04 Oct Ideas for Date Nights
Good strong marriages do not happen overnight. They are a result of on-going nourishment, investment and priority amidst the other demands of daily living. Wise couples understand this and are proactive in making it happen. Here are some of their ideas.
- When our kids were little and money was scarce, we would put them to bed and then have a date in our living room. We played board games, ate special dinners, read articles, or books, sometimes danced. It was always a fun time and we didn’t have to pay babysitters and the activities were always inexpensive…but big dividends.
- I am always on the look-out for landscaping/gardening ideas. Sometimes, my husband and I will drive to another part of town and take a walk through different neighborhoods and get ideas. It’s relaxing, fun and a great way to get some exercise. Sometimes, we’ll come across a little café to indulge in a treat, or even a convenience store where we can pick up an ice cream bar or a banana Popsicle (my husband’s favorite!)
- CDs (aka Cheap Dates) often our budget is pretty tight and we really can’t afford to spend a lot. So, we keep our eyes open for coupons: “2 can dine for $9.99” “Half-price dinner with the purchase of one full-priced dinner”, things like that. If we combine it with Cheap Tuesdays at the movies, it’s a really good deal.
- Eating a civilized dinner at home. When our children were much younger, we couldn’t always afford the babysitting costs. We would wait until after the children were in bed to have an intimate dinner for two. Sometimes, we would barbecue steaks and have a nice salad and enjoy a glass of wine. Other times, we would order in food. One memorable evening, I set up the coffee table in the family room, and we ate our Chinese food with chopsticks, sitting on cushions, background music setting the mood. A lot of fine restaurants are open to providing “take out” meals. Give your favorite restaurant a call.
- My husband and I enjoy walking in the evening. When our children were too young to be left alone for an hour, we were lucky enough to have a teenager living next door to us. We hired her to come from 8:30-9:30 three evenings a week, so that we could go out for a walk. It was a great investment! Once they were a little older (the oldest was 12, I think) we started leaving them alone (cell phone in our pocket) and we arranged our walk route so that we were always less than 10 minutes from home. This also worked well.
- Our children are all in school now, so I try to meet my husband for lunch at least once a month. There are several restaurants within close driving range. (Advantage: lunches are usually cheaper than dinners in restaurants) There is also a park not too far away, so sometimes I plan a picnic, with some of our favorite foods. In the summertime, I sometimes bring the kids with me, so it becomes a family picnic. Either way, it’s a nice break for my husband, away from the pressures of work.
- I would love it if my husband would agree to try ballroom dance lessons!!! It would be an evening out, and I think it would be a lot of fun. And, he is a pretty good dancer! I have yet to persuade him, though!
- For date nights my husband and I like to go canoeing in the summer. There is a local Marina where we can rent a canoe for $20 and go out as long as we would like to go. We also go to the Drive-in and bring our own snack. There is lots of time for talking and we can talk during the movie too. Sometimes we go to an ice cream place where you decide all sorts of things to add to your ice cream. Sometimes we just go for a walk in the woods.
- My husband and I have two small children and find it difficult to find a babysitter and get out. From time to time we do, but we find other ways to spend time together while we are at home. Someone once showed us a quilt and how it is made. We decided to buy the materials and make one for each of our children. Picking out the colors, determining the theme was a lot of fun. We took time in the evenings to work on a small patch whenever we could. The focus of a combined project, working with our hands, talking and spending useful time together was a real treat. We didn’t have a sewing machine and did it all by hand. Now two beautiful quilts hang in my children’s room that were made of love and with purpose by their parents.
- My husband and I also try to exercise together. It is hard to get motivated, but we both see the need to be in shape and keep ourselves in good form for family life and work. We exercise together two times a week for 20-30 minutes, doing stretches and exercises on the living room floor and using an exercise ball. Over time it has really helped us to get in shape and share a common interest. …it’s good quantity time which changes to quality time very easily . We also own bikes and enjoy a bike ride with or without the children. Having small children and few babysitters, we find it good to do things together in our home.
- Our children – 4 girls and 2 boys — are aged 13, 12, 9, 7, 3 and 3 months. We once went to a busy restaurant where the staff wasn’t able to give us a table for 8 so we seated the four older kids together at one end of the restaurant and we took the two youngest with us at the other end. The older kids had a blast and really enjoyed all the weird looks they got. From the parent’s perspective, being able to ignore their minor table misdemeanors was very relaxing. Your mileage may vary depending on the age/gender of your children. But if you are reasonably certain that the unsupervised meal won’t result in a food fight or in a major nuisance for the other patrons, I highly recommend it as a date substitute.
We actually don’t ‘go out’ very much. We do:
- enjoy the lake near our property, evening swim together — so nice and quiet.
- just being alone together where we like to be is often enough
- reading the same book (which doesn’t actually happen all that often although I try)
- visiting neighbors together, quietly visiting, on the porch
- working around the house as a team (outdoor projects like the garden, the animals)
- partner massage (I mean the real thing – learning to do it well)
- partner yoga (my dream – but it’s getting closer!) So good for your mind, spirit, and aging body!!
- For a date night, a friend I know has a husband who loves to race cars. Anyway, one time he took her in his sports car and drove to a resort one hour away for dinner at a fancy hotel and then drove home again. It was cool because he kept it a big surprise from her. She just thought they were going for a drive. I know the sports car part may be hard to copy!! I was thinking more of the element of surprise!!
- I would once a year go with my husband to a NHL game by bus either in our city or out of town. Even though I wasn’t a great hockey fan this was one outing that he really enjoyed and loved the idea of me coming with him. We would buy hot dogs and drinks and cheer on our favorite team. On the way home we would leave the game just before the game finished so we could find a good seat on the bus and cuddled till we reached our stop.
- We also enjoyed the museums or art gallery….. We didn’t have to rush through them because there were no kiddies pulling us along.
- Dinner out in a nice restaurant for drinks and a meal and then go for a stroll to enjoy the great outdoors.
- Since we live near water, a boat ride at night is wonderful.
- We will also bike along the bicycle path and stop for a picnic or for an ice cream cone.
– We like to attend one of the summer musical festivals.
- We started walking every night when our daughter was old enough to be responsible for the other two children. We have walked 2 1/2 miles nearly every day since then. No matter if there is rain, sleet or snow, we have been faithful to our walk and talk. It is a special time for us being together.
- My husband and I joined ballroom dancing. We know other couples that talk in the hot tub under the stars, golf or do sports together. My best get away with hubby was touring wine regions not too far from home!
- We enjoy getting out to the Art Gallery and Music concerts a few times a year. I try to look for 2 for 1 dinner offers in the coupon packages that come in the mail sometimes. We like to go out for dinner and then concert/gallery.
- We also do a dinner/bike ride combo at least twice a year in the warm weather. We go out for dinner near my husband’s office- skip the wine, and then go for a bike ride with a stop for coffee and dessert along the way. We plan a circular route and get back to the car by dark. We’ve also done evening picnics to try out some new park or spot in the city.
- We also try to have a get away once a year. Usually just one night away. If finances are good, we eat out. If not, I pack the first night’s meal — along with wine, crackers and cheese, as well as bagels for the morning – and then pay for one meal the next day. It does take a bit of work and planning, and some money. We will do this in our own city, and even drive up to two hours to enjoy another city. Hotels don’t have to be expensive, especially if you are staying on the outskirts.
- My husband enjoy going to shoot pool together and have a drink. It’s a great way to relax. We also enjoy getting away to another city for the day. We don’t do this often, but see when relatives can take the kids for the day. We leave early in the morning and get back in time to tuck the kids into bed. Everyone enjoys the day and we come back refreshed.
- As much as possible, I try to accompany my husband on his business trips (usually once a year). We save air miles to cover the cost of my flight and manage to eat within the budget my husband is allotted for his daily expenses, except for one expensive dinner the last night we are there. When the kids were little, we had them stay with various relatives and friends, even if it meant splitting them up. They enjoyed the change of scenery, being with other kids and playing with their toys. Nursing babies came with me of course. Now that I have older kids to take care of the younger ones, they just manage the house without us. We leave food in the freezer, post a daily schedule on the kitchen cupboards and provide special treats to make the evenings great (movies, munchies, computer games etc.) Our time away really bonds my marriage and it also gives the older kids experience in running a household. We contact them daily and they have handled their freedom responsibly. It certainly builds character!
- With kids and a tight budget, we don’t get around to as many cultural and sporting events as we used to, but we still find ways to factor them in from time to time. My husband enjoys classical guitar and usually we can catch a touring concert annually. The odd time we’ll go to a ballet, opera or symphony. I love theater and we’ll make an effort to see a show on stage, whether at a great price when we can afford it, or even a high school production more often. We also enjoy watching live sports events, sometimes in a stadium, other times in the local playing field. We use these events to combine good “me” time and “couple” time.
- With very small kids and not knowing anyone to babysit, I find it hard to get out for a date night with my husband. Hopefully it will come in time. What we did was agree that there would be no TV or computers for anyone while the kids were awake. We found they had gobbled up a lot of our evenings. We both decided to go out every evening with the kids for a walk. We sometimes go to the playground, other times the baseball diamond, the soccer field or wherever. We sit, watch, talk, play with the kids and share our day. When we’re ambitious, we’ll even pack a simple picnic on the weekend to bypass cooking at home. It’s so nice to hold hands and get emotionally connected, especially after my long day with the kids at home. For now it meets our needs and helps us get some quality time together.