In a recent episode of the Boise Bubble Podcast, we ruminated on what dating has done for us and how we do it. And how this seemingly simple activity is anything but simple.
Now, we openly admit relationships are hard. Sometimes we want to run screaming from each other. But most of the time, it’s pretty dang fulfilling. Learning to date well from the very beginning of our relationship has been pretty key to that. And continuing to date with purpose has been one of the reasons we haven’t run away screaming after 20 years.
Newsflash - lasting relationships don’t just happen. You think your house just magically stays clean, or your grass stays at just the right height? Have you ever heard a champion athlete answer the question of how she got so amazing with “I dunno. It just happened, I guess.” No, because amazing things don’t just happen on their own. Dating is a big part of the work of having a killer relationship. If you don’t work at it, you get “meh.” And who wants a “meh” relationship?
If dating sounds daunting, let us offer some basic guidelines.
Date to learn. Dates where we learn something new are especially exhilarating. Not only is the actual activity fun, but we also see each other in new ways. The Treasure Valley is chock-full of cool things to do that open your mind. The Discovery Center of Idaho has an ever-changing series of exhibits each of which could fill at least two nights of conversation and insights. Does learning how to blow glass sound cool? That’s because it is, and you can do it at Boise Art Glass. Take a couples cooking class at Season and Taste Cooking School. Go do something that adds a tool to your tool belt. People who are interested in things, are interesting to other people. (True story!)
Date to have fun. Relationships are supposed to be fun. Sometimes you have to make the fun happen. Go throw axes at Section 37 Axe room. Bring out your competitive side driving Go-Karts. Spend an evening at Roaring Springs or rock climbing at Vertical View Climbing Gym. Go skiing up at Bogus at night. What makes you laugh together? Go do that thing.
Date to discover each other. We sit on our front patio at night like a couple of old people in rocking chairs and chat for hours. What on earth do you talk about after 20 years? Well, everything. If you stay curious, you keep surprising each other. Set up dates for good conversation. Then ask questions. Good questions open the door to discovery. Go deep by thinking of questions that build on each other and you’ll be talking for at least an hour.
Try these: What’s the happiest you can remember being? How do you gauge happiness? What are three things on your bucket-list you have yet to accomplish? What is your idea of the perfect day? If you want to keep it light: Do you find tattoos attractive? What styles do you like most/least? If I got a tattoo, what would turn you on the most?
Need a romantic setting for conversation? Take a walk along the Greenbelt! Drive around neighborhoods looking at houses you could never afford! Spend a LONG time at dinner. We have lots of great romantic restaurants around like Little Pearl Oyster Bar, Bella Aquila, The Lively, Fork, Alavita, and Amano.
Relationships are in constant flux because you and your other are always changing. No one stands still, nor should they. We can’t help but change and evolve as we navigate life. That’s as true for your person as it is for you. Change happens almost imperceptibly over the course of years and if we don’t pay attention along the way, we’ll wake up some day not recognizing the person lying next to us. Dating is the mechanism to connect and stay connected. Oh, and it can be a lot of fun too.
Shane and Natalie Plummer are co-hosts of The Boise Bubble Podcast (@theboisebubble). If you see them and want to talk about Treasure Valley, they’d love to swap stories.