I’ll admit it—I am not the most head-over-heels, die hard, obsessed Valentine’s Day fan. While the idea of the holiday is great (I mean, who doesn’t love LOVE??), I guess I feel like Chris and I do as much as we can throughout the year to show each other love and affection, and sometimes I feel that this holiday has evolved into another excuse to binge on chocolate and wine and spend way too much money. Gosh dang, I sound like a Grinch…can you sense some deeply-rooted frustrations? Time to take a quick, deep dive on this one and get to the root…
So here’s the deal—I DO celebrate this holiday with my kiddos much more than Chris and I do as a couple. Why? Because they and I BOTH love the magic of holidays, and I never want to ruin it for them! Chris and I? Honestly—and I hate to admit this—I think we are a little too consumed with our daily work to-dos and running a family to focus on an actual date these days, so the romance holiday naturally takes a back burner. #Eeek Time to make a change, I know. I am well aware that the fire doesn’t STAY lit in a marriage and that you have to continue to stoke it and KEEP it lit. I’m raising my hand and taking responsibility for way-too-often allowing our work to bleed into our marriage and for allowing the kids’ needs to overpower ours as a couple. Funny, because the outsider might naturally think that because Chris and I are with each other 24/7 (again—work, kids, marriage), we MUST have SO much time to connect. The fact of the matter is that “time together” does not equate to “quality connective time together.” This year—starting NOW—I am bound and determined to do something about it. I commit to no longer being the Grinch of Valentine’s Day and to no longer letting everything else take priority over our relationship. This year, he and I will be celebrating the holiday Swolemate-style, 😉 i.e., without the traditional chocolate-covered everything and WITH quality activities that will help us keep the flame burning.
Here are my top 6 ideas for celebrating the holiday of love with my man…without overdosing on chocolate roses. (PS: I will let you know which ones we actually do, but in the meantime, steal these for yourself. I can guarantee you these ideas will increase your chances of staying on plan too!).
Cook together: With our busy schedules, Chris and I rarely have time for a hot, fresh, homemade meal, and if we do, it’s certainly not prepared calmly and romantically alongside each other. I’m sure you all can relate! So actually being able to prepare a meal together is such a treat. Cooking with your loved one is such a fun, easy, at-home date, plus it ensures you know exactly how your food was prepared. And…you won’t have to deal with long wait times or jacked up prices for the holiday. I call that a win-win-win!!
Take a sunset (or sunrise) hike: I totally understand that many parts of the country are still covered in a blanket of snow, but here in AZ, it’s practically summer already and hiking weather is in full swing! Watching the sunset may seem a little cliche, but it’s one of our favorite things to do. Seriously…some of my best memories with him were at sunset back in the day. Time to bring it back!! And if we add in some hiking cardio, we’ve got a match made in Swolemate heaven. I’m in! Are you? If the weather in your part of the world doesn’t permit a nighttime hike, try taking a walk around your neighborhood right at dusk. You’ll get the same great sunset experience (i.e., some extra romance), and it still works in some cardio!
Give and get a massage: Massages are one of our favorite ways to treat each other, but let’s be honest, it’s not always in the schedule (or budget!). And being TOTALLY real, we don’t GIVE as much as we GET, mostly because we both like to complain to the other that our hands “just aren’t made for massaging…sorry babe.” Haha! But I was reminded the other night when I gave Chris a facial (which you may have seen on my Instagram Story) just how good it feels to GIVE another human touch in the form of massage (or facial!). Hands truly are healing, and there are no better hands than those of your loved one. This holiday, take turns working out those sore muscles for each other, and don’t forget those yummy lotions and candles for an extra romantic feel. 😉 You’ll feel even more connected with your partner, and your recovering muscles will thank you too!
Work it out: You know what they say, the couple who plays together, stays together! And by play, Chris and I always mean “work out.” Seriously, working out together is one of my favorite date night activities, and it doesn’t happen enough these days with our independent fitness goals. That instant high from lifting heavy and pushing hard (while bearing through it with your partner…#SharedSuffering) seems to bring us closer together, and it keeps us enjoying each other’s company all night long. WARNING: Spouses who try to correct form or over encourage will lose this date night privilege (cough, Chris, cough).
Unplug: Let’s be honest—it’s 2017, and most of us live and die by that little Wifi connected demon in our pocket. Yep! Our phones. Between work obligations, tracking macros through a handy app, catching up with family and friends, and just vegging out scrolling through social media, it seems like we are ALWAYS connected to our devices. This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to unplug, turn off, and set aside your phones for at least 3 hours. Instead of staying glued to your phones, sit on the couch or in your bed (hidden from children, of course) and just TALK! Vent, cry, or laugh until you pee your pants, but just talk. I promise you that you’ll reconnect with your Swolemate in a whole new way.
Oh boy…the thought of ME taking on this challenge gives a me a little anxiety, which most likely means we need this more than anyone!
Try a new hobby: Weight lifting and training have been at the very core of our relationship since day one, so much so that we haven’t really taken the time or put forth the effort into any other hobbies. Try putting down the dumbbells and picking up a paint brush or strapping on some dancing shoes. Studies show that stepping out of your comfort zone opens up your mind, revitalizes your body, and makes old hobbies even more enjoyable. Give it a try and let me know what new experiences you take on!
There are so many fun ways to celebrate the holiday of love beyond just the usual dinner + a movie. How are you and your Swolemate going to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
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