Tag Archives: marriage

Ranch Dates.

ranch dates

I was married young – 19 years young, in fact. And then boom! A year later we had a baby. And we had another… and another. So we didn’t have much time with ‘just us’. We soon learned that if we wanted to go on dates, we would have to work harder than most couples, to make it happen.

We lived by my in-laws the first 4 years of our married life. That was great – we could leave the babies with them. But then we moved to the ranch. Yeah, not so easy to go on a date when there is no family, no one willing to babysit. But we didn’t stop dating – we became creative! 

I call them ‘Ranch Dates’. We live on a ranch – we don’t live where there is a cafe on every corner. We often can’t get off work to drive the hour to town, and even if we did, where’s the money for that on a cowboy’s wage, amiright?

One of my favorite ways to squeeze in some couple time, is riding together. If he’s feeding cake; I jump in the truck. Yes, I have to open gates for him, but I also get to talk to him for several hours! Ha! Sometimes us girls just need to talk – to get all those words out of our system, you know.

Or, if he is feeding hay in the winter – I jump in, whether it is the truck or the tractor. Often, I bring along the youngest kiddo. Babies fall sleep pretty fast when they are rocked to sleep by a tractor. Again, may have to open a few gates, but c’mon, girls! Who’s fussing over a couple gates, hmm?!

ranch datesWhen he is riding cattle for health – ride along. Now, this is going to vary widely depending on your parenting philosophy. After losing our Andy, we realized that accidents can – and do – happen to our kids. We are extra cautious with our kids, with what risks we allow. You may be comfortable with tossing your one-year-old up one a broke horse. You may feel comfortable to leave your kids at the house at a younger age than we do. But once they are old enough to stay home, ride out sometime with your man and no kids. The kids will be ok, and you will feel like a honeymooner again!

When your husband needs parts from town – go along!! Please, please, please. Whatever you may think of my other ideas, at least try this one! The house can wait. Take the baby if that’s easier. But for Pete’s sake GO! I’ll tell you the secret reason: there is ice cream in town, and if you don’t have the whole passel of kids along – he might just swing through and get ya some! :) (yes, I am sneaky!)  Ok, but seriously. You may sit in the truck waiting for an hour at the parts store, or the feed store, or Murdoch’s, but you get the whole drive in and back to talk, and again – ice cream. ‘Nuf said.

Couch dates. Put the kids to bed and snuggle up on the couch with fun snacks and drinks, and turn on a movie. If you live in Wyoming, you should have plenty of long, cold evenings to try this idea! 😀

These are some of the ways we work in dates together. Sometimes it is not convenient to drop my work and go on a town run, or ride in the tractor. But when he sticks his head in the door and asks: “I have to go check a well in the back pasture – want to ride along?” I try to make it work. :)

ranch datesHow do you make your marriage a priority? Do you make time for just the two of you? I’d love to hear!

Marriage refreshment.

pine forestMarriage is a wonderful thing.
A listening ear when you are full to the brim.
Loving arms to wrap around you when you are needing some love.
Kind words to encourage you.
Kisses to warm your heart and make you smile.
Dreams, goals, and experiences shared.
Laughing together,
Praying together,
yes –
even crying together.
Hugging, holding, knowing, talking, sharing, eating, whispering, loving, caring, smiling.
Every day with someone you love, and who loves you.

Wow. It sounds magical, doesn’t it?!
Oops.

It isn’t, always. In fact, many times we have seasons of paying bills, being sick, tight on money, vehicle breakdowns, disappointments, hurts, sorrows, losses, and even frustrations with each other.

The thing is, the first list is not separate from the second. They go together. We grimace a bit as we pay the dentist bill, but the next minute we are laughing and kissing and tickling. We share dreams over doughnuts and coffee, but our moments alone are interrupted by the baby’s coughing or throwing up. We cry and grieve together over the loss of a loved one, arms wrapped tight around each other – holding the pain at bay. aspen mountains

Marriage is not about living happily ever after. LIFE is still here – waiting to hit us with all the normal struggles and triumphs. But through it all we have each other.

Sometimes, we need to refresh. Sometimes we go through a season of life so hard it rocks our world and makes us gasp for air. Staggering, we catch our breath and go at it again. But we feel choked. We need a breath of fresh air to get our heads on straight. If you hit a really hard spot, if you’re starting to bend under the weight of Life, maybe you need some marriage refreshment. A time of renewal and fresh vision and sweet connecting. mountain stream

My husband and I had hit such a tough spot this summer. Not with each other, but with LIFE. We went through a real tough season of foster care, medical bills, moving, miscarriage, and on and on. We felt like we needed a few days to recoup and refresh. So we dropped the kids off at a friend’s house, and we headed to the mountains for a weekend away.

It was just what we needed. Sunlit forest, golden aspens, quiet town streets, delicious food… we came home feeling focused and ready to hit the ground running.

If you have never left the kids for a couple days and spent a little time on your marriage – I urge you to reconsider! :) It is a wonderful way to reconnect.

When your camera is sitting in the weeds... haha! Sorry, but it's the only one of us, so I included it - weeds and all! :D

When your camera is sitting in the weeds… haha! Sorry, but it’s the only one of us, so I included it – weeds and all! :D