Since my husband and I have only been married three years, there are few long-running traditions in our house yet, with this fabulous monthly exception. I look forward to the 14th of every month. It’s like a breath of fresh air, and a unique change of pace during an otherwise normal week or month.

I leave little reminders on the fridge or on bathroom mirrors to remind us to plan for FTN.

I leave little notes on the fridge or on the bathroom mirror to remind us to plan.

Allow me to introduce you to one of our favorite in-home date experiences. We call it Finer Things Night.

The name derives from the exclusive group of coworkers in the show, The Office, who call themselves The Finer Things Club and meet once a month to discuss books, listen to classical music, enjoy fine food, and appreciate culture “in a very civilized way.” As they say in the show, “There is no paper, no plastic, and no work talk allowed.”

So the hubby and I hijacked the sitcom’s infamous club name, but the desire to start Finer Things Night, and the date of the month we chose to schedule it on, was an effort to celebrate our anniversary date every month of the year. Our anniversary being on April 14th, we wanted the 14th of every month to be a mini-celebration of our continued love and fidelity for one another and a chance to enjoy not only each other’s presence, but to soak in some of the finer things in life together, disconnecting from technology most of these finer evenings and embracing high culture “in a very civilized way.” We also just wanted an excuse to have a little extra fun on a random weeknight.

Some things I love about Finer Things Night:

  • They require intentionality on our part, but not a burdensome amount of
    A FTN menu and a little decor

    A FTN menu and a little decor

    planning or execution. When we first started doing this, the hard part was remembering to plan something and then dividing responsibilities, but neither of those tasks were actually that difficult once we got the hang of it. I usually type up a “menu” for the night, which describes our meal for the evening (preferably something slightly fancier than we may normally eat on a week night) and the “finer” activity. I cook, set the table and the ambiance—like candles and flower petals (or flowers that Ray brings me), cloth napkins and wine glasses, for example—and

    We get a little fancier than usual on our FTN. (Picture: homemade chocolate raspberry cake…with a secretly healthy spin. Shh. Don’t tell my husband.)

    Ray plans and executes the activity. Neither of us spends more than a few hours planning (if that), but the small time investment is so worth it. We also try to get a little dressed up, even though we’re staying in.

  • Everyone can be involved. This is more of a family date night than a couple one, though it can be either. We love to engage our son in the activities, since we want him to appreciate culture anyway. Because he is the ultimate reminder of our love for one another, it makes sense that he’s an integral part of our evening festivities, too. Since he is only 14 months old now, his involvement is likely to grow as time goes on. Currently, he sometimes falls asleep before the activity starts.
  • It reminds us to celebrate our marriage every month. In the middle of hectic family life and work, we are forced to stop and think, “Gosh I am happy to be married to this man/woman,” and to spend a little extra time in thanksgiving for our marriage when we come to God in prayer that night.
  • We learn something new and interesting. From listening to and
    From classical music studies to tea tasting, FTN is full of culture and learning.

    From classical music studies to tea tasting, FTN is full of culture and learning.

    studying the history of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to learning the process for harvesting, brewing, and tasting tea, we always go to sleep that night with a sense of unexpected appreciation for whatever we have learned or experienced.

  • It’s fun. Sometimes, it just feels so good to break up the monotony of an ordinary evening with fancy food, good conversation, and a little class and culture.
  • It’s flexible. If Finer Things Night falls on a weekend night, we may go out to eat and do our activity out of the house. If it’s a Holy Day, Mass is our “finer
    FTN table setting...I even did a "bishop's hat" napkin fold (after almost giving up)!

    A FTN table setting. I even did a “bishop’s hat” cloth napkin fold (like I said, fancy!), pictured by an appetizer platter of spruced up prosciutto deviled eggs with sesame seeds.

    activity” (the finest activity, really).

I can’t say enough great things about our monthly Finer Things Night tradition. I hope it continues for a long, long time. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

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