In our current season of raising young children, my husband and I have accepted that for the time being date nights may not look like they used to. Daily fatigue, along with the constraints of bedtimes, a tight budget and the availability of trusted sitters, are all factors to be overcome if we wish to successfully leave the house for a night on the town. Pursuing anything even vaguely resembling a date these days, calls for creativity and flexibility in how and when to make it happen.
We like to think that we are perfecting the art of “dating in.” Though the location remains the same, after the children go to bed the time is ours to do with what we want. Just because we can’t make it out the door doesn’t mean we have to give up on making the effort to invest in us. Whether it involves decadence or simplicity doesn’t really matter, as long as we have made some effort to be better connected in the end. We are becoming quite fond of our intentional dates at home and, on occasion, may even choose to invite another couple over for a “double date.”
Some sample “dating in’ options:
1. Throw in a movie, curl up on the couch and eat some popcorn
2. Plan a gourmet meal to cook together, enjoying a bottle of wine even!
3. Play a board game
4. Create something together for your home, your children, or your friends
Each season can bring about new ideas for pursuing time together as a couple. Now that our children are just reaching school age, we have adjusted from only in-home evening dates to also consider breakfast or lunch outings. Without the need for finding babysitters and the flexibility afforded by our work schedules, a whole new world of options has since opened for us. Date costs have also become much more affordable as we seek out lunch deals at our favorite spots and use coupons.
These evolving “day dates” have become a real highlight and have brought with them a whole host of new and refreshing experiences. Instead of the common overpriced dinner date, with a late night movie or concert after, we have pursued new options that have felt just as, if not more, engaging. Thinking out of the “date box” has stirred up a new eagerness even for a marriage that is now working itself into its teens. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, just thoughtfulness and a bit of creativity to seek out the opportunities we do have within the season we find ourselves now.
Some sample “day dates”:
1. Head to a local festival
2. Ride a bike, or go for a walk at a local park
3. Have a breakfast date, at home or out
4. Head to a museum
5. See a matinee movie
In the end, the goal is to enjoy dating your spouse without breaking the bank!
Looking for more tips to freshen up your marriage? Check out Keeping a Marriage Strong When Hardship Strikes.