One of Shae’s love languages is quality time. She loves it when I take her on a thoughtful date. Before we were married I loved to and regularly planned special dates, planted surprise notes & gifts. Unfortunately this creativity and intentionality has faded over the years. Can anyone else relate?
Dates we have done lately lack creativity and are getting a bit redundant. While we enjoy our time together our dates have fallen into a rut. Just like so many other things in life it’s tough to be creative & thoughtful in the moment so we default to a meal out, a movie or a trip to the bookstore.
Date night needed more than just a regularly scheduled time but an intentional plan. Here is how I have added some intentionality to our date nights.
PUT IN ON THE SCHEDULE
The first step is to actually make time for date nights. It’s been WAY too long since we actually had date night on the weekly schedule. Look over the calendar and block-out a time each week and commit to making it happen.
Have kids? Childcare can be a crux for date night. Finding someone you trust and that is available during your scheduled date can be a challenge. Even if you can find someone maybe the budget doesn’t agree. Here are some low cost / free solutions for date night child care that we have used:
We only have Grandma around for a portion of the year but when we do it’s a win/win. Grandma gets time with the kids and we get time away.
Trade with a Friend
Swapping childcare with friends is a great free solution. You watch their kids one evening then they watch yours. We have a group of friends that have made a sort of date night coop. Their are four families involved so they each have one night of watching kids per month.
When Paisley was younger (and an only child) there were swoons of older ladies at church that would offer to watch her. For a few date nights we took a few select ladies up on their offers.
Date Night In
If you can’t get a babysitter and none of the above are options then a date night in is the next best thing. The point of date night is quality time and with a little thoughtfulness this can certainly happen under your roof while the kiddos are in bed.
DATE NIGHT FORMULA
Here is a basic formula I use when planning dates:
FOOD – Main Course or Dessert
Date night does not necessarily need to have a large budget – although there are some sweet things you can do with a little coin! Right now we are choosing to do other things with the funds we have so date nights need to be low cost or free. We are currently budgeting only $20 per month for date night.
DATE NIGHT QUESTIONS
To keep conversation interesting and fun I often use this date night conversation list. It’s simple fun questions that can spark some interesting discussion. My baby sister put together this list. You can download it here: Date Night Questions.
BULK PLAN DATES
It can take some time to get the creativity juices flowing so I try and plan dates in bulk. This really helps in the moment. When date night rolls around instead of, “Oh crap it’s date night – what are we going to do!” you have a thoughtful plan.
13 – DATE NIGHT IN IDEAS
Home Themed Meals + Dessert
Give Each-other a Massage
Home Dance Lessons via Youtube
Star Gaze in the Backyard or Maybe on your Roof
Watch a bunch of episodes of your favorite TV show in a row
Two Player Games
roast marshmallows over your fire pit — or your stove
Cook Together – Try New Recipes, Bake Delicious Treats ake and decorate cookies together
Play frisbee golf in the back yard with laundry baskets as the “holes”
Do a home improvement project together
Research your family histories together online; make a family tree for your kids
Play H-O-R-S-E with a small ball and trash can
Slackline in the backyard
12 – LOW COST DATE NIGHT OUT IDEAS
Romantic Walk: Beach, by Water, Woods or Park
Picnic (This is great coupled with Romantic Walk)
Community Classes or Events (Often there are free or low cost options)
Arcade Games (We’ve been to Chucky Cheese – games are .25)
Outdoor Activity Like: Shooting Guns, Rock Climbing, Fishing
Watch Local High School Sporting Events Like Basketball or Football
Go to the Gym – Shoot Hoops Together, Swim or Sit in the Hot Tub
DATE NIGHT DISPLAY
If you want to take your date night planning to the next level you can make and store you planned dates on popsicle sticks in a jar. When it comes to date night simply draw a stick from the jar. You could even color code the sticks – one color for date night in and one for date night out.
The important aspects of your life need intentional time and planning. Make your marriage a priority! Take the time to schedule and plan date nights! What is the best low cost or free date you’ve been on? Comment below with your thoughts – I would love more ideas!