Last week I put out the Pilot Marriage Shake-Up: Dating Challenge! for anyone who wanted to participate, and it got a great response! (So great, in fact, that we now have a Facebook group if you want to join us and share your own experience/get even more date ideas.)
A couple days after I published that post we went on our first date, planned by me. My husband kept trying to guess what we were doing, but no dice.
Here is me with my giddy face on, getting ready to drive him to the super-secret location…
So what did I have planned?? A visit to the Splatter Room at a cool little place called Pinspiration in Phoenix. This place is a dream; you walk in, pick a project you like, and then get to make it and take it home. They take care of the mess and the supplies, you just get to create. Awesome, right?
Anyway, the Splatter Room is pretty self-explanatory, you go in, hurl a bunch of paint at a canvas, and voila, you are now an artist. But the best part? They also throw in a cheese plate and champagne. There’s a bar, people. I was sold.
We headed inside and I could see the inquisitive look on my husband’s face, a mixture of hesitation (What the heck is this place) and resignation (sigh, of course she picked something Pinterest-related). My husband is not the excitable type. He could say he’s excited and still look like he does when he’s watching the news. Which is probably a good thing for a pilot, I don’t know.
But anyway, he took a look around and noticed the bar, and I heard the audible sucking in of air as he gasped a little and whispered, “Oh, they have IPAs here.” He may not be an excitable guy, but he is definitely a beer guy. Wife points!
Finally, I told him what we were doing and it looked like relief washed over him. I don’t know what he thought we would be doing, but apparently splattering paint seemed way better. Is that some excitement I sense??
We were given some zip-up painting onesies and booties and told to suit up. Then we were brought to a back room where there was literally paint covering every surface of every wall. This was gonna be good.
The lady who had been helping us turned off the lights, and all of a sudden there were black lights and a disco ball and the paint was glowing. Party time!
We started off a little shy, but in no time we were launching paint across the room onto our canvas. We started giggling, and then when one of my paint brush heads broke off mid-throw and smacked against the canvas leaving a giant splotch, we started laughing so hard we could barely breathe. Of all the things I know to be therapeutic, I had no idea that flinging paint would be one of them. It was awesome.
We randomly decided to each draw a heart right in the middle, and decided our masterpiece was finished.
While it dried, we were led back to the front to enjoy our drinks and cheese plate (delish!) and I decided to tell my husband what was next – dinner at a little place nearby we’d never tried. On the inside, I was hoping it was as good as the reviews said it was because I really wanted to keep this momentum going. Before we left, he told me that he had really enjoyed it and that I had “set the bar high for our next date.” Success!
We put the painting in the car and walked to the restaurant. As soon as we walked in I relaxed. This place was totally our type; laid-back with a swanky vibe, and we even got seated in the couch lounge! Fun!
We ordered our drinks and food decided to go over the 1st date questions. They started off simple enough, and then got more interesting.
Now let me tell you, my husband and I have been together for 12 years, and married for almost 10. We’ve both heard the same stories over and over, (usually inducing eye rolls) and we know each other very well. But as we talked over these questions, I learned things about my husband that I didn’t know.
How was that even possible?! I think I’ve just forgotten to check in. I got lazy, and figured I already know him as much as I ever will, but that’s apparently not true. People change. I’ve changed in 12 years, so why wouldn’t he? It was eye-opening, to say the least.
We ended up talking hours, like we used to when we were first dating. Why has it been so long since we’ve talked like this? I already knew the answer to this, even as I asked it. Life, kids, work, stress. All of it gets in between us. But as we talked, I felt those things melt away, and I felt feelings for him that have been kind of dormant re-blossom. This is the guy I married, don’t you remember him?
Suddenly I remembered the staring-at-each-other part of the date, and reached for my phone to start the timer. We faced each other and settled in, and kind of nervously laughed for the first ten seconds or so. But then it turned into comfortable silence, and it just felt nice. A few seconds before the timer was going to go off, our server came by and our stare was broken. Dang it! We decided to try again later that night.
Once we got home and paid the babysitter, we headed to bed. We got into our PJs and after we were under the sheets, we tried the staring again. This time it was quiet, no distractions. It took us a few seconds to get comfortable again, but it wasn’t as awkward as I thought. It was like taking a moment to just be together.
The best part about the whole night had been just being together. For a few hours, we didn’t have to be Mom or Dad, we didn’t have responsibilities, and didn’t have any of the day-to-day worries that usually plague our relationship. We were just us again. And it was magical. This is how we fell in love, I thought, those familiar feelings filling me up again. Our only goal had been to have a good time and enjoy each other’s company. But we got more out of it. So, so much more.
I can’t wait to see what he has planned for next week! (Update: Here’s how the second date went.)
I urge you to try the dating challenge, we’re only one date in and the results were even better than I was expecting. To see the guidelines and join for yourself, see the original post here.
Happy dating, friends!
The Flight Wife