Sometimes the much-needed, and much-anticipated date nights just aren’t possible, out of the house. I will be the first to say that I really enjoy getting out for date-nights. But when something comes up to prevent a date out, there’s really no reason to throw in the towel and give up! After all, the point of dates with my hubbs aren’t getting out, but rather, spending some one on one time with him. Because things come up for us in family and married life- (you know, the toddler that comes down with a fever or the need for one of you to stay at the office later than usual) I decided to be prepped and ready for the common event that my Danny and I cannot have a weekly date-away. (I wrote recently about how I am learning the importance of prioritizing time away with my husband, [lightbox title=”LightboxTitle” url=”PageURL” width=”900″ height=”500″][/lightbox][lightbox title=”LightboxTitle” url=”PageURL” width=”900″ height=”500″][/lightbox]here.)
To make date-nights “in” work in a home with children, one has to be a little step ahead of the game. That might mean feeding the kids a little earlier than normal and making sure they are in bed at a pretty decent time. For us, that means getting our little ones settled in bed early and situating our older kids in bed at a decent time. Our big kids are old enough to watch the clock, and if they’re settled into bed at a reasonable time, we can give them a little reading or game time in their beds. They know that they need to cut out the lights in around 30 minutes. No biggie. Another idea is having a special movie treat planned for your big kids in their own room. Our kids don’t have T.V.’s in their own rooms, but it would be a piece of cake to set up a movie for them for a special occasion, just so we as parents could keep a weekly “get-away” on the calendar. It’s worth it.
So here you have it!
1) Ice Cream Sundaes, with the fixings!
Set up an ice cream sundae bar and make it special! Sit down at the table and discuss the day’s happenings! Sweet and simple!
2) Star Gazing and Hot Chocolate
This date would be nice to plan when there is supposed to be a meteor shower, but any clear night will do! Make up some hot chocolate if it’s cold and prepare a pallet in a clear spot in your lawn (the trampoline is also pretty super)! A starry sky seems to inspire some of life’s greatest discussions; maybe because it’s such a huge reminder of how small our struggles are in comparison to the vastness of universe and all it entails.
3) Order Mexican food in!
I love Mexican food, but enjoying it at my house at a quiet table, with only my husband…well that is pretty nice! This requires little prep other than ordering! Most Mexican restaurants include chips and salsa, along with the meal.
4) Movie Night!
Make it official! Rent a good movie or order an old classic one in advance and be prepared with popcorn and drinks.
5) Make a Memory Page together!
Some people aren’t into the idea of doing things that are intentionally “mushy.” Others are. As I was thinking through some ideas of what would be fun and long-lasting, this was one that stuck for me. I personally thought, “How cool would it be, if once or twice a year, Danny and I stopped and wrote down our present thoughts about our marriage and family?”
This would be a really cherished collection to have through the years to look back on. It could be easily guided with questions like:
*What am I learning about my husband or wife at this time?
*What am I seeing in my spouse that I have never seen before?
*What is my favorite memory with my husband/wife in the last few months?
*What do I want to be more intentional about in my marriage?
A current picture could be placed at the bottom of your combined memory page.The sky is the limit here, but I can see where in the years ahead we would really enjoy looking back and seeing the different highlights of our time together. So cheesy or not…this one is so happening!
6) Classic Candlelit Dinner
I think this is one that can’t be beat. Break out the music, the candles, and order in or even better- prepare a nice meal. Dress up and honor your spouse! I think the effort on this one speaks volumes in thankfulness, and we all need to sense the feeling that we are cherished by the one we love. ?
7) Make Corny Couples’ Shirts
Buy some plain t-shirts and t-shirt paint. Cheese it up!
“I LOVE MY WIFE” and “I LOVE MY HUSBAND” are good but use some creativity! You may never wear the shirts in public but you’ll surely have a good time making them, and remembering the night you convinced your spouse to paint a t-shirt with you! Ha!
Just stay away from the “I’m with stupid” genre, and you’ll be okay.
8) Barbecue and Bucket List
Order in some barbecue chicken and break out a notebook and calendar. Slate out some goals for your marriage. Where would you like to see yourselves in a year, in two years, and in ten years? This can be taken a number of directions from areas ranging from health, to travel, to finances. It will undoubtedly be a ton of fun and can also bring some clarity, but keep it positive. If finances are a hairy topic in your marriage, do not focus on past mistakes or areas that need changing for your spouse. Focus on where you’d both really like to see yourselves and how you can contribute to seeing your mutual goals achieved, not on what your spouse should be doing differently.
If you’d rather keep this on the lighter side, focus on things you’d like to see or trips you’d like to take together (Small and local or large and distant)! Have fun!
9) Games and Dessert
This is an easy and fun date-night that would be great to surprise your spouse with, almost on a whim. Pick up something yummy at a bakery or make something decadent and hide it from the kids. ? Break out a game of Jenga or Monopoly, or put a puzzle together. All of these things, while they might require stepping out of the box as a couple, will inspire laughter and fun conversation, which every marriage needs regularly!
10) Intentionally Remember
Get out the wedding album and the video. Purposefully remember your day together. How you felt, what you were looking forward to, what you were nervous about, and what your expectations were that day. Acknowledge how much you’ve (personally) changed and grown. Laugh at your color choices, crazy hair, funny guests, and video bloopers. It’s really good to see how far you’ve come and remember where you started.
If you’re like me, you’re starting to gear towards winding down about 8PM because of a day filled with a whole lot of busy. But making the extra effort to enjoy some quiet moments with your spouse will go such a long way in your marriage. Many of us would have easily checked off some things on this list as normal while we were newly-weds, but might kind of chuckle at the thought of being so intentional about together time, now. Why is that?
I don’t know about you, but it is one of my greatest hopes to one day be a gray-haired granny who still cherishes every minute I have with my gray-haired husband. As the years roll by, I want nothing more than for us to still be seeking ways to encourage, inspire, laugh, and love life together.
Anyone who is still madly in love at that age, probably didn’t just find themselves there. When the going got tough, they were there to lift one another up. When being silly together seemed laughable, when purposefully setting the stage for fun seemed embarrassing in all of their “adult maturity”- they went ahead and made the step to break the ice to show their spouse they sincerely loved and appreciated them.
We pamper and prioritize what is really valuable to us. We as humans gladly bend our time to see that the things we love are elevated. If our marriage is not one of the highest things on our priority list, we surely cannot expect it to grow and thrive, and we probably cannot expect it to stand the test of time, according to statistics.
I’m looking forward to checking off, and adding new ideas to my list of date nights in! What are your favorite date nights in? I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email or comment and let me know some of your personal faves. I might compile a list of recommended date nights in and include yours!