My hubby and I desperately needed a night alone. Four active children, including a baby who doesn’t need much sleep, leave us sleep- and conversation-deprived. I knew we would be more patient and loving with each other and the kids if we had 24 hours to recharge.

I envisioned surprising Branden with a quiet intimate dinner, walking hand-in-hand downtown, stopping at an art museum. A bedroom glowing with candles, a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries, and soft music. Lots of quality conversation. But I suddenly realized that I was planning a weekend that would meet my expectations of romance, not what my husband would find relaxing and enjoyable. Scratch those plans.

Instead, I orchestrated a weekend that would honor my man. I contacted Jim, his supervisor, a few weeks ahead and arranged to kidnap Branden on a Friday afternoon. Jim took care of the vacation paperwork and scheduled meetings with Branden to keep him from planning anything else that afternoon.

After picking up my surprised husband, I drove him to his favorite hiking trail. I gave him a backpack stocked with a sports drink, snacks, his Bible, and his journal. He had the afternoon free to hike as long as he desired and spend quiet time with God. While he hiked, I walked an easier trail and spent the entire time praying for him. I thanked God for the man of integrity He gave me, for the parents who raised him, and for the qualities I knew he wanted to develop. A few hours later we met at the trailhead and shared what we had learned during our quiet time while driving to dinner.

Instead of a dinner with fine china, I suggested restaurants with big screen televisions and wings. Testosterone and sports. Conversation could wait. He actually chose a hole-in-the-wall diner, but it was his choice. We laughed more during that meal than we had in months. No one was asking to have their food cut up, no milk was spilled, and the only interruptions were from the waitress refilling our drinks.

Due to budget constraints, we couldn’t afford to spend the night in a hotel. But waiting at home were his favorite movie munchies and a selection of his favorite kind of movies — not a romantic comedy in sight. After such great quality time, I don’t think I need to tell you how our evening ended!

The next morning after a full, uninterrupted night of blissful sleep, we enjoyed our coffee and pastries on our back patio. We finished our alone time with a long walk and were able to pick up our children with anticipation of spending the rest of the day as a family.

No, it wasn’t how I would envision “romance,” but the time spent honoring my man was a long-term investment in him. Not only was he refreshed, he knew he was respected and treasured. And a man with a full “love tank” is a romantic man, indeed!