Last Updated on March 21, 2018

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!

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  1. That is exactly the kind of day I dream about having soon with my husband. We, like you, have 4 children similar in age and personality (9 year old drama queen, 7 year old computer geek, fearless superhero 6 year old, and our precious 5 month old surprise from God). Trying to get a baby-sitter to care for all of them for an entire day (let alone overnight) is proving to be quite challenging. I hope your day was everything you needed and more. <3

    1. I prayed for you this morning, Miranda, for all the details to work out for you two to have some time together. I obviously can relate to your life!! Our children were spread out among 4 different families, but our older ones were excited to have sleepovers with friends and another family licensed for foster care loved cuddling with our baby. Let me know how it goes 🙂

  2. Love the reasons you decided to do things in the way your husband would feel loved, respected and treasured. It's so wonderful to see a husband walking around feeling loved and with a full tank. Thanks for the great ideas!!

  3. What a fantastic idea! I can't imagine how great I would feel if someone went all out for me like this, so why wouldn't I do it for my favorite person?? Man I wish I had done this a long time ago! Can't wait to get started 🙂

  4. Love that, Julia! Now you have me thinking….hmmmmmmmmmmm…..

  5. I told my husband that I really wanted to have a regular date (like we used to.) I have set aside a good sum of money each month for a date from my personal side job. My daughter is old enough to watch our son so we do not have to pay for childcare. I told my husband that since we can afford it I would really like to go all out each month when we go on a date- why not? He told me that he stresses out about our dates that he will not perform to expectations and he doesn’t look forward to them. I told him I’m done planning. When he wants to ask me out, we’ll do it… but I’m not going to instigate it. It has been months since we’ve done anything beyond going out to ice cream with our kids perhaps at another table. I’m really fine with whatever he plans, it doesn’t have to be fancy. I think he doesn’t want to even try because he doesn’t want to disappoint me. I’m frustrated. I would like to plan something like you suggested, but anything using the word “date” freaks my husband out. What do you suggest?