When Allen and I began dating back in 1992 (whoa!), our love was so new and exciting! We couldn't wait to begin adventuring together. During those dating years, there's all kinds of "Firsts": Your 1st kiss, your 1st stroll on the beach, 1st date night, 1st movie, 1st time meeting each other's family, 1st argument (ha-ha). Then after the wedding day: 1st time sleeping together (that's when your blown away that someone gave you a license to do this!), 1st time "seeing" each other, (You get the idea! ;), 1st new house, paying your 1st bills together, 1st tax return together (we didn't say all those "Firsts" were romantic. Ha-ha).
Then after some time goes by, it's easy to get into the normal rhythm of life and "Firsts" seem to happen less and less. That's where being intentional comes in. It's important to plan new Firsts. We have done this over the last 21 years and still are. It's so much fun to accomplish new firsts together...even still
Here are a few ideas:
- Trying a new restaurant
- Trying a new dessert
- Beginning a new recreational activity together
- Talking a walk in a new park
- Reading a new book together
- Cooking a special meal together
- Going for a Sunday afternoon drive on roads you've never been on (this is one of our personal favorites)
Or something as adventurous as:
- Finding a new vacation spot (for hiking or biking or beaching)
- Planning a trip to a different country (or even just a new town or state)
- Planning a cruise
- Going to see someone in concert that you've never seen before
- Or keep breaking your own record for the longest kiss (oh yeah!)
Here are some of the new "Firsts" we have planned and experienced over the last 21 years together:
- Our 1st road trip (honeymoon)
- Our 1st camping trip together
- Our 1st time kayaking together: We often try to find new spots to kayak. We normally like to find destinations that are not populated. Sometimes that gets quite adventurous and requires me (Carol) to totally trust Allen but it all works out (we kayaked 14 miles once..I thought I would die, but it was so worth it)
- 1st time out of the country together (a trip to Costa Rica to scope out a potential place to live as missionaries)
- Tried a new restaurant that was a bit out of our comfort zone & price range, but ended up being a fun little adventure
- Hiked to the top of a mountain we had never hiked (we love to do this in the Carolinas and at Yosemite as well)
- Biked new mountain bike trails
- Kayaked to the tip of Cape San Blas (7 miles one way...by the time we got to the tip, those big ole fancy speed boats that people kept pulling up in sure looked inviting..but we were in it for the pure thrill of adventure. (Insert eye roll and hysterical laughter please).
The adventures most often will NOT turn out exactly as you envisioned or planned, but they will always create a new memory and a new story to tell and add to your storybook (especially if you just trust each other and then laugh at yourselves). So many times in our new "Firsts", we have had to just push thru the tough moments and let it be part of the journey. Like the time we kayaked across the bay and took on water! Or the time we road biked 90 miles over 2 days and our legs were screaming! Or the time we hiked to the top of Nevada Falls at Yosemite (exhilarating yet exhausting) and had to almost run down the mountain to get back before dark. Then also the same time we kayaked to the tip of Cape San Blas, we got caught in a severe thunderstorm and ended up beaching the kayak, turning it upside down, and then crawling under it to stay safe...certainly not how we planned it, but we just had to make the best of it. There's also some crazy adventures we can't tell you about (say what?!), but you'll have your own crazy adventures like that too (if you haven't already. LOL).
Do these "Firsts" always turn out perfect? Of course not, but each one has brought us closer to each other. They've built trust and connections that we only have with each other. We have had to encourage one another through them and work as a team to finish those "Firsts". And ya know what? It's made our marriage stronger each and every time!
So calling all husbands and wives: get out there and adventure together! Find more "Firsts" and make some beautiful memories together...even when it's awkward, even when it seems chaotic, and especially when you think you can't find the time!
Oh..and don't forget to spice it up a little bit and be creative! After all...you are married! Make good use of that marriage license! :)
Cheering you on,
Allen & Carol