my best friend, Kylee, and her family.

June-Double date to Dalton’s first downtown concert series at Burr Park

July- Lunch date at Sol De Mayo in Crown Mill (The apartment building where we met now has shops and restaurants)

August- Watched a meteoroid shower in the back of Stewart's truck in the driveway

September- Family movie night- Karate Kid

October- Big month we were able to have two dates. For our anniversary weekend we stayed in Atlanta and attended my cousin’s wedding and we also got to watch our first football game in a box through Stew’s work!

November-Double date with Cab and Stephannie at Bitter Alibi in Chattanooga

December- Christmas shopping for kids and stayed in a hotel in Knoxville where we ended up too tired to go to dinner. We ended up eating Snickers ice cream bars from the hotel lobby and watching episodes of Cheers on Netflix

As you can see, nothing fancy for us. The way I see it, there is no right or wrong way to plan your dates. The only way you can go wrong is to sit back and let life take its natural course which will more than likely end up with you having arguments over the price of a pair of glasses! Hope you will join us in creating your own list of dates in 2019!

Other Marriage Challenges:

Face Time Verse Shoulder-to-Shoulder Time

How to Fight Fair: The Rules of Engagement

Treat Your Husband Like Your Best Girlfriend

Improving Your Marriage One Conversation at Time


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