How to Date My Wife | Date 2

We watch a lot of television. Snuggling is our favorite, and it makes a good pairing. There are times we watch a whole season of a show in just under a week. But don’t start thinking all we do is sit in our PJ’s, eat bowls of cereal, and watch TV. We almost never wear PJ’s… We have ups and downs with our TV watching—one month we watch a lot, the next hardly any. 

When we are watching TV and having our awesome snuggle time, it’s easy to think: “we have a great relationship”. And with a job where we both work together, plan together, and spend LITERALLY (imagine Chris Traeger saying this) every moment together, it’s easy to think, “we have a great relationship.” I mean how could you not, when you're cozying up or talking to each other all the time. But do we?

The short answer is yes—but not because of those two things. For us, the secret to being/feeling close has been spending “real time” together. Real time to me is when we can sit down, not talk about work, not talk about shows, but talk and ask real questions. Asking “how is your relationship with this person going?”  Or, “do you feel like—insert particular thing—is going well?” And my personal favorite, “what can I do to make you feel more loved?” Okay, that’s actually more what “real time” for my wife is. Real time for me is playing a game of cards, or having her with me as I build IKEA furniture and feel like a real life RON SWANSON. 

For my wife, it’s very important that I ask her those types of questions and don’t just ask, “how are you doing?” and expect her to immediately unload all of her feelings. And when I do ask specific questions, it’s like opening up a great vintage red wine and seeing the amazing color, and character of the wine. I don’t want my wife to stay bottled up and collect dust, so I ask specific questions. 

This is why I love food so much. When eaten slow and at a sit-down meal, you have the perfect environment to ask questions and get to know each other. Some of the best conversations I have ever had with people was over a good meal. We have also shared many great conversations during road trips, small and big. They have been a huge way we have worked though problems, shared ideas, dreams, discussed whats a good trail-mix...(side not: this turned into a two hour conversation that was not actually about trail-mix). 

Some of the questions I ask my wife:

1. What are two ways I could love you better?

2. What has been one of your favorite trips been?

3. What has your relationship with blank been like lately? 

4. What has be two things I have done recently that really meant a lot to you? 

5. What is something I might be able to do in order to increase your joy? 

Last night for date night we partook in Belgian waffles, eggs, and bacon! Simple and easy to do with very little/no stress in the kitchen. Everything was about perfect as we sat down to eat, we had the music, the crispy hot waffles, and the adult beverages. Then. As I slathered my waffles with genuine REAL maple syrup, I notice a gooey green substance resting in my of my perfect waffle squares. What in the world? It was mold, the maple syrup had gone bad. After "calmly" telling Susannah, she picked up the bottle and read off, "refrigerate after opening." We had first opened it a few months (years?) ago and apparently did not think to do that...lesson learned.        

Well, butter my biscuits (a new phrase I have been testing out with the focus groups), Susannah had made a total of 4 waffles, so we had two to spare and a bottle of Log Cabin (not so real maple syrup) to save us. 

There are thousands of recipes for waffles--we tried out Bobby Flay's Belgian waffles and they were not bad. We gave them a 6 out of 10 (10 being the waffles you ask for when on death row). The next time we have waffles for date night we are going to try it with fried chicken and maple syrup (southern style). 

 Mango-cranberry sparkling juice with coconut rum. 

Mango-cranberry sparkling juice with coconut rum. 

We finished the night off with roasting marshmallows over our stove for some s'mores! It's much better because you are right next to a sink after to wash off your sticky face/entire body.

Happy Saturday, 

Peter

How to Date My Wife | Date 1

It's 10pm at the moment, and I just decided to start a series of posts that basically talk about how to date my wife. Not so you can date her, mind you, because if you did I might have to commit murder, and I'd rather have a clean conscience in the matter. Rather, these are stories about me learning "how to date my wife."

It all started with ribs. Not Adam's ribs, but Baby Back Ribs from Trader Joe's that were on sale for $12.39. Susannah and I wanted to start out a mission to make at least 40 new meals for date night over the course of the next year. People seem to stress over date nights being too expensive, it's too hard to get out of the house all the time, etc. Do dates really have to be such a pain? Do they have to be all about spending money or the pressure for the "perfect date"? Before we were married I was dating my wife, searching her out, and finding out her likes, dislikes, wants, and desires. Why stop at marriage? My wife and I usually have a "date night" once a week, and all I mean about a date night, is a time when we purposefully spend time with one another and search each other out. I want to continually get to know my wife, and my wife is very different than anybody else's, but I think there might be some common ground to give some ideas for simple dates. Read at your own risk.

I sometimes pee in jars. I often belch loudly when only my wife can hear. I completely put my foot in my mouth in most social situations. Yet my wife loves me. Why? Because she is damn good at it. So good at it that God dosen't even give wives commands to love their husbands because, quite frankly, she outshines me. She is beautiful, kind, hospitable, and not at all gross like I am. Which is good, because Lord knows I am not that good at loving my wife. Knowing this fact, I don't want to hide behind excuses (i.e. "women are complicated and confusing"), rather I have set out to learn How to Date My Wife. 

Date 1:

We worked together to make BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, and artichokes. Now in my marriage, we have a...situation...where when we are hungry, we get "hangry". Which basically means, in order for us to survive in the kitchen long enough to make a meal together, we need to get some food in us while we cook. An easy appetizer for any occasion is meats, with cheese, and crackers. We picked up an assortment of meats from Costco, and the strawberries and cheeses were just leftovers from what we had in the fridge. Olives, nuts, apples, grapes, all work great too. And then crackers (fancy or otherwise--saltines work just fine too). This plate makes me and my wife happy anyway, and it's a great way to get date night started on a cheerful note.

Date 1_3.jpg

The Ribs:

When I was working at a pizzeria in Florida, one of my coworkers told me an amazing way to make ribs. BEGIN SNOBBY INSTRUCTIONS. Cut the ribs into sections so that they fit into a pan, and pour 1-2 liters of coke or Dr Pepper so the ribs are completely submerged in liquid. Let them sit in that mixture for around 20-40 minutes (or however long you want, unless it's for 8 hours--don't do that, that's ridiculous). Then throw the pot on the stove and bring the pot to a boil. Once it starts boiling, put the pot into the oven at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Next, place the ribs on a grill for about 8 minutes to crisp them up and then pour--nay, slather--your favorite BBQ sauce all over them. Talk about melt-off-the-bone delicious (I apologize if you think it's disgusting). 

Not the most romantic of meals when you have to leave immediately after to floss your teeth and take a shower because you are covered in BBQ rib remains, but it's good food all the same, and my wife and I love good food.

You can make your own mashed potatoes how you like them (ours were pretty sloppy and subpar), and make some other side if you don't like artichokes. I could go into detail about artichokes, but all you do is boil them, for Pete's sake. The dip is what makes it: mayo, minced/granulated garlic, salt, squeeze of lemon = makes artichokes taste good even to people who hate them. 

And make sure you always have a glass (or more) of wine with date night! Maybe play a game of cards while you are at it too. I highly recommend winning. 

Happy Wednesday,

Peter