44 The Costco Connection FEBRUARY 2016
By Ashley Rodriguez
WHEN WE WERE first married, my husband, Gabe, and I continued to date. Friday
night was our date night, and every week we
would walk hand in hand into a restaurant
and sit down, just the two of us, eager to connect over a great meal and continue to fall in
love with one another.
Even then we knew taking the time to
connect was extremely important for our
relationship, but as life went on and three little
ones entered the scene, what was once
deemed important felt nearly impossible. We
were lucky if we could go out, just the two of
us, once a season.
Our lack of intention in our marriage
started to show. I saw my husband as a roommate rather than my friend, my partner and
my teammate. I realized then that I couldn’t
wait for life to get easier for us to start dating
again; we needed to fight for our time and figure out how to connect when it felt nearly
impossible to have quality time together.
We started dating in. In our home, at our
table, just the two of us. For us it’s Thursday
night. Gabe usually pours us a drink before he
Finding romance at home
starts putting the kids to bed. That’s when I
head into the kitchen to make us dinner. A
special dinner, one that I usually plan in
advance and is quite different from my normal “Oh shoot, it’s 5 o’clock, what am I going
to feed the kids?” routine.
My book, Date Night In, came out of these
evenings. I wanted to share our story in the
hope that others would get inspiration from
our date nights. Relationships take work and
intention, and they need the continual opportunity for connection in order to grow. For
me, it took getting tired of just surviving and
a deep urge to instead thrive in my marriage.
These simple dinners at our table, in our
home, have transformed our marriage.
As much as I love food and cooking,
which is apparent in our crispy fried chicken
biscuit sandwiches and butterscotch ice
cream pie date, or the Swiss- and French-inspired fondue and rich drinking chocolate,
it’s not just about the food. So if the idea of
going into the kitchen to cook another meal
sounds daunting, I encourage you to find
what works for your marriage or relationship.
The idea is to set aside the time to connect.
Whether that means simply relaxing with a
glass of wine on the couch, taking a walk
around the neighborhood or playing a game
is up to you. On our dates, the food becomes
a symbol of our commitment to really care for
each other, but that can look different for
everyone. The point is connection.
These evenings don’t have to be fancy, but
I do think they need to feel different. For us,
the difference is the food. We actually set the
table and light a few candles; I may even put
on some lipstick, and Gabe has been known
to put on a nice shirt and cologne. It is a date
night, after all, and we want to put the same
effort into these evenings that we did on our
date nights more than 10 years ago. We set
aside the phones, the computers and the
demands of the day. On date night it’s just us,
and that’s enough. C
Costco member Ashley Rodriguez blogs at
notwithoutsalt.com and is the author of Date
Night In (Running Press, 2014; available in
limited Costco locations; Item #972671, 2/2).