One of the biggest reasons we included a Date Nights series in Southern Newlywed is that we know continuing to date your spouse can be challenging. When work days are long and your calendars are full, taking the time to reconnect may not come easily, but we believe it is so, so important, and we want to give you plenty of ideas! Especially after this week of shoots, where we worked with at least three expectant mamas per shoot, I’m excited to introduce Olivia, blogger at To The Heights, and an old friend of mine from college! She and her husband, David, welcomed their first little one recently, and I love the sincere and honest way she shares about their lives on her blog. I was curious to hear how she and David have prioritized their relationship by dating even after their baby was born, and I hope y’all love their creative ideas as much as I do!
Thanks so much to Kristin Bivins of Captured Moments Photography for tagging along to photograph one of their favorite dates!
Names: David and Olivia Spears
By day: David is a nurse aid at our hospital and is attending nursing school full time. I stay at home with our ten-month-old son, George, while managing a health and wellness website and cultivating my own blog.
Where they live: Owensboro, Kentucky
Their love story: Dave and I first met when we were 16. Mutual friends introduced us at a youth conference, and we became casual, instant messaging (how old are we?!) friends. Our friendship (and my crush on him) grew over the course of the next four years, and while I never thought he was into me or that we would ever get together, he finally asked me out, four years after that first conference. I was shocked and thrilled and entirely in love from the get-go!
Their wedding: I had always dreamed of a cozy, romantic, Christmas wedding, so we set our date for December 29th. We were married at our local cathedral, and my bridesmaids’ long cranberry dresses popped against the church’s beautiful Christmas decorations. Accents of gold and cream carried over into our reception, complete with a hot chocolate bar, Christmas trees and lights, and draping fabric. There is really nothing quite like your wedding day. All the beautiful traditions, decorations, and special touches you spend your time and energy dreaming up are brought to life when all the people you love are under one roof. Being surrounded by beauty and love is a wonderful way to begin a marriage!
What are your five favorite date ideas, and why? Our favorite dates have changed a bit since welcoming our little guy nearly a year ago. We’ve had to be more flexible and creative with our date ideas, but they just keep getting better and better as we cherish these moments alone!
1. Antique shopping: Dave and I absolutely love character items. Much of our furniture is thrifted, and we have a blast finding diamonds in the rough. We have several antique shops in town, and we have so much fun strolling through them on Saturday afternoons and seeing who can find the coolest pieces. Oftentimes, we end up purchasing an item for our home that we then repurpose together!
2. A drive around: This is one of our favorite ways to spend time together. During the afternoon, often on Sundays after church, we pick up lattes from our favorite coffee shop and just drive around together. We let ourselves get lost in the country and in conversation. We listen to music, roll the windows down, and explore our city.
3. Takeout and a movie: Sometimes, we decide to have a date night at the last minute, when it’s too late to call in a sitter. I will give George a bath and put him to bed while Dave runs out to pick up takeout from one of our favorite restaurants. Once the baby is asleep, we sneak out to the living room, put away our phones and computers, eat dinner on the floor, and watch a movie. It sounds so simple, and maybe even “boring,” but it helps us reconnect after a long day of working and parenting.
4. Pizza by the river: Another kid-friendly date we employ! If we are short on time for a date and can’t be away from the baby for very long, we get dinner together at a local pizza joint by the river. We love eating outside and watching families play at the park, couples stroll hand in hand by the water, and joggers rush by in groups. Then, we will mosey down to the waterfront and watch the sunset with full bellies.
5. Drinks and dreaming: Dave and I are big dreamers and goal-setters. There’s not much that gets us more excited than planning our future and determining our dreams. We love to encourage and push one another as we strive to grow in all facets of our life. Each month, we bring a notebook to our favorite bar and discuss our goals over beer and wine. We take time to evaluate the past month and look forward to the next. We discuss deep heart stuff and pray for and with one another. We set goals and remind ourselves of our priorities. We cheer one another on and dream together.
Thank you so much, Olivia! Keep up with Olivia, David, and George on Olivia’s blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!