Restoring Romance in a Rushed and Running World

He grabbed my hand as we jaywalked through the parking lot and climbed up cement steps to the history center. On wooden benches, in folding chairs, and across picnic blankets, the crowd swelled and continued to grow. We spread out our picnic sheet, laughing at the too-stereotypical red gingham material, and laid out an easy picnic supper from the grocery store. Asian chicken pea-pod salad and a roast beef baguette sandwich paired well with a mango coconut water for me, and a juice for him.

 Gold twilight warmed the St. Paul basilica behind us, and cast shadows across our legs and supper, as the first of the music started. Appalachian violins, fiddles, and clogging dancers stamped and scratched out the rhythms, in sing-song line-dancing chorus, during this week’s Nine Nights of Music free summer concerts.

Evening fell on the St. Paul skyline, dancers grabbed partners and dosei-doed, and I stretched out barefoot toes from a red sheet to cool green grass, and sighed contentedly.

“Look,” Mark pointed to a white haired man in rolled blue jeans and a cuffed white t-shirt clasping hands with a jitter-bugging female partner. They moved in comfortable grace, familiar with each other’s thoughts and movements. In dance after dance, they swayed in elegant ballroom moves, or rocked in easy rhythms.

Mark and I intertwined fingers and sat back, followed them with our eyes in the swirling mass of dancers, and leaned heads close in the deepening dusk.

With the busyness of life, and a son in college, we are always on the lookout for easy frugal date ideas. This picnic supper at a local free concert series was fun, romantic, and simple to do. Rekindling the flame in our marriages needn’t be expensive or exhausting, and is so worth it.

What are your most recent easy, simple date ideas? 

For more ideas, check out:
-Adding Steam and Romance to Our Marriages this Summer
Romance in the Moment to Moment (Plus free date ideas…)
Sneaking Romance into the Work Week
Rekindling Romance a Moment at a Time

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose.

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  1. HisFireFly on August 30, 2013 at 1:38 am

    sounds like a delightful evening
    often the simple is the most precious!

  2. Mommy Emily on August 30, 2013 at 3:14 am

    oh how lovely! so jealous…. what a beautiful landscape. thank you for sharing with us. e.

  3. Amy on August 30, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Yes, it is easy to let romance go when things become rushed, and sometimes just routine.
    I was just thinking about this today and said to my hubby, "you haven't taken me on a date in a while." To which he responded that he had just been thinking the same thing!
    We often times will just go get a glass of wine or beer at our local pizza and pub on a Friday night. Or when we have a little more money we love to go to the movies.
    Thanks for the reminder to keep nurturing the romance in marriage.

  4. Floyd on August 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Good for you! I can always use a reminder to be more intentional with my wife and family. Sometimes it's just a cup of coffee in the afternoon… Think I'll do that today. Maybe catch the show of hummingbirds playing… The greatest treasures are paid for by our Father and cost us nothing. Thanks bringing that back into focus.

  5. Unknown on August 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Beautiful! I love moments like that. My hubby and I love to peruse used book stores and lay on the front lawn and look for shapes in clouds. Those are small intimate moments I know we will remember.

  6. Wise Hearted on September 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    It's easy to let go of romance any time. After the chase and capture is over the hard work begins. We like to browse book stores especially Christian ones or a thrift store. He looks for tools, I look for things to decorate the house with. I like movie once in a while and he really could care less if he ever see a movie…but he will go to one I pick out just for me…I in turn will go car hunting with him with is my least favorite thing to do. Great post Jennifer…always need reminding of this…

  7. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Hisfirefly,

    Those simple relaxed moments breathe peace and renewal deep into me. You too?

    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you, Emily. 🙂


  9. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for stopping in here. Welcome. Good job for you and your man thinking about a date around the same time too. What did you end up doing that day?

    May you two — like us–keep learning to speak romance in little gestures and words each day.

    Nice to meet you.
    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Hey Floyd,

    A cup of coffee with your wife in the morning is a great tradition. 🙂 My man is a chai drinker, and concocts it near me some mornings too.

    Have a great week.

    Jennifer Dougan

  11. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm


    mmm, used bookstores and cloud gazing sounds nice too! 🙂 Keep doing it, and thanks for the ideas too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Betty,

    Browsing bookstores is something AJ mentioned too. I agree. And thrift stores, shared hobbies, or accommodating times together are nice too.

    Nice to talk with you,

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