Do you believe in dating and romancing your spouse? This was something Kev and I were really good at. As much as I’d love to, I cannot take credit for this hah! Those close to us know that he is undoubtedly the more romantic of us two and I am always trying to catch up. The pandemic changed things because my anxiety skyrocketed to levels I cannot even begin to describe. On top of that, we had to face several major life events such as the passing of my father in law, reorganizing our lives to take my mother in law in, packing and moving out of 2 apartments (and 1 house) to move somewhere that could accommodate us all, the kids studying remotely full time, me starting a new business… the list is endless.
To add to all of this, I did not want to go out for fear that we would bring the virus back to the 2 high-risk people in our home. This took a toll on our relationship as a couple. I didn’t realize this because I chalked all our disagreements up to the changes in our lives and the stress of the pandemic.
Date Nights Are Good For Your Marriage
Many months of therapy later, and after discovering the incredible book Seven Principles of a Happy Marriage by @gottmaninstitute, I realized that our date night rituals were not just something fun we did. Unbeknownst to us, it was actually a necessary investment in the friendship of our marriage. The returns on this investment we had upheld was not a marriage void of arguments, but rather a marriage where two partners were more forgiving, kinder, and considerate of each other whenever an argument did arise. If you haven’t read the book, it really is eye-opening. If like me, holding a book is a luxury, I recommend listening to the audiobook during your commute.
Making Time to Date Your Spouse
Realizing this, we have since re-instituted our dates! In fact, we have increased its frequency to once a week and it has truly been a blessing. Our dates aren’t always a nice meal out – although it may seem like it from our stories on Instagram LOL. Sometimes, it’s even running errands like food shopping (something I really enjoy) together – just us two. Other times, it’s brunch or even cooking together at home. Although his parents are both chefs, Kev is not a cook so I really enjoy and appreciate his company in the kitchen with me.
Why Date Nights?
The point of these dates is not to do something fancy, although we do this, too. The point is to carve out time for us to talk without distractions – almost like putting up a bubble for just us two to shut the noise of the world out. To create a space where we are the only thing the other is focused on.
5 Steps to Cook an Italian Dinner for Date Night at Home
Today, I want to share a pasta dish that is ridiculously easy and a delicious meal to enjoy on a date night at home. Dim the lights, grab some candles, let the music play softly in the background while you catch up. Have kids? Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing how we deal with this when a babysitter is not available (or not an option) in a future post. If you can’t wait, feel free to reach out to me directly on Instagram for my best tips for having date nights at home with kids!
Toscani Pasta with Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe RECIPE
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15-20 mins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves – minced
- 8 oz Italian Sausage – Casing removed. I use Mild Italian Chicken Sausage from Whole Foods. You can also use more than 8 oz if you prefer.
- 1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
- 2 bunches of Broccoli Rabe – trimmed and cut into bite size pieces (see picture)
- 2 tablespoons Chicken Broth
- 1 bag of Toscani Pasta – You can also use Penne pasta if you prefer. Cook according to directions. Set aside a half cup of the pasta water. I use Organic Toscani by Seggiano from Whole Foods. It comes in a 13.2 oz bag.
- ¼ cup of saved Pasta Water
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium high heat
- Add the minced garlic
- Once fragrant, add the Italian Sausage and break it apart until it looks like minced meat
- When this is cooked through add the Italian seasoning
- Mix well and add the broccoli rabe and cook to the tenderness of your liking
- Add the chicken broth and the saved pasta water. If your dish has enough moisture you can skip the pasta water.
- Add the parsley, salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
xoxo, Mirfie & the Chan Fam
PS Check out more of our favorite recipes from around the globe here!