8 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Healthy and Strong

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The other night we had a young couple over for Breakfast 4 Dinner. When they learned that we have been happily married for sixteen years, they asked what makes a marriage work. So here are 8 real-life, practical ways that we keep our marriage healthy and strong.

Lauri8 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Healthy and Strong

13 Simple Romantic Home Date Night Ideas (& Chocolate Fondue recipe)

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  Staying on the same page as a couple is paramount for us. Before kids, we took dates whenever we wanted, but now it’s a bit trickier. We try to have date night twice a month, and then set apart the opposite weeks for “Home Date Nights” after the children are in bed. We don’t need to spend a bunch of money to get us face to face conversing and having fun. We just need to get a little creative and remember that fun and connection are the goal! Here are some favorite Home Date Night ideas, hoping to appeal to both people: Board games (preferably cooperative ones like Forbidden Island, but Carcassonne and Dominion are fun too) & ice cream 1000 piece puzzle (Springbok are our favorites, and I love this “Color of Money” one. Usually, we find that puzzles filled with paraphernalia are more fun than landscapes) & popcorn Crackers with cream cheese or goat cheese and jalapeño jelly or green olives Exchange massages (with or without massage oil, consider foot rubs if this is new to you) Cook a late dinner together Netflix movie & tea Warm brie cheese with crackers and jam, maybe a glass of wine YouTube dancing lesson (which could be instructional, or just turn out to be a hilarious time!) Play Wii / video games Eat Takeout & Read/discuss a New Yorker (or other thought-provoking) article Bake dessert together Hot tubbing (if you have one; we don’t so it’s on the inexpensive date night ideas list) Luscious Velvety Chocolate Fondue (recipe …

Lauri13 Simple Romantic Home Date Night Ideas (& Chocolate Fondue recipe)

“Uncatering”

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My friend Stacey loves to cook and to serve, and she has stumbled into a fun business I like to call “Uncatering”.  The other night, she hired me and another friend to help her at a wedding where she managed the food.  The food itself was provided by a fabulous local restaurant that “caters”, but really that means that the restaurant provides a large quantity of food for the event.  

So Stacey delivers the food to the location, and sets up everything beautifully, and attends the buffet.  The drinks stay replenished, the buffet filled, the cake is cut, and leftovers wrangled.  That way, the family and friends of the happy couple could enjoy the reception and not stress about the food.

Lauri“Uncatering”

22 Fresh Date Night Ideas

Mr. & Mrs. Lego got a babysitter!

By the time we arrange childcare, get the children and ourselves ready, and get out the door whether or not they’re crying, we find ourselves in the car wondering if we should turn right or left out of the driveway!  This is not always the artful, alluring, inspired Date Night we hoped it would be. Then on the non-babysitting-Date-Nights, we make our own fun, like these Home Date Night Ideas. What can we do on a shoe string?  Once the babysitter is paid, there may be little left for the date itself.  Brainstorming this question, and polling some friends brought up some fun ideas.  I’m excited about some options to plan a little connection and romance into our time together! We’re in Nashville, TN, so some of these ideas are specific to our area.  Look into what your city has going on this summer.  These ideas are also tailored to what we both like to do.  I remember reading His Needs, Her Needs, by Dr. Harley, and he points out that there are so many things to do in the world that it is worth finding some that you and your spouse like to do together.  If he hates Flea Markets, then let’s find something we can both enjoy. Inexpensive Outings Hot tubbing (at some friends’ who offered their jacuzzi) Hike (some favorites: Radnor Lake, Edwin Warner Park) Star gazing (the iPhone StarMap3D app is pretty fun) Sunset watching (let’s find the best place around!) A pint of gelato pint …

Lauri22 Fresh Date Night Ideas

Hooked on Cooperative Games

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​I love board games.  I grew up playing Scrabble and MonopolyYahtzee and Tri-ominos.  Classic games.  But I’m awfully competitive and emotional, quite a wreck of a combination!  I remember my mom saying she cried when she’d lose, but I’m pretty sure it was actually me who cried.  A lot.

I still hate losing!  Early in our marriage, we tried playing chess together, but I couldn’t enjoy the game.  Too much pressure, too much tension (and I think I always lost). I also remember teaching Settlers (a great game!) to some friends, but the competition was so intense that the game wasn’t even fun.  Thankfully, we’ve stumbled into Cooperative Games!

Cooperative Games require players to work together to beat The Game, rather than each other.  Perfect!  

LauriHooked on Cooperative Games

New Wife Cooking 101

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​I keep thinking about several friends who just got married, and I remember my years of marriage learning-curve: managing a home, meshing two people’s habits and schedules and preferences, actually cooking regular meals… oy vey! What do I wish I’d known about cooking when I jumped into this beautiful madness?

LauriNew Wife Cooking 101