I bet some of you are thinking to yourself, “When do I have time to go on a date with my honey?”    One thing that I learned from my divorce is that you have to make your relationship with your husband/significant other a top priority.  Your relationship is like a car.  If you don’t take care of it, it will not last.    It will break down and you will have a hoopty.  You don’t want to wake up next to a hoopty.  You want to wake up next to a paid off car that still looks brand new and drives like a Porshe.  People, get your calendars out right now and start planning!!!!!

 
When I met my husband Brad, we both were coming from divorced relationships with two kids.  Early on, we decided that we were going to make our relationship a top priority and  that we would make sure that we had at least one date night a week.  We decided that we would take turns planning the date nights.  I will admit that in the beginning, the dates were pretty special with lots of planning involved.  Brad and I have been together for about seven years and married for four years.  I am proud to say that we are still planning fun date nights and try to go at least once a week.


This picture is not of us but in my head, this is what we look like when we are having our next adventure. 

 
Tips:

 
  • The dates do not have to be fancy or expensive.  The main thing you want to make sure is that you are spending quality, uninterrupted time with your honey and that you are having fun. 
  • Make sure that you are doing date night consistently.  Make it a priority and only cancel for very important reasons. 
  • Be positive. Make a rule that you are not going to talk about negative things on your date night (ex: ex spouses, unruly teenagers, etc)
  • Swap: If you can’t afford to hire a babysitter, see if you can swap babysitting services with a friend.
  • Do bi-monthly: If you can’t afford a babysitter every week or don’t have a friend you can swap with every week, do two date nights at home a month and two away. 
  • Take turns being in charge of date night.  Rotate weeks with your significant other. 
  • Ask questions: When you begin to plan your date night, ask you significant other what are some things that he or she thinks would be fun.
  • Do a date afternoon if a night option is not available. 
  • Make a bet: If you are doing an activity, (bowling, miniature golfing, etc) make a fun wager (ex:  The loser has to clean the winner’s car or the loser has to change the baby’s diapers for a week..ha ha). 
  • Schedule your date night like an appointment and put it on your calendar (we use a shared family calendar on our iphones).  Take time to plan it so that you are not just throwing things together at the last minute.
Here are some of the date nights that Brad and I have done together. 
 

At home date nights:


·      If you have small kids, feed them early and put them in bed no later than 8 PM.  Have them watch a movie at 7 PM if this is possible.
·       Dinner:  Plan a meal and have a cooking/dinner date.  Brad and I would do these about once a month when we started dating.  Brad would show up at my townhouse with ingredients to a nice meal that he had researched.  We would share a bottle of wine while he cooked and we talked.  After dinner, we would go on my deck and just talk about different things.  I must say that Brad is a saint because in the beginning the conversation would turn to divorce and I would always end up crying.  (I know, I violated my own rules).
·       Play a game:  There are lots of fun games that two people can play.  (Scrabble, Rumikub, Dominoes, Battleship, Yahtzee)
·       Rent a movie:  The only thing that I don’t like about this one is that you don’t get a chance to talk.  This is great, though, for times where there is a movie that both of you are dying to see.
·       Do a beer tasting:  Order a pizza to go with your beer tasting.  Several of the grocery stores now allow you to choose individual bottles of beer if you buy them in a six pack.  Choose a variety of beers that you have never tasted and rate them. 

 

Away from home dates:
·       Bowling
·       Miniature Golf
·       Go-Kart Riding
·       Wine tasting class
·       Sushi making class (I found a Groupon for this one)
·       Dinner and darts at a pub (We used to love going to the Richmond Arms in Houston but they closed it down!)
·       Game (Astros, Texans, Rockets)
·       Restaurant crawl:  Start at a restaurant for an appetizer.  Go to another place for dinner. Go to a third place for dessert.  You could go to any area that has a town center to do this.  Ex: City Center in Houston (Yard House for an appetizer, Brio for dinner, and Sweet for dessert)
·       Go on a picnic in the park
·       Go to a local brewery (Houston has tons of breweries in the area that give tours).  St.Arnolds does a great tour on Saturday afternoons.
·       Paint pottery
·       Ride bikes
·       Go to a new restaurant that you have wanted to try or find a new one.
·       Do a weekend staycation.  Brad and I love bidding on priceline last minute for hotel rooms and getting great deals for nice hotels.  We have pricelined a room for Friday night in downtown Houston and done the downtown scene and we have also pricelined a weekend hotel stay in Houston where we spent most of the weekend relaxing at the hotel. 

 There are a million excuses why you and your significant others cannot plan a date night.  Stop making excuses and just start this ritual.  Even if you cannot do once a week, start off with two times a month.  You will never regret putting the effort into your relationship.  Even if you are tired and the last thing you want to do is go out, make yourself go.  Remember to not cancel your date night unless something serious has come up. 



Tell me your fun date ideas!


Links for fun ideas:
http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/advice/100-date-ideas#slide-2
http://ideas.thenest.com/love-and-sex-advice/anniversaries-dating-ideas/slideshows/at-home-date-night-ideas.aspx
http://www.imperfecthomemaker.com/2014/01/25-stay-home-date-night-ideas.html
http://www.wifemomsuperwoman.com/2012/10/01/30-non-cheesy-date-night-ideas/

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