History in the Making

By – Amy Q. As much as I will admit that I am a thrill seeker, I am still fond of adventures of the mind too. In the winter when activities are limited by inclement weather, either lack of snow, or an over abundance you have to get creative and explore alternate date ideas. Coming up with new and creative dates can be challenging sometimes especially if you enjoy outdoor activities, but the important thing is to stay open minded and experience all the world around you has to offer. Don’t you ever throw in the towel on dating your spouse, trust me there is so much left out there to find and turn into memories.

For the past four winters now, Christopher and I pick a Saturday and we travel down to Travelers Rest State Park near Lolo. The park itself is nice to explore and the museum but we’re here for the Winter Storytelling Lecture Series. This annual event features Native American storytellers, historians, professors of ecology, and many more. Every Saturday from January through the end of March you can visit the Rest and listen to a variety of speakers. Over the years we’ve heard topics such as Lewis and Clark, Native American religion and naming methods, and even a very convincing Mark Twain impersonator. The lectures begin at 11:00 am and last roughly an hour, the Rest provides free refreshments, and admission is $5.00 each. This coming Saturday, February the 7th Poet and writer Phillip Burgess tells the story of A Black Homesteader’s Struggle.

I really enjoy these learning centered dates because it spawns interesting conversations between Christopher and I, and we discuss topics that we’d never thought of before. Continuing to learn is a great way to grow closer to your spouse because afterwards you can share your perspective on what you heard, and how it resonated with you. Ask each other questions, see what inspired them or made them think? A great addition to this historical date is to either go out for a nice breakfast beforehand in Missoula, or have lunch afterwards and talk about the lecture. For a good breakfast in Zoo town I’d recommend the Catalyst, or Burns Street Bistro. Or if you’re looking for a great lunch check out Riverside Café in downtown Missoula their soups are incredible.

Another recent date that entailed some history was a trip to the Flathead that I planned for us. We drove to Polson and explored the Miracles of America Museum. Boy was it expansive, so much to see, and so many articles and exhibits it would take you numerous trips to take it all in. We both enjoyed taking turns explaining things that we thought were eye catching, Chris liked the planes and science related things, I pointed out the history related. This is a great trip to teach you as a couple to give and take, stop so that he can peruse what he thinks is fascinating, wait there and listen to what he has to say, and then walk a little more and it’s your turn. Instead of exploring this enormous place solo, stick together, hold hands and learn to pace your spouse and hear what makes them engaged.

A date that features mental connectedness has numerous benefits, new conversation starters, opportunities to learn about the past, but also to learn more about your spouse. Win, win. When you’re stuck indoors this winter/spring consider alternative date ideas that will get your mind in motion and your relationship out of a rut.


Thanking Each Other

By – Amy Q.

How often do you make it an effort to show appreciation and gratitude to your spouse? Other then this week? It’s Thanksgiving, the week of all things related to gratefulness. Aside from celebrating our cultures revelry in gluttony, I know, how dare I mention that. How can you as a couple spend Thanksgiving in a way that will honor your relationship and refresh it rather than pig out and stress out?

Every Thanksgiving week since Christopher and I have been married we schedule a very special and important appointment. No, it’s not to go get our cholesterol checked before the big feast. We book a couples massage. This has become our tradition each November. Not only is the massage a way to relax together and say thank you in a romantic way, but it’s also perfect timing hence hunting season is winding down and we are sore!

Taking this one hour out of our Thanksgiving week to go do this as a couple, to disconnect from the outside world and share a rejuvenating break is well worth it. This gives you both the opportunity to de-stress at the same time, forget about work, family issues, whether you put the turkey out to thaw.

For those who have never experienced a couples massage I recommend finding your nearest day spa ASAP. As girly as it may sound I assure you even the manliest husbands out there can appreciate the benefits their aching muscles will reap. Massage produces so many healthy qualities, it releases tension in your muscles, it relaxes the mind, which reduces the stressors that can weaken our immune systems. And doing this as a couple creates the perfect atmosphere to connect, you can talk throughout your massage if you prefer, or simply hold hands between the massage tables and enjoy the ambiance. No cellphones, no Facebook, no screaming children, no shopping list. Just you and your spouse being vulnerable yet safe while being pampered. How often do you get to share a time like this? You have the choice to pick female or male masseuse’s at most facilities depending on your preference. And you always have the free will to tell your masseuse to avoid certain areas, like tickley feet, or sensitive back issues.

I know that for some couples affording a luxury date like this is far fetched. But even for Christopher and I we use a tight budget each month for dates and life in general. So to afford our massage date this month we have been stashing away small amounts for the last two months to afford it. This meant taking ten to twenty dollars from other dates to make our massage a reality. We have found over the years that massages really range in price depending on the location. Some of our best couples massages weren’t at fancy a day spa, but at a small personally owned massage clinic in Missoula, the Healthy Hummingbird. So explore lots of different venues, try a new place each year to accommodate how much you can afford to spend. When booking make sure to confirm not only the price but that you will be in the same room for the massage. Some spa facilities don’t have large enough rooms to allow for side by side couples massages so check when you schedule. For me the side by side factor is the most important.

Here is our list of places we have gotten couples massages in the past:

All That Jazz Salon and Day Spa in Missoula

Spa at the Peak in Missoula

Bella Sauvage Day Spa and Salon in Missoula

Healthy Hummingbird Massage (Cheapest)

Montana School of Massage in Missoula

Highlands Day Spa in Post Falls Idaho ( not yet rated, we will find out tomorrow!)

Don’t forget that to have a true date night you should go out to eat somewhere after the massage. This portion of the date is for connecting even more. Talk about the massage experience, was it enjoyable, did it feel good? Talk about your anything but your work, kids, family, and finances. Discuss something you’ve read recently that you found interesting, share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. Describe how your perfect Christmas season would play out. Make a list on your napkin of all the things you want to go do next for date night. I suggest not eating before the massage because you don’t want to be too full and uncomfortable. We are dining at the Fleur De Sol Restaurant tomorrow evening right after our massage in Post Falls. And the best part is the restaurant is in the same building as the day spa. Maybe we can just have them wheel us to our table as we awaken from our post massage coma.

My top pick restaurant in Missoula for a great fall themed/Thanksgiving date is Scotty’s Table which is down below the Wilma Theater on Higgins.

One final Note – Don’t let the cost of this date scare you away from going. I know that spending money on dates can seem frivolous or even a waste. But I promise you it is money and time well spent. You can’t find anything better to invest in than your marriage. And because of that investment you are investing in your children and your family by making your marriage a priority. Don’t feel guilty for doing this, or for going on any date for that matter. This is what’s best for all of you.