If you’re like my husband and me, you likely can’t remember the last time you had a “date night.” You know, one of those nights where you get a sitter, get dressed up, and eat dinner in silence? We are just in a season of life right now that is consumed with work, cleaning endless messes, and keeping two small children alive, that some nights we barely make it until 8:30 pm before we are both snoring on opposite ends of the couch. This leaves very little time for “us.” Making sure our children are happy, healthy, and fed can sometimes take up all the space in our brains, that before we know it, months have passed since we’ve really had time to connect. I’ve learned over the last decade, that dating your spouse long into your marriage is key to keeping you both connected, in love, and sane.
The transition from one to two children was tough on my husband and I’s relationship. Learning to balance the needs of our active preschooler and our newborn was exhausting. We rarely had time for one another, because we were always splitting a child care task, which took us to sometimes, opposite ends of the house. When we had the rare moments of energy to schedule a date night, it turned out that it’s much harder to find a sitter for two kids! This meant, we had to be creative in spending time together, at home. Over the last 4 years, my husband and I have tried to make it a point to have one night a week that we have a “date night.” This is a scheduled time that we set aside after the kids have gone to bed, to just relax and be together. I’m going to share some of my favorite activities that are mostly free, easy to implement, and lead to a lot of fun!
Dinner & a Movie: This is by far the easiest and most classic date night activity. There is a lot of room here to be creative and have fun. Usually, we pick a movie we haven’t seen from Red Box or cruise the DVD collection in the closet. Some nights we make grown-up food that our kids would never eat, and other nights we order in. I’ll usually bring a few pillows and blankets to the couch, light a couple of candles, and turn down the lights. Nothing beats watching a movie, in your PJ’s, and snuggled up on the couch ( you can’t do this in a movie theater!) You can make it extra fun by taking turns picking horrible B- list movies. Come up with a movie bucket list, and check one off each week/month; Watch a foreign film or a documentary; the options are limitless!
Game Night: If your husband or wife is a game nerd, this might be a great idea for you! We collect board and card games at our house and love to play with our friends, so naturally, this is an easy and frequently fun thing we like to do together. My husband really loves to play video games as well, so we will often play two player games like Mario Kart, Lego, etc. Usually, the night dissolves into laughter, as we both become competitive and tease one another.
Put together a Puzzle: Early on in our marriage, my husband and I would often pick a really challenging puzzle, and work on it together. I usually pop some popcorn, open a couple of beers, and turn on some fun music. This activity is relaxing and a great opportunity for us to just talk without pressure.
Cook a meal together: This is my favorite date night activity and another one where you can have a lot of creativity. I love to cook, and so does my husband. We also both love to eat, so naturally, it’s a match made in heaven! We usually plan a menu put together ahead of time, put the kids to bed, turn on some music, open a bottle of wine, and just dance and cook. Doing something together that feeds both of our souls really helps us to stay connected.
Make-out: Yep. I said it, and I mean it! Nothing makes you feel closer to your partner than some good ole fashion kissing! I’m talking putting on some music, turning the lights down, and just sitting on the couch and kissing; you know, like when you first started dating. Hold each other and talk about something that’s on your mind, or, don’t talk at all. Don’t forget the fun and excitement of those early days together.
Daily Devotional/Marriage Challenge: Now, this isn’t a “date night,” per se, but this is another creative way to build connection into your daily routine with your spouse. I have a couple of favorites that are easy, inexpensive, yet really foster togetherness. “31 Creative ways to Love & encourage Him/Her,” can be purchased here or “The Love Dare,” here
If none of these ideas appeal to you, or if you struggle with being creative, don’t worry! There are people out there who have done the work for you! You can subscribe to a monthly Date Night Box and have fun date-night-in activities shipped right to your doorstep!