After thirteen years of marriage, three kiddos, nine moves (three of those moves internationally) and countless adventures in between, you’d think my husband and I would have this marriage thing all figured out.
We’d know exactly what we need to keep the intimacy alive, communication flowing, and laughter abundant. But you know what?
Don’t get me wrong, we have fun, we laugh, we play. We also still have our fair share of days where we choose self over the other; to zing instead of uplift. Well, over the last year, we’ve been going through an awakening of sorts. A re-commitment to our marriage if you will. We’ve agreed to start trying as hard as we did in the beginning; starting with a lot of little things.
You may or may not know that we live overseas, in a small rural village in Ireland; and we absolutely love it. It’s just as green as you see in the movies – if not greener – and the people, the culture and land are utterly amazing. As much as we love it here, it is not without its share of struggles and difficulties.
One of the things we sacrificed when we moved overseas is the luxury of having family close by to offer support and, let’s be honest, free babysitting. Oh, we’ve found some awesome local girls who will come over and babysit, but we all know that babysitters cost money.
Any marriage book you read will tell you that husbands and wives should be getting out for a date night at least once a week, and to get away for a night or two at least once every six months.
Yeah, I know.
Those of us who live far away from family really struggle to find ways to get that precious time together due to lack of sitters, lack of funds and/or lack of time. Plus, those who do have family nearby still may not be able to avail of them for babysitting.
So we sat down and starting talking through how we can make this weekly time alone together a priority, and how to make it work without a babysitter each week. We decided we would set aside Monday nights as our date night, and we would try to get a sitter one night per month. The other nights we would have date night at home.
Ok, honesty time here…we decided that over a year ago and you know how many at home date nights we’ve had? Um…less than 3. I know, right?
Why is that? Because when we’re home our guard is down. We see the laundry or dishes or that one rerun of Friends we love so much.
We must make this time with our men a priority, ladies. We must guard it. Protect it. Write it in our calendars; set a reminder on our phones/tablets/etc.
And this is exactly what hubby and I are going to start doing. So, I’d like to share with you some of our favorite at-home date night ideas…and a few we’ve not tried yet but sound fun!
At Home Date Night Ideas:
1. Dinner and a Movie. Feed the kids something simple and yummy (PB&J with fruit and carrot sticks is a favorite among our brood). Once they are tucked in bed, make a yummy dinner for you two to enjoy. Or order in, or cook it together. The point is, sit down at the table, eat together and talk. Then, light a few candles, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie together. No social media, no computers or email. Just be together.
2. Game Night. Once the kiddos are in bed, pick out a few games to play together. Monopoly, Uno, War, Phase 10, even Twister are a few cult classics. Don’t focus so much on winning and losing – after all, nothing kills intimacy faster than a good dose of selfish competition – just have fun. Laugh, talk, play.
3. Pampering Night. Personalize this to suit you and your hubby. Massages, mani/pedis, hair washing are all great ways to pamper each other. Light candles, have special yummy-smelling lotions or oils you use only for these times to make it even more special.
4. Book Discussion. Choose a book you are both interested in reading. You can even grab a marriage book! You can read aloud to one another, or read a set amount of chapters and come together over a nice cuppa tea or coffee and talk about it. Who knows where the conversation might lead!
5. Spend the night at a “Hotel.” If you have a guest room or spare bedroom, tidy it up, make up the bed with fresh, clean sheets. Light some candles and put on some music. Put some mints on the pillow and nice fluffy towels and/or bathrobes. Maybe even invest in a new set of cute jammies or lingerie. Spend the night “away” in your own little hotel. You could even incorporate some of the ideas above into this night!
6. Bake or Cook together. This is different from the dinner night. Bake some cookies, bread or cake together. Use your hands; have fun. Maybe even a little flour fight or swipe some icing on his nose. Even better, make these as gifts for someone else. That teacher you’ve been meaning to encourage; the neighbor whose mom is ill. Serving together blesses you, the other person, and bonds you closer with your spouse.
7. Dance Party. Get all gussied up and pretend you’re heading to the coolest gig in town. Make a playlist of your favorite romantic songs. Get those trusty-dusty candles out again and set them around the room. Hang up balloons and streamers if you want; make it fun! Dance the night away in one another’s arms.
8. Video Game Night. Does your husband like video games? Mine does, and so do our kids! One night he offered to show me how to play his favorite game. Reluctantly, I agreed, because it wasn’t “my kind” of game. He was so grateful I was willing to take part in something he really enjoyed. Or maybe get old school and bust out your favorite car racing game or Mario Bros. Just have fun, play, learn from one another.
I hope this list has gotten your creative juices flowing for all the possibilities for some fun, inexpensive dates at home! Just work together to pick the night, and then protect it. All that’s left to do is have fun!