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Why Are Date Nights So Important?
Between work, the dishes, the kids, the bills and trying to get enough sleep at night, you can fall into a pattern, ignoring “extraneous” things, like date nights and long out-of-town vacations. Who has the time and money for that in this economy anyway?
But a date night is more important that you may think….
“Date night is one of the best ways couples have to pull back from the fray and remember there’s an ‘us’ hidden in the swirl of their daily lives — and really focus on maintaining and celebrating their connection to each other,” -Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.
It reinforces your connection and reminds you why you are together in the first place. Happy couples produce happy well rounded families…. so enjoy one another!
Date Night Tips
Make the Time: The need to reconnect and get away from it all is important to you and your partner’s mental health. When the parents have a date night, they have a relaxing evening out, away from the kids. But it also works in reverse: the kids get a mini vacation from you as well! So when everyone’s back together, everyone is more relaxed and happier to see each other.
Make it Easy: Have a babysitter on a scheduled night, at least twice a month, if you can. If the day is already planned, the sitter is already ready to come over, all that’s left is to find something to do. No extra stress! Or swap kids with a friend.. fun for the kids and easier on the pocket book!
Make it Fit: If just getting a sitter cleaned out your play money, find something cheap or free to do, like walking in the park, or getting a cheap dinner. Anything different than the daily grind is better than nothing. The important part is that you are alone together, or out with another couple that you both get along with.
Make it Stick: It’s easy to let life get in the way of your scheduled date night, but don’t let anything stop you! Nothing is more important than your relationship with your partner (and your kids!), and nothing short of an emergency should get in the way of your nights out together.
Frugal Date Night Ideas
It’s date night with your spouse. The kids are all settled on the couch, and the babysitter is telling you to “go have fun.” You have enough money in your purse to pay her tonight, but little left for your actual date. What to do?
Have fun for free!
Think having a free date night is impossible? Not at all! You can pack a dinner and head out to these fun, free places.
- Take a walk through the park. Take pictures, or just turn your electronics off and enjoy chatting.
- Have a picnic. Dinner out doesn’t always have to be a fancy restaruant… if it’s winter, have an indoor picnic.
- Visit a museum with no cover charge. Almost every city has museums that have no charge portions. Check out freemuseumday.org if you live in a big city.
- Window shop downtown. The open air and the walk might do you both some good!
- Play a board game. A little competition is fun and it’s a great way to unplug from the electronic world we live in.
- Stargaze. Grab a blanket and a bottle of wine and head to the backyard and relax, or go the scientific route and get a free smartphone app to chart the stars.
- Have a date night in! Send the kids to the grandparents or swap babysitting nights with a neighbor.
- Go on a bike ride. This is especially fun if you have scenic views near your house!
- Volunteer at a local food bank or senior center. It’s a great feeling to give back.
- Head to the library! This is a great place to get free movie rentals or music to sit and chat to! Grab a couple of books and some nice music. Turn the TV off and curl up and read together.
- Play a card game you’ve never played before. Here’s a big list of card games for 2 players!
- 20 Questions… you might be surprised what you can learn! Get creative and get the conversation going!
Have a little cash?
These will give you both an evening of fun for less than $20 bucks.
- Use coupons… check your neighborhood flyers or look for a 2 for 1 pasta night at a local eatery.
- Play mini-golf or go to an arcade. Act like a kid again!
- Street fairs and street art galleries. With great food and lots of stalls, you can have a good time and spend very little!
- Go to a coffee shop and bring a board game, a crossword puzzle to do together or a deck of cards.
- Have a fondue.
- Go swimming without the kids. Swimming is much more fun and relaxing without worrying about the little ones!
- Go to the driving range or batting cages, roller skating or bowling. If you have any coordination at all, athletic dates can be a lot of fun.
- Try amatuer comedy nights or inexpensive plays and shows. These can be hit or miss, but even a “miss” show can still be a fun night out.
- Take a historic tour. Most cities have some kind of historical buildings or areas you can explore.
- Have dinner at a local culinary school… the price is lower and the food is usually fantastic.
- Eat like a kid. Go for a hot dog and an ice cream cone!
- Visit a local farm and pick your own fresh fruit or veggies… spend some time together creating a special dish.
- Create your own beer or wine tasting complete with homemade snacks. Try some new ones you’ve never had! This is fun for a double date too!
- Go on a drive to a scenic area. Spending time in nature is a great way to relax, release some serotonin and get some vitamin D!
There are plenty of possibilities for great date nights, even on a tight budget. The most important thing is that you are spending time together as a couple!
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