Welcome to your january date

KINDness

As you start 2021, one of the things you might be looking to pursue is a deeper connection with your significant other. This date is going to explore that by focusing on kindness!

One of the challenges many couples face is finding balance in all focuses of life. For those who work full time, you might find this an impossible reality. How do you get into a healthy spouse-life balance? Let’s take an example from the business world. 

Imagine you’re a CEO. Your goal is to keep your investors confident in your business as well as inspire your employees to produce real results — all while using your business’s limited capital. So, when you look at investment opportunities, you may look at ones that will provide the most immediate, tangible results. In this case, you’ll quickly make people happy, make a lot of money and get those satisfying congratulatory pats on the back. However, no one is noticing that the foundational, long-term investments are getting starved because you focused on the more immediate results that seemed so important at the time. If you’ve ever studied root causes of business disasters, you’ll see time and time again that this type of short-term investment over long-range planning is a major theme. We’re here to help you take steps toward discovering your best long-term investments in your relationship.

LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!

Set the Mood, Set the Music

Ever wonder what our Christ Chapel Traditional Music staffers listen to on their own date nights? Our list this month features favorites from Josh and Emily Bailey — the tunes they might find themselves playing and dancing to on date nights in. Cozy up inside and listen to our curated Spotify playlist “Date Nights – January Inside.”

Set the Mood, Set the Music

Ever wonder what our Christ Chapel Traditional Music staffers listen to on their own date nights? Our list this month features favorites from Josh and Emily Bailey — the tunes they might find themselves playing and dancing to on date nights in. Cozy up inside and listen to our curated Spotify playlist “Date Nights – January Inside.”

Part 1: Love Letters

Start your date off right by practicing kindness. How, you ask? We’re going to use letters to declare our love!

Break out your game chest and find your Scrabble tiles or Bananagrams letters … or download our printable letter tiles.

Outdo one another in showing kindness … and gather the most points (of course!) by being a patient and kind lover.

Pull the letter pieces from the game set and place them in a pile or in a bowl. We suggest you limit the total number of tiles to around 20. Set the rest aside. (Or play until you’ve each had a chance to draw 10 tiles.)

Each player draws one letter from the pile. The player with the letter that comes first in the alphabet goes SECOND. (See what we did there? Kindness!) Keep your tiles. These are your first letters of play.

Using the list below, choose one thing to say that starts with the letter on the tile in your hand.

  • Something you love about the other person
  • A memory you have of the other person


For example: If you have the letter M, you might say, “M&M’s – Our second date when we went to go see that movie and you insisted I buy you M&M’s in the theater!” Or, “Mothering – You’re a fantastic mom!” (We recommend giving a concrete example as to why she’s a fantastic mom.)

Each player keeps a collection of the tiles they have played successfully. Keep drawing tiles, taking turns one after another until the main pile/bowl is empty.

You may choose to pass if you are getting stumped by a letter. When you pass, your partner may “steal” that letter and play it as their own. The player who steals does not forfeit their rightful turn and will also draw their own letter after successfully playing the stolen one. Create a separate discard pile for any passed, un-played tiles.

If you are using Scrabble pieces or the printable tiles we provided, the score value of each letter is indicated by a number at the bottom of the tile. If using Bananagrams, refer to our printable PDF for values of each letter (or agree to make it easy and just award one point for each tile). These points are awarded for each tile successfully played by a player.

Total up all the points (refer to the scoring notes above). The player with the most points gives them all to the other player, and that player wins the game … because they have the kindest partner!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant ...

– 1 Corinthians 13:4

Part 2: Cook Something Together

This meal is a perfect mix of hearty and healthy for your post-holiday mood. The recipe will serve four, so you’ll have leftovers. Or, cut in half for just the two of you.

Chicken Kale Risotto
Total prep and cook time: 1 hour

This recipe was adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’ Risotto with Bacon and Kale recipe. Follow the link for a video demonstration.

– 1 half sheet pan

– 1 medium-sized Dutch oven (or another oven-proof pot or pan with a lid)

– 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

– 1 carrot, chopped (can substitute butternut squash or sweet potato)

– 1 parsnip, chopped (or substitute for another carrot)

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

– 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

– 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

– 1 large onion, chopped

– 1 teaspoon kosher salt

– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 1 cup Arborio rice (Risotto)

– 3 cups low-salt chicken broth, plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup

– Juice of 1 large lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

– 3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

– 2 tablespoons chopped chives (can substitute scallion or green onion)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On top of the sheet pan, toss chicken breasts with the chopped carrots, parsnips, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and juices run clear, about 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. In the meantime, chop/prep your other ingredients. (Make sure your chicken has about 7 minutes or less left to cook before moving on.)
  5. Meanwhile, preheat your Dutch oven or other oven-proof pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Bump the oven temperature up to 425 degrees F.
  7. Add the rice to your pot and stir for about 2 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and 3 cups of the broth. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  8. Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice your chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside with the roasted veggies.
  9. Remove the pot from the oven and return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Carefully remove the hot lid and stir in the chicken and roasted vegetables (with any juices/oils from the baking pan) along with the kale and remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth. Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the risotto is creamy.
  10. Finally, stir in the chives. Then ladle into bowls and serve!

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

Here are some questions to provoke some conversation around the topic of grace.

  1. Describe your perfect Saturday morning.
  2. What small, mundane moments do you think have had a big impact on our relationship?
  3. When it comes to our relationship, where do you find yourself spending time, money and emotional energy?
  4. What does your answer to the above say about what you revere? (Is it your significant other, yourself, God?)
  5. What is keeping us from showing more kindness to each other?

Post-Dinner

Intentional

Prayer

When you spend most of your time, money and emotions on something, you end up revering it above other things. Another word for this is “worship.” When we turn our worship to things other than God, what inevitably happens is we begin to believe that we are the deity of our own lives; deciding and controlling what we worship. (Worshipping ourselves and our own preferences — the things we are told will make us happy.) This self-focused side-effect impacts our relationship with our partner. It impacts the kindness we are supposed to be giving to each other, as outlined in Ephesians 4:32 (“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”) Kindness requires generosity. But relying on that simple definition will mislead us if our generosity (worshipping with our time, money and emotions) isn’t first absolutely centered on God.

Take turns talking out loud to God about each of the following:

  • Spend some time talking to God about what you are worshipping. Admit it out loud to God, in front of your partner. Talk about where you spend your time, your money and where your emotions are tied up most.
  • Ask God to start changing your heart to focus more on Him.
  • As a result of focusing more on God, He helps us prioritize other important relationships. Ask God to help you focus more on your partner this year.
  • Name your family members out loud and ask for God to help you invest well in them as well.
  • Finally, ask for God’s help in determining your focus on other priorities. (Your home, your job, church family, and other hobbies and interests.)


Close your prayer time thanking God for everything you have and all of the opportunities in front of you. Then give your sweetie a big squeeze!

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.

TAKE ANOTHER STEP TOWARD WISDOM

Relational Wisdom is an eight-session class designed to teach you how to improve your ability to develop authentic, enjoyable, productive and lasting relationships. Discern emotions, interests and abilities in yourself and others and use this insight to manage your responses and relationships successfully. Take it for free today!

Need some help?

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