Romance used to be important to your marriage. It might have even been a pillar at one time. Your husband used to think of you at the gas station on the way home from work and bought you flowers. You remember watching the clock to see if he’d be home soon. Foot rubs were a regular thing between you.
Remember when you first got married and you were so excited about your Friday night date nights? After a while you started skipping them here and there in leu of other activities (the game, the party, etc.), but it was still good to know that you could always suggest a night out and you’re only thought had to be which restaurant you would hit.
Then came the children… And the grocery bill, the diaper stockpile, the school supplies. It all added up fast and now instead of calculating how many drinks you should have, you’re calculating the cost of a baby sitter, the restaurant price range, a gallon of gas also went up again. In the end, even before you suggest going out to your husband you’ve already decided against it. Maybe some other time, like when our children go to college.
My husband and I adore staying in, but sometimes we really like to make things special just because. Marriage is like a pet – you have to feed it to keep it alive. While that may not be a very romantic analogy, when you put it into practice things can heat up pretty quick. I can’t stress how much a good date boosts my resolve to be a better wife, a better companion for my husband. Especially when it’s his idea to go out!
Except for the baby sitter, which can be easily resolved if grandma lives nearby, I have compiled the ultimate list of actually fun date ideas that won’t break the bank. You can keep this list somewhere where both you and your husband will be reminded that dating can be fun, relaxing and economical all at once. Pick one and rekindle the romance.
The Top Ten
The all-time classic candlelit dinner at home. Spit shine the dining room table, toss a linen and a couple of candlesticks on there. Serve the food (even if it’s take out) on fancy plates and remember the best part is enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes all you need is a good setup for conversation and you have yourself a quality date.
Catch a Flick
Watch a movie on Netflix at home. This can be risky if you opt for a series instead, beware of the urge to binge and then it’s not so much about bonding with your husband anymore. Focus on hand-holding, work on the perfect couch-cuddle and add your own commentary that can turn into special inside jokes.
Go on a picnic, and do it right. Go to a real park, bring a blanket and pack a basket of goodies. Bring a frisbee because a little physical activity with your honey keeps you both in shape for whatever might comes after sandwiches. Wink wink*
A Walk in the Woods
Go for a hike together. This might be my personal favorite especially long distance trails if you are looking for a weekend getaway. The air, the woods, the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!), the views. It is amazing, but we all remember what it was to experience amazing when we were single, it was a total drag. Now you have your someone to share it with, don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
Absorb Culture Together
Go to an art gallery or museum. If your husband rolls his eyes at this one, give up. While my husband says he likes museums, if you saw him in one you would never guess. He appreciates art and culture at speeds the Stanley Cup could appreciate. He enjoys a quick once-through and likes indulging my love for art museums. The nicest part is many museums have a particular day that you can get in for free.
A Little Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The ever faithful movie in the park is a trusty Summer activity. Check your local area’s community calendar of events and you’re sure to find a decent movie in the park. Heads up, you won’t find a showing of Fast and the Furious, usually they show old classics for an even more romantic feel. Bring a blanket, snacks and mosquito repellent!
Bowling, Dancing and Golfing
Fire up the Wii/Xbox Kinect or any other interactive video game that allows you to get up off your feet and dance, play sports or go water rafting. For the lazier types there is always a good thumb exercise waiting for you at the end of any good war game. My husband and I do love a good shoot out once in a while.
Catch a Live One
If you’re more of a go out and play couple, go fishing together! There is something about fishing together, it is primitive yet especially intimate. And amazing conversations can be had at the end of a dock. No need to rent a boat, but do make sure you have your fishing license if your state requires it!
Hit a Bullseye
One really fabulous option is to hit the target range. I have always wanted to be a femme-fatal ninja spy with impeccable aim. Let your imagination come alive as you woo your husband with the suggestion and get your first bullseye.
Literally free, except for gas, open houses are a blast especially during Parade of Homes season. Get inspired and imagine living in the million-dollar homes with a Jacuzzi in the basement. This is not an exercise in envy, rather a chance for you to awaken your married-couple imagination. Be incredibly happy with what you already have, but for fun play the game “What would this room be for if we lived here?”
Call grandma to come and hang out with the kids while you two get out there and make some memories. Try to do something with your man at least once a month, because after all when the kids are gone he’ll be your only company. Build your friendship by doing lots of activities without the kids. Every day you get to know him more, and I promise there is always something more to discover!