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Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

Inexpensive date night ideas

Categories: dating, marriage

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The economy is still limping along like an weakened zombie, which means that we all need to be creative with our date nights. By “creative”, I mean “inexpensive” and also, “fun.” Auntie Becky had a great post on Cafe Mom about 10 Awesome Date Ideas That Won’t Make You Go Broke. Yes, yes, and yes! (Add seven more “yeses” for the other seven suggestions.)

I have a few more to add.

Making time for date night

Categories: dating, love, marriage

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So, it turns out that if you vent on the Internet about missing your husband and wishing for a date night, those wishes come true, even though he doesn’t read this column unless you tell him to (which I did not).

An anonymous couple who attend our church dropped off a bunch of restaurant gift certificates for the staff and volunteers. My husband was given one for our favorite lakeside restaurant, which saw me doing a fist pump. My brother offered to watch our kids for us, which then saw me doing a Happy Dance.

We got gussied up, ate good food and got the chance to really talk about where we were (work-related) and where we wanted to go. We tossed around some scenarios for me, especially, and agreed on one that makes us both happy. We also had our usual banter of jokes and innuendo and, man. I really like that guy.

These last few weeks of tax season (with a side of hosting Easter dinner this weekend) are going to be RIDICULOUSLY BUSY, and I’m so glad that we took the time to go and to hang and to have conversations that went beyond the daily “getting stuff done.”

How do you guys make time for date night?

More date night ideas

Categories: dating, marriage


My friend Heidi shared a post in Google Reader titled, “52 Cheap Date Ideas.” Since my husband and I going on a MONTH since our last date night, thanks to a revolving door of viruses/sick kids, my interest was piqued. We’re going out tomorrow night for sushi (YAY!) but as the weather gets nicer and the chances of having kids on antibiotics gets smaller, I’m hoping to get back to our bi-weekly schedule of date nights and breaking out of the Costco/out for dinner rut that we tend to get into.

I’m definitely up for a wine tour or even going to play mini golf.

Do you guys have any fun date night ideas that you want to share?

Do you ever meet your spouse for lunch?

Categories: communication, dating, marriage


This past January, I returned to work full-time and in September, my husband’s job went to three-quarter time (to go to full-time in the New Year). Throw in three kids (two in elementary school and one in preschool) and other external commitments and our lives are pretty hectic.

My husband and I aim to go on a date night every two weeks, but all of the things we have going on sometimes make that date night happen every three or four weeks. Better than never, yes, but certainly not often enough for my taste.

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Date Night Makeover

Categories: dating, marriage


I am a huge proponent of having a regular Date Night, as those of you who read regularly can attest to. We aim for once every second week, though sometimes it’s longer than that. Or, in the case of last weekend, we had a date night on both Friday and Sunday (Friday was just us, Sunday was a friend’s birthday dinner)(Yes, that counts, because there was fifteen pounds of Alaskan King Crab and ever-flowing wine).

I have also been truthful here in saying that our date night can get pretty routine. Dinner (at the exact same restaurant) and Costco, anyone? Though I have to give us kudos not for going to dinner at the exact same restaurant again, BUT going…shopping at the mall instead of Costco. We know how to party.

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Do feel pressured to make date nights extra “exciting”?

Categories: dating, love, marriage


I was interviewed by the Globe & Mail for an article about date nights. (It’s running today - here’s the link.) (I am incredibly honored and maybe a little excited to see my name in print over there.) The article was inspired by the movie Date Night that’s coming out, where the couple feels pressured to shake up their usual date night routine.

If you’ve read here long enough, you know that I am a strong advocate for regular date nights and am fully aware that we are in a bit of a rut. I keep saying that we should change it up, but it hasn’t happened yet. Part of could be due to the fact that I’m in the trenches of tax season (and overtime), so any kind of date night has fallen by the wayside for the past month.

Our anniversary trip to Vegas next month should make up for that fact for a bit, but I do think we should try something new. Golf lessons? Parasailing (EEK)? I’m not sure but we need to sit down together and think of some ideas.

How about you? Do you feel pressure to make date nights more exciting?

Romantic Gestures

Categories: dating, love, marriage


Take that title any way you like it. Ahem.

I saw at article over at titled, “Top Five Romantic Gestures“. Based on the title, I thought it might be a good Friday post for this here column. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it was pretty stereotypical.

For a movie, they told guys to “Suck it up and throw her favorite tear-jerking romance on your Netflix queue“. For the ladies they said, “A superhero movie or the latest action flick may not be your first choice at the multiplex (nor does it seem very romantic), but chances are going to see one would make your guy very happy, especially with a large box of Junior Mints along with your popcorn.

Um. Nine point five times out of ten, I would rather see “a superhero movie or the latest action flick” over a “tear-jerking romance”. Yet another reason why my husband and I get along so well, I s’pose.

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Five habits of happy couples

Categories: communication, dating, love, marriage


I’ve started reading The Happiness Project and am thoroughly enjoying it. When I saw an article on Yahoo! Shine titled, “5 Habits Of The Happiest Couples” I was led to click through. The five points she listed made sense and I thought I’d share them here and put my spin on them.

1. Reach out. It’s far too easy to get wrapped up in our own busy-ness and stresses. Making the effort to ask your spouse how they’re really doing can do wonders for your connection.

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10 Creative Date Night Ideas

Categories: dating


The lovely team over at Ladies Home Journal added me on Twitter last week. This was quite nice as you know I’m always looking for marriage articles to discuss for my Friday posts and I hadn’t thought to check out their site. Shortly thereafter they posted a link to one of their articles titled, “10 Creative Dates“. As someone who (ceaselessly) promotes making time for regular “Date Nights” and who is always trying to break out of same routine, the article caught my eye.

A few of my favorite ideas from the column:

A progressive dinner. Appetizers at one place, dinner at another place and dessert somewhere else. Different locations not only have different atmospheres, it would give your stomach a chance to digest before you assault it with more food.

Taking a class together. I’ve always thought that taking a cooking class would be fun - how much more so would it be if I had Honey for company?

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Don’t let baby bring date night to a halt

Categories: children, dating, marriage


I read a post over at Parent Dish titled “Romance Advice for New Parents - Make Date Night a Priority“. It is no secret that I am a huge proponent of a regular date night, so of course this article caught my eye.

This article was aimed at parents of newborn babies. Anyone who has had one of those (amazingly miraculous yet ridiculously exhausting) creatures knows all too well how their entrance into your world throws said world off of its axis. Everything you thought you “knew” about how you would parent is thrown out the window. So do all of your ideals about keeping your “couple time” intact. At least, that’s how it was for my husband and I.

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