When life gets crazy, what do you miss most about the ‘good old days?’ For me, it’s definitely dedicated date nights with my hubby. I miss those moments when it’s just me and him; no worries, no blinking phone notifications, and no stresses of daily life interrupting our every passing thought.
As any new parent will tell you, life makes a sudden and dramatic turn as soon as your precious little one arrives. My husband and I were fully prepared for our new life as parents (or so we thought). We were pretty much homebodies; preferring movie nights in over wild nights out, early bedtimes and a relatively simple life. The one thing we did not take into account, however, was how much we valued our time together.
Once you become a parent, or even if adult life without kids has just left you busier than you could possibly imagine, it’s inevitable that something is going to slide by the wayside. In most cases what suffers are our most important relationships. It’s easy to be consumed by work, outside obligations, or the duties that come along with parenthood.
What we need to remember is that our most valued relationships are what we should be prioritizing first. We owe it to ourselves and each other to put the effort in; regardless of how busy, tired or overworked we feel. As new parents, my husband and I struggled with making dedicated time for each other. Logistically it was hard for us to find babysitters. Physically and mentally we were exhausted.
Finally, I had enough. No more putting our relationship on auto-pilot! I decided that if we couldn’t make it out for dedicated date nights, then I would bring the date nights to us! Date nights don’t have to require going out, they just require taking the time to spend dedicated time with each other without checking work emails, without texting with friends, and without kids running in and out of the room interrupting your conversations.
I came up with a list of our favorite at home date night ideas to share with all of you. Take a look and give a few of them a try!
At Home Date Night
My husband and I love going out to dinner, and for good reason! Good food, no cooking, and no cleaning up the mess! Of course with kids, going out isn’t quite the same. Even if you make it out to your favorite restaurants, the ambiance isn’t quite the same with kids. And of course the point of date night is one on one time with your significant other.
Many restaurants now have to-go menus to give you the option to bring their meals home. Wait until your kids are asleep or all of your other daily obligations are filled to order from your favorite restaurant. Bring it home, light some candles, and enjoy a nice sit down meal together. Voila! Your date night is almost the same as going out!
My husband and I watch movies almost every single night, so this isn’t really on our list of ‘special’ date nights. However, if this is not something you and your partner usually do, then I definitely suggest it! Go to the video store and pick out a movie together that you’ve both been itching to see. Grab your favorite movie snacks. Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy two uninterrupted hours together watching your new favorite movie. Bring the comfort of the movie theater right to your own home! The bonus is that the movie will give you guys something to talk about together later!
Time to bring out your competitive side! Dig out your favorite board games or shuffle up and deal some cards. You can take turns picking your game of choice for the night. And for the competitive folks out there, you can even run ‘tournaments’ and track winning records. My grandmother and her husband used to have Scrabble tournaments daily. They would hold three hundred game series, and then track who won each ‘series.’ They were some serious Scrabblers.
The variety of games is endless so you can always bring something new each night you do this! Make some snacks and have some fun!
“WOULD YOU RATHER”
Let me tell you first hand, a game of “Would You Rather” with your partner is a ton of fun! You will learn things about your partner that you never knew and get lots of laughs along with it! If you are not familiar with the concept, basically you just compare scenarios and then answer which you would choose. For example: Would you rather eat dog food or run ten miles? The possibilities are endless! There are plenty of resources online, particularly Pinterest, with hundreds of “Would You Rather” scenarios to choose from. If you are feeling really motivated you could even create your own!
TRUTH OR DARE
Yes, just like your elementary school days. And very similar to “Would You Rather.” We all know about Truth or Dare, but I’m sure most of us have not played it with our significant others. If you want to learn some crazy things about each other and have lots of fun, give Truth or Dare a try!
SCRAPBOOK/ORGANIZE PHOTO ALBUMS
We all have thousands of pictures lying around waiting to get organized. Make a date night out of it and take a trip down memory lane at the same time! Don’t have any pictures that need organized? Just grab some of your albums and reminisce together.
Weather permitting of course! Head out to your backyard on a clear night and take in the sites. Grab some blankets and snuggle up. You can even research stars and constellations ahead of time to give you something to look for. Still have little ones inside? Just grab the baby monitor and stay close by.
Is karaoke one of your favorite date night past times? Now you can bring it home! Turn up the music and go to town! We are big fans of Amazon Music. They put the song lyrics right on the TV screen for you. You can play random stations or select your own songs to create a custom playlist. Just a tip, you may want to leave the windows closed for this one unless you want to put on a show for the whole neighborhood!
Plan a cooking project together! Find a new recipe that you will both love. Maybe it’s your favorite recipe or maybe it’s something you’ve never tried but always wanted to; now is the time! If you are fans of the Food Network, you can even turn your date night into your very own Chopped Challenge! Split up in the grocery store; each pick four different ingredients and then time yourselves to come up with an original recipe; just like the show!
DO A PUZZLE
It seems like you either love puzzles or hate them. And it seems like most couples that I talk to are on the opposite spectrums of this one. Myself and my husband included. But if you happen to find a partner who loves puzzles as much as you then this is a great activity to do together! Puzzles take time and are definitely a team effort. If you start a big puzzle, it will force you to spend time together each week because they usually take days, if not weeks, to complete!
Choose a book or devotional to read together aloud. If reading isn’t your thing, get the audio book version and listen along together. It can be a popular book you are both interested in, or something designed for couples. Devotionals are also great because they usually include a lot of great discussion starters. Whichever you decide, books will definitely give you something to talk about that night and for the days to come. Plus it will give you something to look forward to continue with whenever you get time for another date night!
However you decide to spend your date nights at home, the important part is making the time to do it and finding something you both enjoy together. I initiated a ‘one date night’ rule a week in our house and now it is something we both look forward to. Of course we still get out for ‘real’ dates whenever we can, but making an effort to reconnect when we can’t get out has done wonders for our relationship!
We need to treat our most important relationships with the care that they deserve, even in the craziest seasons of life. Write it down, schedule it just as you would any other appointment. Decide with your partner how often you realistically can fit in date nights, and how often you need them. Each relationship is different and only you will know how much care and nurturing yours requires.
Now that you have something to look forward to, I would love to hear what ‘At Home Date Night Ideas’ you love and what you would add to the list!