This summer, I’ll be featuring some healthy living guest experts to share with you amazing tips, tricks and techniques that go beyond what you normally find here on The House of Healthy. You’ll find new and exciting ways to get healthy all summer long.
The week’s guest is Chanler Jeffers, life coach and writer at teamjeffers.com. I’m sure you’ll find her tips on life, aging and relationships quite refreshing and fun.
Lemme guess. You and your beloved are side by side. Something electronic is there with you–a phone, a television, a laptop–some noisy thing that takes your attention away from one other. Or maybe you’re not married. Maybe you just have a significant other, good friend or even a family member who lives with you. Whatever the case, it’s likely your free time together is a bit stagnant, because it’s easy to get in a rut. Many of us arrive home from work, and then collapse into a comfortable routine. Frequently this routine involves tuning out someone we love, because we’re so tired from our workday that we just don’t want to interact with anyone.
This inertia can’t be good for us.
Not only is it bad for us emotionally, it’s bad for us physically. You know this intuitively, but here’s proof: ‘Lack of exercise as ‘deadly’ as smoking’. That’s serious stuff, Friend. Without a doubt, crashing on the sofa each night is a habit you need to break. Here are some ways to either connect emotionally with the person you live with, or how to get some physical exercise together. Regardless of which ones you prefer, all of them are great dates for married people.
1. Wander a book store together.
This is one of the best dates for married people I know, and it’s something my husband and I regularly enjoy doing. Many bookstores now have cafes, so you can also grab a quick coffee or tea. My husband and I will wander together at first, and then branch off to discover our own treasures. Sometimes we’ll find local art, sometimes we’ll find a fascinating bulletin board with community postings, and sometimes we’ll find an actual book we decide we need–the opportunities of neat things to discover are endless. Once we’ve made our find, we’ll hunt down the other person so we can share our discovery. This is a great way to provide us with new things to talk about, and have led us to many interesting discussions about a variety of topics.
2. Take some kind of class together.
Adult education classes are offered in a variety of ways. Many communities will offer adult education through the school districts themselves, using actual high schools, in the evenings. You can learn dancing, photography, calligraphy, car maintenance, computer programming–genuinely, the lists of topics are endless, and change pretty regularly. These classes are very inexpensive, and only run for a few weeks at a time, so they’re not a huge time commitment. You can also choose to support a small business in your area. My husband made me a beautiful bowl in a pottery class run by one of our local craftsmen. It’s now where I store my keys. There’s no limit to the kinds of classes that are out there–find one that suits you both, and enjoy!
3. Recreate your first date.
Most years, my husband and I go back to the restaurant where we had our first date. We met on New Year’s Eve day, which is easy to remember, and we enjoy celebrating this special occasion each year at the very same place it all started. You don’t have to wait for your anniversary, though–you can recreate your first date any time you want. Was your first date formal? Or playful? Whatever it was, it’s unique to you, and part of your shared history. So celebrate it! Have a great time recreating the date, and remember to take pictures so you can compare then and now.
Uh oh. Are the pictures scary?
So you’ve recreated your first date, and it made you realize how much you’ve changed over the years, huh? Yeah. This happens. It’s another reason to get off the sofa. There are lots of low-key things you can do to get some physical exercise, though. Keep reading.
4. Go bowling together.
Bowling is always fun. If you’re good at bowling, it will make you feel successful and confident. If you’re bad at bowling, it will be hysterically funny.
I don’t see a downside to any of this, regardless of your bowling skills.
5. Go for a walk together.
Too hot outside? Or maybe it’s raining? No worries, and no excuses. Go mall walking. Mall walking is another favorite activity of ours, since we live in the South and my husband easily gets headaches from the extreme heat. This air-conditioned walking gets in some gentle exercise, gives us time to connect and have conversation, and gives us a chance to see new things. But the best part of mall walking? The people watching. Seriously. You don’t know what you’re missing out there.
Or—you might prefer a stroll in your neighborhood. Or a park, the beach or anywhere else you fancy. There is no equipment to buy–you just pick a place, and then put one foot in front of the other. Fresh air, exercise and conversation with you loved one. All fabulous things, I promise.
6. Have fun with old-school things.
Remember jigsaw puzzles? Or playing cards? Look back to the days when our toys didn’t have to be plugged in, and you’ll discover leisure activities that connect the people involved. Dates for married people years ago frequently involved getting together with other couples for dinner at someone’s house, and then playing cards into the wee hours. This is a great thing to do, and will allow for lots of conversation and sharing. Pick a couple you enjoy, and have them over for dinner and cards.
7. And if you just have to have the television on…
Have some fun with it. My husband is particularly good at this game. We’ll turn the television to the Spanish channel. (PS–neither of us speak Spanish). We’ll turn the sound down, and each of us will pick the characters from the show that we want to be. Then we write our own plot lines, and make up the dialogue as we go along. This is super-fun, and we always end up laughing. This also works with Kung Fu movies, by the way.
8. Go for a picnic.
This is another one of our favorite dates. Sometimes we pack food (and here’s a fabulous recipe for potato salad, because how can you have a picnic without potato salad?!) Sometimes we stop by a restaurant and buy food to go. We’ll head to a park, or a fun street downtown with lots of people to see, and enjoy eating together outdoors. Sometimes, instead of going straight home after work, we’ll meet someplace else, and have a picnic together, then head home separately. It’s a great way to break up the routine in the evening without spending a lot of money.
9. Go to Goodwill and have some kind of contest.
There are endless ways you can do this. Go to your local thrift shop, and see who can find the tackiest home furnishing. Try to discover the best surprise find that you didn’t know you needed, or the ugliest piece of clothing. Pick some kind of superlative, and then go for it. This is similar to the bookstore date, but if you’re lucky, it might involve flared trousers and velvet Elvis paintings. What’s not to love?
10. Pick out a volunteer activity you can share.
Volunteering doesn’t mean you have to trudge to Antarctica and save wildlife. Many times, people think that volunteerism is a bigger thing than it actually is. Sure–you can work in soup kitchens with your partner. Or swing hammers together for Habitat for Humanity. All of that counts. You can help change the world in smaller ways, though. As an example, my husband is a computer expert. Many of our dates as married folk involve going to the homes of older people we know. My husband will straighten out their computer, and I’ll listen to their stories or help with light household tasks. We’ve spent many hours as a couple quietly helping people who might not otherwise get any. I can’t think of many better dates than that, can you?
It’s important to realize that the state of your marriage can affect both your physical and emotional health.
You can have the best diet and exercise plan in the world, but if you’re overly stressed about your marriage, you’re erasing all of your hard work. If you need more ideas on how to have a healthy marriage, please check out my earlier post, ‘Marriage Tips: To Have and To Hold’. Also, I’d love to hear any other ideas you might have about dates for married people! What do you do?
Please feel free to comment below, or subscribe to my site TeamJeffers for more.
**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.