Think dating has to end once you get that ring on your finger? Wrong! Keeping the romance alive is key to a long and lasting marriage. Even though you’ve already won your spouse’s heart, that doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing them and making them fall in love with you over and over again.
Before my husband and I tied the knot thirteen years ago, I remember hearing how important it is to continue dating each other. However, somewhere along the way, complacency and life crept in, and we assumed that since we were making this whole marriage thing “work“, we didn’t need to date each other anymore. (Boy, were we wrong.) We allowed our romance to take a backseat to the bills, tending to the house, and you guessed it, kids. Sound familiar? We went long stretches without romancing each other, and our relationship slowly began to deteriorate. To put it bluntly, our marriage was hanging together by a thread, and we found ourselves at a crossroad that no couple wants to find themselves in.
All that changed a few years ago when we both realized that something had to give, so we made the conscious decision to make our marriage a priority again. In order to reignite that flame and just reconnect with each other, we implemented a weekly date night. Having that one-on-one time away from the hassles of daily life and the kids really feels like a mini vacation. It’s something that we both look forward to after a long week of #Adulting. Most importantly, the hubs and I are more in love than ever.
It’s easy for date nights to fall by the wayside once children come along and you get into the rut of the mundane day-to-day routine, but just because you may be busy raising a family shouldn’t mean you bid farewell to date nights. You see, regular date nights are a great reminder of where it all began, and they are necessary to keep your marriage strong and healthy – they create shared experiences, build intimacy, all the while opening up communication. Going on date nights with your spouse is also a really good way for them to see the best version of you and to get your #SexyBack. And, as an added bonus, your children will get to witness a great example of a true love story, while you send them a powerful message about the importance of putting effort into our relationships.
Dating is so much more than wining and dining each other – it’s about time, sharing memories, and just rediscovering one another. In life, we make time for what we value, so scraping out a date night with your partner once in a blue moon just won’t cut it. I don’t care what anyone says, your marriage is more important than anything else. Yes, I know how much you both love your kiddos, but sometimes you gotta take a time-out, let loose and have fun together – which in the end, will actually make you better parents. So, put your hubby or wifey – and your date night – on the top of your list. Healthy, loving relationships take time and energy, and I cannot stress this enough – if you want your marriage to make it over the long haul, it requires W-O-R-K. And remember, your kids are counting on you. And if you don’t have kids, then you’re both counting on each other. Here’s a friendly reminder that happily ever after is not a fairy tale – it’s a choice…
A date night (whether it be at home or a romantic rendezvous out on the town) doesn’t have to be super long; one or two hours of togetherness is all it takes to get that recharge – even if you just go for a short walk, hand-in-hand, to catch the breeze, sans the kids. Date nights don’t always need to be on the same night, but try your best to pencil in one day each week on your calendars for one another. If you don’t make the time to be together, you won’t find it. Quick tip: When you finally get that uninterrupted time together, try your best to talk about anything other than family business, the kids and work. Otherwise, it’s not a date night – it’s a meeting.
Dating is so much more than wining and dining each other – it’s about time, sharing memories, and just rediscovering one another.
Spending quality time together doesn’t have to be extravagant to make an impact – small and simple activities will do the trick. (Never allow date night to add financial stress.) If money is tight, and you don’t have the funds for a sitter and a date, consider swapping childcare with friends or even beg the grandparents to help out. A common misconception is that quality romance has to be over-the-top. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, a dinner and a movie can be the perfect date. But, sometimes you just have to do better than that. There are tons of creative and affordable ways to enjoy each other’s company while having fun and strengthening your union along the way. (Pinterest has plenty of boards for inspiration, so there’s no excuse.) Sometimes the dates that are the most memorable are the ones that don’t cost a thing or cost very little. Just be willing to try something new. If you happen to have very different interests, try taking turns selecting the activities for your date nights.
Below are 10 ideas that go beyond the usual dinner and a movie date night, because let’s face it, doing the same thing over and over can become monotonous. I’ve also included some at-home date night ideas for once the kids have been tucked in for the night, or if the sitter is nowhere to be found and you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.
1. Order take-out and camp-out with a tent in your backyard.
Take the baby monitor outside and light a fire in the fire pit as you enjoy your favorite take-out meal. For dessert, have fun roasting s’mores and then tell spooky ghost stories. To end your perfect evening together, lay down a blanket and gaze up at the stars – I know stargazing is a bit cliché, but you can’t deny that it is completely romantic.
2. Recreate your first date
Now, this one requires a little more planning, but it’s a great way to trigger memories of the good old days before the mundane-ness of real life kicked in. This special date will definitely bring you back to the glory of your yesteryear!
3. Play tourist in your own city
Despite how long you’ve lived in your town, there are likely things on your tourist bucket list that you have yet to check off. Explore all the best museums, the famous landmarks, and the best hot-spots your town has to offer. Before taking in all the sights, enjoy a nice brunch or find the best happy hours in the area and make the appetizers your meal.
4. Try something completely out of your comfort zones
Doing activities that you’ve never done before will provide you with new experiences that will help to strengthen your bond. Get your hands messy during a pottery class or get your groove on at a ballroom dancing or salsa class. The more adventurous and unique, the better. So, if you guys are adventure seekers, go skydiving together. Take advantage of coupon sites to score deals on things you wouldn’t typically do – Groupon is a good place to find unique dates that won’t break the bank. The sky’s the limit!
5. Game night
Shut down all the distracting electronics and bust out Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Yahtzee, Sorry or other faves, and have a game night! To add to the fun, order a pizza or prepare a special
aphrodisiac snack to share. Not only do board games keep the brain sharp, they keep the communication flowing. And there’s nothing like a little friendly competition to heat things up (especially if Twister is involved). 😉
6. Be active together
Research shows that couples who sweat together, stay together. So, sign up for a free trial class such as a spin class, a rowing class, or a boxing class and get the endorphins flowing. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, try a yoga or Pilates class together. (Most places have deals for first time customers, so take advantage of these offers.) Afterward, share a healthy smoothie together with a cherry on top.
7. Go on overnight dates
Rent a room and act like you’re out of town (a change of scenery can do wonders for your relationship). Throw a slumber party for two – late night chats, pillow fights, and all. You can even ask your man to paint your toe nails. If you’re ballers, splurge on that room service and a couple’s massage. (Ain’t nothing wrong with a little self-care.) And while that “Do not Disturb” sign is still up, be sure to enjoy some breakfast in bed before you have to go back to the little munchkins.
8. Add some flavor and become cook off champions
Hit up the local farmer’s market and see what sort of fresh dinner you can cook up together. Or you can pretend that you’re on one of those food competition shows and have a cook-off. The winner doesn’t have to do the dishes! (Ask the neighbor to be the judge.)
9. See live music or rock out at a concert
Spending the evening listening to music is easily one of the most lively dates out there. If you’re into the music of the past, there are tons of musical groups that are still alive and kicking today that will help bring the warm and fuzzies back into your relationship. You don’t have to splurge on big-time concert tickets – check out the amazing homegrown talent in your area, and enjoy the good beats at a small, intimate venue rather than at some giant arena.
10. Relive your youth and act like two teenagers in love
The goal is to do fun things together like you used to do before you started making babies. Research shows that couples who engage in youthful and fun activities together enjoy deeper intimacy. So, why not heed this advice and go to an amusement park or carnival one night? You can win each other stuffed animals and hold on tight to each other on the scary rides. Be affectionate – hold hands, feed each other cotton candy, and steal kisses inside a carnival photo booth. If you’re feeling really rebellious, make out at the top of the Ferris wheel and stay out past your curfew.
These all sound pretty awesome, right? (You two lovebirds can thank me in the morning). This is merely a small list in an endless amount of ideas for enjoying a date night. Obviously, you’ll have to hire a sitter at some point. So, when you do, make it payoff. Whatever you and your “better half” decide to do for your special night out, just be sure to take every opportunity that you possibly can to make each other feel loved and appreciated. And remember, always act like you’re trying to get that second date!
Oh, and if you are reading this and you’re not currently in a committed relationship, but know someone who is, help a sister (or brother) out and offer to take the kids off their hands for a night, so they can actually enjoy a good quality date night. And if you’re feeling really generous, hook them up with a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
Now, let the dating commence. 🤘🏾