What do people do on a date night?
I am asking for ideas and learn from others on ideas for date nights. After some review on my part and many attempts to set up dates nights I need help. I realized that when my wife and I were “Dating” we never really went on formal dates. We always had church or family functions as our dates. We did catch one or two movies but with other people. When we got married this continued. We only go out alone on our anniversary and that is the only date night we get. I have tried a few things over the years but they were big failures – had to cancel due to illness or something with the kids or something else came up. These plans never got revisited – we do not do well at rain checks.
So what I am looking for is it normal to not have date nights as a couple? What do others do on date nights?
OK, so I’ll give a list of things we’ve done over the years and some other thoughts as well. Admittedly, we were better about doing more activities before marriage because back then we typically went out away from the kids and stayed up late talking because we weren’t always together…that and we couldn’t make love. 😀 With that said, here it goes:
- do for a drive, flip a coin when you need to change directions, find a hole in the wall place for food or dessert
- go to a gun range and practice (I’d never shot a hand gun and DW, then fiancé, had a shotgun and loved the Group On experience)
- Chk out GroupOn for ideas
- do a food crawl
- have a picnic and go to a local, county or state park. (The stars are wonderful there at night and so is making out…only now we can make love and go home together)
- Take your (or borrow) a truck, put a mattress in, find a secluded spot, have some music, food, add the stars and make love.
- Assign dice #’s to various activities and restaurants. Have your spouse roll the dice and do the activity…and restaurant stops in the order given. (IE – movie, bowling, thrift shopping, whatever, then have restaurants for appetizer, entree, dessert, you can split each item to save money) By roll of the dice you might have your dessert first, etc. (I gave each food category multi options and price ranges from fast food to expensive)
- Go to free stuff around you
- Museums. gardens, etc.
- Alternate planning dates so it doesn’t all fall on you
- Alternate planning dates and/or put a spending limit on it ($10, $20, $50)
- Write down & have questions to ask or use the ULTIMATE INTIMACY app for questions
- Go to some of your “firsts” or special events/memories (date, kiss, I love you, proposal)
Most of our date nights are dinner-and-a-movie, we can usually find a movie we both find interesting or entertaining. Sometimes we will do an activity instead of a movie. Something lighthearted like bowling or putt-putt where the activity is more of a vehicle to enjoy each other’s company. The trap I fall into is I want a date to be a spectacular extravaganza to demonstrate how much Wifey means to me, but I am reasonably poor at the planning and coordinating part. I also want to surprise Wifey, but I am learning that involving her in the planning makes things run smoother and puts less stress on me.
With the pandemic, our date nights have been a bit different. Both Wifey and her dad are in high-risk categories, her dad especially. Because we aren’t limiting contact with Wifey’s parents we are probably being more cautious than most. I’m naturally a risk-adverse person anyways. On the handful of times we’ve had a date night with the kiddos at the in-law’s house, we’ve done a progressive takeout dinner and drive all over town getting an appetizer from one place, dessert from another, and picking up our main course and taking it home to eat while watching a movie or show together.
DW and I have made date night a priority (at least since our kids came along). It was challenging to arrange babysitting (though my parents are close and were our go to a lot of the time), costly to eat out or do other things, but the benefits to our friendship and to our marriage have been immense. We know each other so well and have deep intimacy (emotional, spiritual, physical) because we take time to go out together and have time just for us. It’s not always weekly, though we strive for that. We also give ourselves grace and flexibility because life happens.
Most of our dates pre-COVID were dinner out, sometimes followed by something else (usually shopping or browsing at a store, which seems like a treat when your kids aren’t with you!). We aren’t big on going to movies because then you’re not talking or interacting. We value the kid-free interaction.
Other dates that have been memorable, but cheap and easy:
-A photo scavenger hunt. We asked our Facebook friends for suggestions and then went and took selfies at those places/places that met their criteria. We then posted our pictures, which made it fun for friends too (and encouraged them to date their spouse and do the same)
-One time DW surprised me after dinner with nerf guns. We went to a school playground and had a nerf war in the rain. We both still talk about that one when we talk about the best dates we’ve had.
-We’ve done a $10 mall adventure where we each had $10 to buy something that reminded us of the other one. We set a time (fairly short) and then met back up and shared our finds.
-COVID has made dating more challenging but also more important. Our dates are the majority of DW’s time out of the house since the start of this season. We’ve done a lot of takeout dates. We pick up food then go sit at a scenic overlook (there’s several good ones in our city) and enjoy dinner, a view, and conversation. We’ve used some conversation starter lists from Pinterest and the Gottman App and had lots of fun and interesting conversations. Even though we’ve known each other for over 20 years, ever have been some new revelations that have come of it.
I wish you the best in making dating part of your marriage. It’s been so valuable to us, and I think it’s a great way to invest in your relationship.
We love having date nights.
- We usually go out to eat (but with COVID, that has been reduced to ordering in).
- Second, we love window shopping for DW! I don’t like shopping for me, but for her it is very enjoyable!
- We like to go for walks, hikes, or bike rides. There are a lot of scenic areas to explore.
- Going for a drive – allows for shoulder to shoulder time as we get away from the phone and other household responsibilities
- Arts. We enjoy going to a the occasional performance, visiting museums, art exhibitions, etc.
- Sporting events. We can’t afford season’s tickets or expensive seats, but we get excited about cheering on our teams
- Movies. We usually watch these at home – with popcorn!
We go out to eat and then to one of the big box hardware/gardening stores so I can get some plants and hubby can try to convince me he needs another power tool. We used to do movies, but Covid has killed that. We have been getting a lot of icecream to eat in the park. The nice thing is we are talking more since you generally don’t talk at movies. Sometimes we go to the local coffee house to listen to a live band perform. Sometimes if it is low energy we just watch Netflix and chill at home, though we actually watch Netflix and relax, not what my daughter tells me that phrase means.
This spring, due to Covid, Hubs and I resurrected the “drive in the country” date and I absolutely love it! Today we chose a two lane highway that runs throughout some of our beautiful Mid Michigan agricultural land with quaint red barns. We stopped at an antique store, a side- of -the- road farm stand and purchased fresh veggies and made a final stop at a meat market for steaks. Then we came home listened to music and prepared dinner together using our farm stand finds. I think we spent $12 on dinner ingredients and my love bucket is full!!
Dating Divas have some great and innovative date night ideas. You know your spouse and what she likes. There are some good suggestions above, so I’ll not add to the list. Dates are as creative as your imagination. I would suggest a couple of things, though. Schedule them. Something will always creep in to take your time so put them on the calendar. That means both of you getting out your calendars and looking at whatever is going on and scheduling a night around your other church/work/family activities. That said, on occasion be spontaneous, with a just because date. It can be as simple or extravagant as you like. Surprise dates are also fun. They’re the ones you plan for weeks without the other knowing. Maybe it’s an overnight get away where you’ve packed the suitcase and made the arrangements for an overnight stay. Dating isn’t so much the destination, but the journey, it’s not so much about what you did, but that you did it together. Sometimes it’s trying something new. Dates are the accumulation of events shared together on the blank canvas of your marriage that paints a portrait.
We have always used any opportunity away from the kids (that sounds bad) as a date. Sometimes date night has been grocery shopping and, although mundane, we just enjoy the time together. We’ve done more traditional things, like dinner and a movie, sure, but we’ve even just taken a drive through a car lot, dreaming for a bit, and called it a date.
I am of the opinion that we often have to intentionally create opportunities for ourselves. When my kids leave for school or work I always tell them to “make it a good day” instead of just “have a good day.” The same works for date night. Be intentional. Plan a time, stick to it, and call it a date. Whether you go bowling or just take a walk by a stream; go shopping together or out to dinner. You can get ideas from others, of course, but nobody knows the two of you better than you do. You know what you would enjoy, what you would be able to have fun doing together, and what would give you both at least a few minutes of escape from everything but the two of you.
Last night we went to a nearby city to get some paper at OfficeDepot, wife had a clothing store gift card burning a hole in her pocket so we also went there, then Outback for dinner, home for some TMB discussions and thinking up future QOTD questions, and then we “celebrated our MB“.
Yes, I believe dating after marriage is important. It communicates to my wife that I’m still thinking of her. DW LOVES it when I verbally ask her out…especially when I put some thought into our time together. It doesn’t have to be a fancy or high dollar dinner or big entertainment expense. It can be as simple as let’s drive to her favorite food, flower, they got everything, wine & beer tasting store with a quick dinner at Wendy’s. She’s happy and we “get to” spend 3-4 hrs together. A few weeks ago she and I went to a state park and sat by a lake reading & studying. Didn’t cost a thing with an annual pass but some time and fuel to get there. (I would’ve said gas but Scott might’ve chastised me again. :D)