Getting married should not bring an end to dating. Please, give me a minute to explain before sending emails and texts to my wife. A married couple needs to date – each other, of course. Fun times together build a stronger bond. With all the stresses working to blow marriages apart, anything we can do to strengthen our relationship is a good investment.
I understand the problems with dating:
- Sitters are expensive
- Concert and movie tickets are outrageously priced
- We fight to stay awake past 8:30
- There’s a church function scheduled for every open spot in the calendar.
- Our budget is so tight we conduct a full house sweep for loose change twice a week
Finding cash for dates is almost as hard as finding time. I need low-cost or no-cost date ideas. I’ve been told holding hands with my wife at Lowe’s does not constitute a date, unless we are looking at flooring or tile or something that stimulates the female psyche. Of course, that stuff usually leads to more work and a large cash outlay. OK, I heard that unkind comment. Let me tell you, cheapskate is such a negative word. I prefer to be called a money-maximizer.
Men, we have to observe our ladies and find out what brings a smile to their faces. Marriage, like hunting or fishing, is as much about learning the other person’s likes and dislikes as anything else. Shawn loves to drink her morning coffee, converse casually, take endless pictures with her camera, and walk in gardens. As it turns out, there is a venue offering all three, although I will have to stop at Caribou on the way to get the coffee.
I planned a spontaneous date and suggested one morning, “Why don’t we eat breakfast, then take a walk at J C Raulston?” Shawn can be a bit slow to start in the mornings, but after I whispered these words in her ear, she sprang out of bed.
What is JC Raulston? The official description is:
“The JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants adapted for landscape use in the Southeast. Plants especially adapted to Piedmont North Carolina conditions are collected and evaluated in an effort to find superior plants for use in southern landscapes.”
For my fellow money-maximizers, let me tell you parking is free, there is no admission fee, and there is nothing to buy. It is a cheap date. If you’ve never been, you need to visit and let your eyes feast on the displays. Look for me there. I’m the tall guy holding someone’s cup of coffee while she takes photos.
Here’s the web site for JC Raulston. And here’s a sampling of Shawn’s bountiful picture collection from various visits. (Note: High resolutions photos are available, just email us.)