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How to have fantastic date nights … at home

MARRIED,READING
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4 fun ways to carve out some special time with your spouse, without going anywhere.

Between the demands of school, children, work, and laundry, making more time to connect with your husband or wife is always a challenge, but what if you moved date nights to the top of your to-do list this year?

I know what you’re thinking because I think it, too: It’s too snowy; It’s too expensive to pay for childcare and dinner at a fancy restaurant; I’ll fall asleep at the movies. And just like that, couple time falls back down to the bottom of the list. What’s a couple desperate for date night to do?

Think outside the box, of course! Don’t let a childcare drought, tight budget, or busy schedule (or any obstacle) put an end to spending time with your spouse. Why? Because date night at home can be every bit as enjoyable.

Before I get to some ideas for keeping the romance going without needing to head out the door, I think it’s important to attend to a few details and set the scene. Here are some general guidelines that help make it a date night rather than just any other night you both collapse in an exhausted heap on the couch:

  • Clean up the toys.
  • Lay out a fresh table cloth.
  • Change into a fresh shirt or brush your teeth.
  • Make sure kids are asleep or at least in bed for the night.

Intention is the name of the game here. Even the smallest gesture can help create the feeling that this night is not just another night, but an evening set aside for some real couple time. Always keep in mind the three Rs of date night: Relax, Reconnect, and Romance.

So here are some ideas …

Read to each other

To a lot of people, reading to your spouse might sound corny. Believe me, I get this, and even cringe a little when someone writes a post about doing this kind of thing on social media. But hear me out. It’s fantastic, and actually pretty luxurious, to have a chapter of a captivating novel read to you as you relax in your favorite chair, maybe sipping a (themed!) cocktail.

Even if literature isn’t your thing, what about a journal article that interests both of you but you haven’t been able to make time to read it? Or an op-ed by your favorite columnist? A travel article about a place you’ve been together and enjoyed, or a place you hope to visit together someday?

The point is, during the day while you’re caring for children, or working, or both, you couldn’t possibly read something out loud, or listen to it, without some sort of interruption. And it can be a wonderful way to discuss something other than kids and bills and daily schedules.

By indulging in this old fashioned past time you’re purposefully marking off these hours as adult time, which is what date night is all about.

Cook together

You’ve put the kids to bed and now the kitchen is all yours. Why not cook up a new recipe together just for the two of you to enjoy?

Even if you have older children or you prefer to always eat dinner en famille, you could whip up fancy dessert for two that you don’t have to share. Watch a YouTube video about decorative fruit or vegetable cutting and try and make a rose from a radish. Make hot chocolate from scratch. Explore the world of herbal teas! The point is to bring some fun into something as quotidian as cooking and preparing food together, and do it as a way to recreate, with no kids, in-laws, or dinner guests to please.

And if you and your spouse have been together a long time, perhaps cooking for two will remind you of those first couple lean years as a young couple when cooking at home was the only date night you could afford. Nostalgia and romance are great friends!

Play a game

You probably both play with the kids all the time (or at least pretend to play while you look at your phone or make a grocery list) but when is the last time you played a game together?

Break out the board games and get going, or learn to play a card game that is new to you both. Playing a game is fun and the details and rules consume your thoughts so that you can’t worry too much about what’s for dinner the next night, how many minutes are left on the dryer, or little Jane’s science project due next week.

Make a dreams list

I’m a list maker and I love brainstorming so this idea is one of my favorites. And it’s so adaptable to suit different moods and personalities. You can do it out loud together, separately, and then share and combine your lists, on the computer or a real note pad.

The beginning of a new year, so full of hope and anticipation, is especially conducive to this fanciful kind of list making. You might discover some new things about your spouse in the process, too.

***

We’re pulled in so many different directions, it’s easy to forget we’re in this life together with our spouse. Setting aside even a brief time for connecting with one another can make a world of difference.  So, put a date night on the calendar, and then pick up or find what you need to make it special.

At the end of the day just sitting down and chatting, or simply holding hands (when’s the last time you did that?) is all it takes to make it a date.

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Marriage
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