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On a weekend, recently, I was looking at the Instagram stories in my feed and one came up that bothered me. Someone snapped (I guess that’s a word now) their entire date night on both Instagram and Snapchat. I don’t have Snapchat, but I know this because the captions on Instagram were encouraging followers to also go over there to watch other parts from their date.

3 Reasons why this bothered me:

  1. It says that documenting your date is more important than enjoying it.
  2. Your spouse deserves more undivided time and attention on date night than this.
  3. The time with them on your date is being taken for granted.

Let me explain

I’m an advocate of date night because I love the opportunities to grow closer that come with having one-on-one time doing an enjoyable activity with your spouse. So I was just kind of baffled that someone wanted to spend their date night posting pictures and video (mostly about their food btw), and captioning them on not just one, but two social media platforms. And we all know that thinking and writing a caption is not just a ten-second thing, it can take several minutes. So basically, the time all this took was adding up in my book.

I’ll admit that sometimes my husband and I are doing something on our phones for two minutes. And other times I’ll quickly post a pic because I like to share what we are doing, or what we did for date night in hopes that it inspires others. And maybe you posting about your date could do the same. There’s nothing wrong with using your phone occasionally. However, we don’t have to continually interrupt the nice flow of moments to take pictures and video and post it for everyone to be a part of. I believe that doing this takes away opportunities for authentic memories and conversation.

When you think about it, doing that defeats the whole intent of what a date night is in the first place! Like I said above, a date is supposed to be one-on-one time, not the two of you and your 1,000 followers!

Staying Strong through Unemployment My husband Jason and I met in 2008 in an Institute class, Preparing for Eternal Marriage. We were just ‘class friends’ and only hung out once or twice. God had plans for us! Jason continued going to school and running track and cross country while I served an LDS mission in Brazil. When I returned we got back in touch. He asked me out on a date and the rest is history! He graduated and got his first job, we got engaged, I went back to school to finish my degree and on October 13, 2011 we got married! I have wanted kids for as long as I can remember so we knew we didn’t want to wait too long before starting our family. I taught school for a year and Jason got a new job in the Healthcare field like he’d always wanted to. It was a tremendous blessing! He had been trying to find a good fit for him and our family for almost 6 months. Nothing was working out when he decided to apply for a few more jobs and one of them came through. We knew it was God’s hand guiding and blessing us. Job searching is stressful! I know it was wearing on us, especially Jason. But it did bring us closer. We were able to take turns being the rock in our relationship, and helping our spouse through the hard time. A few months after he started his new job we were even more blessed to welcome our first daughter, Jamillie Mae, to our family on March 30, 2013. I was eternally grateful to be a mom! It was my dream job. I soaked in every minute of that tiny newborn possible. A couple short years later our second baby girl, Kayzlie Jade, joined us on February 2, 2015. Being a family of four has been great! My baby is old enough now to play with her sister and they get along most half of the time! (The other half is usually just too much love coming from big sister!) It sure pushes my limits but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Life was good! Jason had been at his job for almost three years when he was feeling like a change was necessary. He had been told after one or two years he would be promoted and it didn’t happen. He was still working hard every single day but his boss was weird about things. (We later found out it was the higher up bugging him about his region’s performance not being up to quota. This was not a new thing and the region was a hard one for many reasons. Jason’s job was collecting what had been sold, making it impossible to raise his collections if his manager wasn’t selling more.) Eventually, he told Jason that he had to go on a performance plan (like probation) and if he wasn’t able to hit a certain number in 30 days he would get one more 30 day period and then he would be fired. That is not what anybody wants to hear! He had been giving this job his all without seeing much in return. His boss then mentioned he would help him find a new job instead, if Jason preferred that. Since we had already been looking, and Jace didn’t want to have to be fired we opted for that. About a week later his boss said in order for that to happen he needed a letter of resignation. Luckily we were able to date it out a couple of months. The job search was on, and it was intense! We tried networking, searching through online sites, asking around, etc. Jason’s last month at his job was the worst. He was finishing his master’s degree, working, and looking for a new job, all with the stress of knowing we were going to be jobless soon. Both Jason and I were stressed, stretched, worried, and feeling down. We were definitely feeling all of the ‘feels!’ Here is my blog post from November 16th, his last day at work was November 30th, he didn’t actually start his new job until March 28th. Whew. October was kind of a tough month. Previously I have written about some of the struggles/thoughts inside of my head (I was feeling really low, in a rut) but one day I realized that I had been having a hard time because it was how I was reacting, or building a fence up, to the stress of Jason losing his job. I was completely just going through the motions and always tired. I took a nap everyday while my girls napped and I didn't get out and do much. Not that those things are signs or results of the stress, they just didn't help me to feel "normal." Once it clicked, and I recognized the reason behind feeling so bummed out all the time, I was able to put it behind me and feel a little bit better. I was able to evaluate my needs and my happiness. Besides all of that- there was some family drama that was really crappy on top of already feeling so crappy, that didn't help one bit. AND Jason was finishing his Masters degree this month with the stress of working on his capstone all the time, and look for new jobs, and fulfill his church calling as Young Men’s President. One day Jason said to me, "Carter (his manager) told me not to collect at Lakeview this week because he is going to do a ride along with the guy taking my place." If losing his job hadn't felt real yet- we were both slammed at that moment. It made my heart ache for him. He was a little choked up. He is such a hard worker and has given this job his all. There are circumstances that have prevented him from hitting his quota (which is a 20% growth from the previous year) that he is unable to control. I know he has been just as stressed (or more) as I have because he is the man and has the weight of providing for and supporting our family. He too, has been just going through the motions lately. And this hasn't been the best for our relationship. We were both just building up walls, without realizing it, that we forgot to open up completely and talk with each other. This too came to an end as we were able to break it down and admit that we needed to change things a little bit. Once he finished school we were able to relax a little bit more and enjoy cuddling and watching TV again! Another thing that helped was realizing this is a trial God intended for us to go through. We are not sure why (and may never find out) but it is meant for us in order to help us or strengthen us in one way or another. What I have got out of it so far is that I need to be better at building and maintaining relationships. I have so many amazing people in my life but I am not very proactive in seeing them or catching up with them. I need to do better. I have realized who is there for me in return and it means a lot that they care. I have realized that I have been spiritually starving myself and I need to focus each day on getting the spiritual nourishment that my soul needs. It took me a long time but I realized I can turn the stress, pain, and worry over to My Savior and He will carry it for me, as He already has. So I did just that. I had a heart to heart and let it all out. I had a good cry, which also helped! The next day I was feeling so much more optimistic about everything and just knew it would work out, eventually. That is how I started out feeling when we first found out, but I let fear and doubt in and it replaced my faith and hope. I was able to learn a little about parenting my toddler as well and the importance of just being there for her even if it means sitting down to play with her for 20 minutes or holding her while she watched a show- she needs it. And honestly, so do I! I truly do know that it will all work out (some ways are just more stressful than others!) But things will fall into place as they are meant to and we will be blessed to be wherever we end up doing whatever it is we end up doing. This whole post is turning out to be a lot longer than I planned for it to be, but guess what? It did work out! And all of that stress and worry was pointless. Granted, it is normal and natural, especially when you are living without a solid income for four months, but if we can remember to turn to the Higher Power, He will help us. He will lift us and guide us and bless us. That is the strength in our marriage. We both have similar testimonies and continue to strengthen them together. We talk about our feelings, our hopes and dreams, and we compromise when needed. We both want the other to be happy and will help and serve when we can. He also will send others to serve and help you! We were so blessed by some amazing, anonymous friends and neighbors who left money on our doorstep, multiple times! Each time we were completely touched and humbled to know that others were sacrificing on our behalf. It made us want to live so that we would be able to do the same for others when the circumstances were reversed. This helped us to give our girls a Christmas. It also helped us to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas, Christ. We kept things simple and it was perfect. I will never forget the feelings we had, and we hope to celebrate the holidays in a similar way in all the years to come. We had money in savings and used it to pay our mortgage and our bills. I was blessed with a job I could do from home. I was really busy sewing and almost made up for what we didn’t get paid that first month or two. Things worked out, just as Sister Marriott said in October 2015 General Conference numerous times, (summarized) “When we open ourselves to the Spirit, we learn God’s way and feel His will… It will all work out.” People would ask us how we were doing and we were able to respond by telling them we had actually been comforted and knew it would work out eventually. We prayed about the opportunities that came up and turned one down after feeling like it was not a good fit. We loved spending time as a family, our kids loved having daddy home. We were able to go on a little hiking trip and soak up some sun. Yes, it was a hard trial but together we fought to stay strong through it until the end. God is aware, He cares for each one of us. Jason loves to race, and the girls and I love to be there for him, cheering him on! I enjoy exercising, and he pushes me and supports me in that as well. We give each other a fun night out with friends so we can rejuvenate. It is necessary in a relationship, especially with kids! We do fun things as a family. We keep busy! We love to go on dates, just the two of us. Or after the girls are in bed we cuddle up and watch a show or play games. We snuggle in bed and talk about the day, about our kids, about the future, etc. Communication is key, and it took us a fair share of arguments in our first year of marriage to figure each other out! But boy, are we grateful we have each other! We are happy to have a job again, and have so many blessings. We are excited for what the future holds and we know that together and with guidance from above we can make it through anything. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Keep loving. Keep living. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow and forever.”


wHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO

I don’t write this post to say “Don’t use your phones on a date!” or “Social media is so bad!” because social media is so fun and connecting, and phones can be extremely useful on dates! I write this because spending quality time together is so crucial to a marriage, and date night does that for us. If we allow ourselves to get distracted by whatever ‘to-do’ we need to complete on our phones or making sure others know we live an interesting life, then I feel that the quality of the date decreases, sadly.

I think as newlyweds, dates can be taken for granted. We are used to spending time together on a consistent basis, and probably used to having a date night every weekend. But I bet you the couples with kids reading this right now are saying, “JUST WAIT ‘TIL YOU HAVE KIDS!” haha. So I am actually grateful this happened because I was able to evaluate how I’m choosing to spend the time I get with my spouse. It has made me ask myself, “Could we have been having a great conversation during that time we were on our phones waiting for the movie to start?” and “Does my spouse feel like I am not paying attention to him when I check my phone while on our dates?”

When it comes to enjoying a memorable date together and wanting to document it, I feel like the best balance is to just post about it when you get home. Focus on enjoying the moment, then capturing the moment with some pictures and videos, but continue enjoying it until the date is over with. Those are just my thoughts, though! Decide what quality your dates are currently and either keep going with it if it feels just fine, or make changes if necessary.

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If you’re looking for some potentially great conversation ideas, check out this book I found that we take with us every once in awhile!

I’ve also written a three-part series on how social media affected date nights for me, and for our marriage in general. You can go here to read about that.

What are your thoughts? Please share below!

Keepin' marriage fresh,
Amy

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