Couples who are married or in long-term relationships sometimes find themselves going too long without ever going out on dates. Sure, it’s easy to find yourselves getting caught up in all of your day-to-day responsibilities, but it’s also important to set some time aside for a date night if you want to keep some spark in your relationship.
Date night doesn’t have be an elaborate outing. In fact, there are many ways you can set aside time with your partner without spending a cent – or leaving the house. Some simple date ideas that don’t cost a lot of money include:
Enjoy a Tech-Free Night
As helpful and entertaining as electronics are, it’s nice to go tech-free every once in a while. Have a tech-free date night with your partner where you turn off your smartphones, the TV, and any other electronic or digital media you have in the house. You may even want to go as far as dimming the lights to create a peaceful, romantic atmosphere. Then, work together to determine how you can have fun without tech. Maybe you’ll play a board game or card game together, or better yet, if it’s dark out, light some candles and just talk.
Spend a Night Star Gazing in the Backyard
On a clear, starry night take advantage of the night sky. Head out to the backyard after the kids have gone to bed, then lay a blanket out on the ground and relax with your spouse while stargazing. You could research interesting constellations to try and locate together – or simply enjoy the peaceful setting and have deep conversation that are hard to have in the busyness of everyday life.
Pretend You’re Tourists
No matter how long you’ve lived in the Richmond area, chances are there are still some amazing sites you haven’t yet visited. Pretend you’re tourists for the day and check out all the hotspots in your area that you’ve always meant to visit, but haven’t had the chance to. Even if you’ve already been to a few of these places, it makes for a fun date when you have a new mindset. Throw on a nice dress or blazer and go to a fancy restaurant you’ve never been to before. Remember to take plenty of pictures so that you can look back together at the memories you’ve made.
Plan a Date Around Your “Favorites”
You and your partner can each choose something that is your favorite, such as a favorite food, sport, dessert, or activity. Then combine those things into one date night. Another option is to plan two separate dates in which one night you do all of your spouse’s favorites, and on the next, you do all of your favorite things together.
Look Through Old Photos and Organize Them for Preservation
When you first start dating someone, one of the most exciting aspects is getting to know that person’s history. But when you’ve been with someone for awhile, it’s easy to forget the history you’ve built together. You and your partner can learn more about each other and strengthen your bond by going through old photographs and recalling stories of your time together.
It can also be a fun couples’ project to organize and preserve photos. If you are working with digital photos, go through your files together and choose some to print and put into a photo album; or create a photo book online with sites like Shutterfly or Mixbook. If you want your photos to last, then look into how to correctly preserve and store photographs. Find archival quality containers and be sure to keep your photos in a cool, dark place. (Note: Humidity should be between 15-65% and temperature shouldn’t exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit wherever you choose to store them.)
Create a Theme Date
If you’re looking for new date ideas, try picking a theme. Sit down with your partner and come up with some creative themes, write them down on separate pieces of paper, put them in a jar, and go with whatever theme you pull out first. Themes can be abstract, centering around random words or objects like mangoes, Disney, horses, books, or cups. Or they can be straightforward, like sports, movies, music, or theater. Whatever you choose, you can have a lot of fun thinking of things to do based on your themes, plus, it may lead you to discover some new, interesting places in your area. Best of all, you can keep the jar and use it time and again, adding new themes as you go.
Cook a Special Meal Together
Instead of going out to dinner, try signing up for a cooking class with your partner or pick a new recipe to make together from home. If you cook a new meal from home and it doesn’t turn out well, you can always order food for delivery and try the recipe again another time. When the meal finally does turn out well, you’ll have a new recipe to add to your dinner line-up, as well as some great memories.
Take an Art Class Together
Creating art together makes for a fun date idea even if one of you feels like you’re not very good at art. In an art class, the teacher will provide guidance and encourage your creativity. At one of the Richmond area’s many paint and sip bars, you’ll be given step-by-step instructions on how to paint a certain painting – and you can enjoy a few adult beverages along the way! Don’t want to paint? Try a sculpting class or another adult art class. Check out the Visual Arts Center of Richmond or the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for some ideas.
Play “Questions for Couples”
During an at-home date night, you can use a questions for couples book or card deck to encourage conversation and get to know new things about each other. Even if you’ve been together for a long time, some of these questions may be new to you, or maybe you’ve just forgotten the answer. It’s good to refresh your memories on the details of what your partner has been through, how they think, and what they believe about life. People naturally change over the years as they experience new things and encounter new people, so your partner’s beliefs might be a little different now. “Questions for couples” is a great way to stay in touch with your spouse.
In the past, before technology consumed our lives, people enjoyed reading poetry or book passages out loud to one another. Try having a poetry date night with your partner where you each read some of your favorite poems. Prepare before the date by browsing poetry books for some poems you like. Reading poetry out loud to each other can be a romantic experience, plus it also opens the door for deep and meaningful conversations.
Be Kids Again for the Day
Remember when you were a kid and life just seemed less complicated? Try returning to that simpler time with your partner by engaging in activities you once did as a kid. There are countless ways you can “be a kid again” with your spouse, including going to the roller skating rink, playing laser tag, playing games at an arcade, jumping in a pile of leaves, or simply catching fireflies. Having fun together this way can put some spark back into your relationship and remind you that life doesn’t always have to be serious.
Enjoying dates is important for keeping a relationship exciting and nurturing the bond you share with your spouse. But having a date night doesn’t have to be a complicated, expensive affair. You don’t even need to leave the house to enjoy a date with your partner. Try some of the ideas above for something that is not only exciting and new, but sustainable. Not only will you create beautiful memories, but you’ll get to know your partner in a whole new way – and have some fun along the way.