Donna Meagle, I have three words for you!
Treat Yo Self!
When my husband made me watch an episode of Parks and Recreation about a year ago I did not think I would even like the show much less be sitting here right now writing a blog about a lesson that we learned from two of the characters.
First off, if you have never watched the show, watch it. It is quite possibly one of the best sitcoms ever. I have watched every episode now multiple times but who is counting? The show revolves around a group of people that work in the parks and recreation department at the City Hall in Pawnee, Indiana. It goes through all the government red tape that people in office have to go through to get anything accomplished. Two of the characters Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford love things, all the things. So they dedicate one day out of every year as “Treat Yo Self” day. They go all out on that day and buy and do whatever they want regardless of the practicality or the price. It is one of my favorite episodes because it is funny but honestly Alex and I have used it to help our marriage. Let me take a few moments and explain how this happened.
Tara, buy the coat!
A random fact about myself. When I was in college I discovered the credit card and the magic that happened when you swiped it. People take that swipe and in exchange, they give you things. But something rather unfortunate happens about 30 days after you get the things. You get a bill and the card company wants you to pay them back plus some. So there was a time in my life when I was in credit card debt up to my eyeballs. When Alex and I got engaged our Pastor and his wife made us take a Dave Ramsey money course. Because of that course, Alex and I became good stewards of our money and were able to pay off all the credit card debt I had and the debt Alex had as well. Since then, I have completely done a 180 where shopping is concerned. I either don’t shop or I shop off the clearance rack.
Let’s fast forward to April of 2018. My mama passed away. That was the single most painful experience I have ever been through. When we were making all the arrangements for her funeral Alex and I both wanted to go and get some new clothes so we would look nice for the funeral. So we went shopping. He got a suit and I was looking for an outfit as well. For the first time in forever, I did not look at the price at all. I just found something I liked, and off to the register, we went. When the cashier rang up the price a painful noise that I can’t replicate literally came out of my mouth. It had been a long time since I had seen a number like that on the clothes I had bought. I turned to Alex mouth open read to tell him to take it back when he looked at me and said, “Tara, buy the coat.” He followed that statement by saying that this was for my Mama’s funeral and that it was ok to spend the money. As we were walking to the car, I had found my words and was telling him all the reasons why I needed to take the coat back. He looked at me and said, “Tara Payne, Treat Yo Self.” Then he got this look on his face. I could tell that an idea was in the works. He told me that the last few months had been very hard and very sad and that we needed to do something so that this time of the year wasn’t all bad. At that moment, Alex declared April 5th as “Treat Yo Self” day for us.
This may seem silly to you but it was one of the most thoughtful things Alex has ever done for me. In a time of sadness that was so heavy, it physically hurt me my husband found a way to force me to shift my perspective. Not only did it shift my perspective it was an intentional way that we could be together as a couple. After Mama’s funeral, we left town. We changed our location and spent time together and I think it was the best thing we could have done.
Allow for Fun in Your Schedule
When you get married life happens and as much as you want to be intentional about having fun with your spouse dating, and spending time and energy on your relationship is usually the first thing that falls through the cracks. I believe this is one of the most diabolical yet seemingly harmless attacks that the enemy has on our marriages. The enemy keeps us busy and focused on other things to the point that our most important relationship suffers right under our noses.
Dating and spending time with your spouse doing things that you both enjoy is crucial if you are going to have a healthy marriage where you are continuing to grow closer as a couple.
I do not believe it is a “good idea” to date and have fun with your spouse I believe it is a necessity. It is a necessity if you are going to stay connected on a deeper level and continue to grow together. It is a necessity if both of you are going to go the distance and be happy at the same time. It does not have to be hard, expensive, or time-consuming. It just needs to be deliberate and often.
Establish a Budget for Fun
I am not saying make bad financial decisions and be unwise with your resources. And I am not saying that you should only date once a year or that you should date all the time. What I am saying is to change your priorities so that being together and having fun is apart of your regular routine. If you want to do something that costs money, establish a budget for these activities so it does not negatively affect your resources. It can look like or cost whatever works best for you.
Alex and I date on a regular basis and I am thankful for that because it gives us time to just focus on each other. It gives us a margin in our schedule for fun and enjoyment. It gives us a break from the routine.
Create Fun Non-Negotiables
We learned the practice of non-negotiables from Marcus and Emily Harrell. There are certain things that they plan out that are non-negotiables which means once it is planned it will be done. They chose to say yes to each other and no to other things. That is what “Treat Yo Self” day has become to Alex and I. We have set aside that day for the sole purpose of enjoying ourselves in whatever way we chose, it has become a non-negotiable for us.
You should make time for each other on a regular basis, but I do very much encourage a “Treat Yo Self” day. Make it whatever day works best for you. Alex chose April 5th because of the season we had just been through. Your day can be whenever you like but put it on the calendar and make it an annual thing.
I am posting two blogs this time because I wanted to share what we did on our “Treat Yo Self” day. I wanted to give some recommendations for things you can do for fun, and some dating tips that have helped Alex and me be intentional. So be sure to read it as well.
We live in a fast-paced world that is screaming for every moment of our time. If we aren’t careful we will blink and the connection with our spouse will be gone, what a tragedy that would be.
By setting up non-negotiables, you are making the choice that time with each other is more important than anything else on your schedule. Making that choice will be a game changer for your marriage.
Make a choice to say no to the world for a moment. Choose to say yes to your spouse! Choose to say yes to spending time having fun together and see how it impacts your marriage for the better!
Friends, Treat Yo Self!