Welcome to your February date

Welcome
to your February date

ONENESS

ONENESS

No pressure, but you do know what month it is, right? The one with all the heart-shaped cards and red flowers filling supermarkets? No doubt you’ve started thinking of ways to show your sweetheart how special they are to you. Let this February Date Night experience help!

The thing about Valentine’s Day is that it sensationalizes romance and often leads us to believe that coming together is all about the big moments. However, our lives are not made up of one big moment after another; instead they’re full of small, seemingly mundane moments — and those are the ones that need the most redeeming when it comes to intentionality in our pursuit of God and each other.

This month we’re focusing on oneness, which is how two people pursue unity and harmony in their relationship. We’ll flash you back to where it all began, stop along the way to talk through barriers to oneness and we’ll eat some fancy restaurant-quality food, too.

LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!

Set the Mood, Set the Music

If you don’t think jazz is romantic, then is there really any hope for you? Rally around this playlist for the most love-struck month of the year and settle in with your sweet valentine for an evening to remember as you listen to our curated Spotify playlist “Date Nights – February Valentine.”

Set the Mood, Set the Music

If you don’t think jazz is romantic, then is there really any hope for you? Rally around this playlist for the most love-struck month of the year and settle in with your sweet valentine for an evening to remember as you listen to our curated Spotify playlist “Date Nights – February Valentine.”

Part 1: Recreate an Early Date

Can you remember your first date or a special one early on in your relationship? Maybe the moment where you started really seeing your significant other differently — where you started “falling in love” with them? Think through the details that made that date memorable and try to recreate it! Here are some things to consider:

  • Where was it? (i.e.: restaurant/home; inside/outside; in a car, etc.)
  • Were you seated, standing, dancing or laying down on a picnic blanket?
  • Did you bring flowers or a gift? Buy something together while you were out?
  • What were you wearing? What were they wearing?
  • What perfume or cologne did you wear? What about your hairstyle?
  • What did you talk about? Laugh at any jokes? Make any crazy dream plans together? Dig through that memory box for some fun conversation starters.

Now that you’ve chosen the date you want to recreate, go for it! Get creative. If you have access to quick shipping, you may want to look for souvenir items to help you recreate the memory. For instance, if you want to recreate a moment from a beach vacation, but can’t go there for Valentine’s (thanks, COVID), you might order in a small bag of sand, some seashells and a couple of funky drink glasses. Get out your pool towels, crank the heat up and put on those board shorts! Oh, and don’t forget to dab a little SPF-30 behind your ears.

Part 2: Cook Something Together

This recipe is the epitome of win-over-your-date cooking and will even leave you with some leftover gnocchi!

Steakhouse Gnocchi
Total prep and cook time: 1 hour

– Set of two seasoned cast iron skillets, one smaller and one larger (or use your favorite skillet and a quarter sheet pan)

– Tongs

– Steak of choice (we can’t help suggesting that you go all out for Valentine’s and get fillet mignon, but here’s a resource for you to evaluate your own steak preference — and possibly at a lower cost) — get a large steak to split, or buy a couple; about 3/4 to 1 lb. total

– 2 to 3 tsp. coarse kosher salt

– Avocado oil (or any light high-heat oil)

– 1 16-oz. package baby bella mushrooms, sliced (these are small portabello mushrooms, or you can substitute sliced button mushrooms or any other you prefer!)

– More salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

– 1/4 cup marsala wine (or grab some beef stock instead)

– 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, sliced up and divided

– 1 package potato gnocchi (best to use the kind you don’t have to boil — makes
this recipe a much simpler feat!)

– 1/2 cup water or stock

– 1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped

– 2 to 3 green onions, sliced on a bias

– 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

– Parmesan cheese, grated (or Romano, etc. – whatever you like to put on your Italian food!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with either the smaller cast iron skillet or the sheet pan inside it, and preheat your other skillet on your stovetop over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, get out your steak of choice and pat it dry with a paper towel. Season it with the coarse kosher salt. Roll it around so it’s evenly distributed all over the surface. Drizzle it with oil and roll it around to evenly coat the steak — no need to also oil your pan. If your steak is good, that’s all the seasoning you’ll need!
  3. Once your stovetop skillet is nice and hot (think hot like a grill), carefully place your steak into it and don’t move it. Set a timer for 2 minutes, and then flip it. Continue working like this every 2 minutes until each edge of the steak has been seared. You may want to monitor your pan’s heat — if using cast iron, you’ll want to reduce the heat a bit because iron holds onto and accumulates heat.
  4. Once your steak is seared, remove it from the stovetop skillet and place it on the pan in your oven. Cook until desired doneness. Don’t be afraid to use a thermometer, but please don’t stab a steak more than once! We recommend a thermometer with an oven-safe lead wire that you can continually monitor. Also, here’s a handy guide to steak cooking temperatures. Don’t forget when your meat rests, it continues to cook a little, so take it out on the early side.
  5. With your steak in the oven, reduce the heat on your skillet to medium-low and add the mushrooms. If your skillet is kind of dry, add some more oil — but avoid adding any water until your mushrooms are finished cooking (it can make them “rubbery”). Continue stirring your mushrooms and when they are browned, add a couple hefty pinches of salt and pepper, then splash in the Marsala or stock. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
  6. Next, add in half of the butter along with the gnocchi. Stir gently and consider raising the heat in order for the butter to slightly brown as it coats the gnocchi.
  7. After a couple of minutes, add water/stock and the chard. Fold in the
    chard so that it begins to wilt and cook down.
  8. Pull the skillet off the heat and add in the remaining butter and the sliced green onions.
  9. If you haven’t already, pull your steak from the oven and place on a cutting board, sprinkle about a teaspoon of ground black pepper all over it, and cover with a piece of aluminum foil to “rest.” When your steak has rested for a few minutes, go ahead and slice it up (on a bias looks prettier!)
  10. Plate your food with a heaping pile of the gnocchi-mushroom-chard mixture in the middle, sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese and lay pieces of your cut steak on top. Try not to ignore your partner too much while you take photos of it for Instagram.

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

– Ecclesiastes 4:12

Part 3: It’s time for some intentional conversation.

Read the following quote and then have a conversation together around the topic of oneness.

“A marriage of love, unity, and understanding is not rooted in romance; it is rooted in worship … Worship is first your identity before it is ever your activity. You are a worshiper, so everything you think, desire, choose, do, or say is shaped by worship. There is simply no more profound insight into the reason people do the things they do than this, and once you get hold of it, it opens doors of understanding and change that were never before opened to you.” -Paul David Tripp

  1. What do you think this quote means?
  2. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  3. If it’s true that what you worship shapes what you do, what do you do/worship?
  4. What is God’s role in our relationship? What would our oneness look like with Him at the center? (This is illustrated in Ecclesiastes 4:12, seen above.)
  5. What kind of change do you think is possible for you? For me? For us?


Bonus: Order and read the book this quote is from! It’s a great one that our staff highly recommends.

Post-Dinner

Intentional

Prayer

Oneness isn’t just a thing we pursue on big, romantic days. It’s a way of living where God is not only on your agenda, He’s a third party in your marriage. That means that every barrier you allow to exist between you and God is also an invisible and emotional barrier between you and your spouse. Our hope and prayer for you tonight is that you begin to understand that your relationship with God — strained or healthy as it may be — is actually at the center of everything … including your ability to be intimate with your significant other.

Practice a deeper intimacy with God and with your significant other by talking out loud to God together. Try the following prayer prompts:

  • “God, I’m sorry for putting _____ before You.”
  • “Please help me see and eliminate barriers that are preventing me from knowing and loving You and knowing and loving my spouse more fully.” Take a couple of minutes to sit in silence together and listen. Voice any barriers that God helps bring to your mind, even if they are difficult to admit.
  • “How do I need to grow and change, God? Please help me.”
  • “Thank You for allowing me to be with this person.”


If your significant other shared something vulnerable, please allow them the space they need to feel safe. Imagine if it were you who just shared that. How would you want your partner to respond to you? We recommend starting with a big hug. Don’t hesitate to reach out in the “Need some help?” section below. It’s always our privilege to walk alongside the two of you.

Is there anything you’d like to share?

We’d love to hear from you and be there for you as you continue to grow your marriage. Here’s a link to an anonymous survey so we can understand what needs you might have, what challenges you’re facing and how we can help.

FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE

We all know that marriage has its ups and downs. Be reminded of God’s good agenda through the highs and lows of your marriage, and be encouraged and equipped from the Scriptures to love your spouse with a love that can only come from God.

Need some help?

If you want to work through anything this date has brought up, we’re here for you!