No problem talk. This was some advice we were given a few years ago from an older married gentleman. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. You’re getting all dressed up, paying good money to go out and have a good time; and then you ruin it all by bringing up old arguments, rude relatives, health problems, or other stuff that can take a date night downhill fast. Make a point to keep it positive, and see what a difference it makes.
No kids. “But, they haven’t been without us since they were born,” you say. So, now is the time to start getting them used to it. Leave them with someone familiar, like Grandma or a close friend or neighbor you trust. When they see you make time for your marriage, they will be happier – because you will be happier.
Trade with other parents. Everyone is feeling the pinch of this economy. Why not trade nights with friends or neighbors – so everybody wins? We have used this option a lot. It works well, because your kids get the chance to have play-dates; and you get to spend uninterrupted time together.
Make it regular. A weekly date night is best. If you can’t go out weekly, then at least set aside a few hours for a “date night in” and guard that time. Put it on your calendar, and plan for it. You will realize how it puts the fun back into your marriage.
Dress up. Just like the old days, when you were dating. Make an effort to look nice for your spouse. Try a new hairstyle, and wear a fun outfit. You’re going out to have a fun time!
Switch it up. Hubby and I love challenges and spontaneity. Having the date night jar forces us to get out of our comfort zone, and try new places. Switching who chooses where we go each week is fun, too. Sometimes, it might not be the place you would have picked; but date night is all about give and take.
No fast food. Fast food is just not date night material. There are kids with runny noses, flinging their kids meal toys all over the place, bright fluorescent lights…and as a bonus, you might even get your entertainment from a very visible and audible drive-thru. Complete the environment with constant, loud beeping noises, and food that’s just fattening, over-salted and energy draining. Just a few of the reasons fast food is a no-no for date night. Chain restaurants are okay, just nothing with a drive-thru (unless it’s a rare and unique burger joint). That’s our rule.
Stay on budget. Nothing ruins a date faster than getting the bill and realizing you just spent the electricity bill on dinner. Staying on budget and sticking to $20 isn’t hard, if you remember your budget when you are preparing to order. Don’t be pressured into ordering more than you have money for!
Don’t jip the waiter. Hubby used to be a waiter, and he knows all too well what it’s like to work hard – only to end up with a ten percent or less tip. Unless the service was horrible, make sure to leave a generous (20%) tip on the total cost of the bill (before any coupons or discounts are applied). Waiters and waitresses have bills to pay too. Make sure they know their hard work was appreciated.
Try Something New. Skydiving and bungee jumping might be a little out of your comfort zone; but what about bowling, laser tag, or kayaking? The fun thing about taking risks and trying new things is that you grow together as a couple. Put the spark back into your marriage, and try something adventurous!
Plan ahead. Don’t wait till Friday night to plan your date night. Driving around, asking your spouse: “so, where do you want to go?” is not fun….at all! Decide a few days ahead of time. That gives you something to look forward to when your date night comes around.
Be creative. Does one of you work nights? How about a lunch date? Or breakfast date? There are a lot of creative options out there. It doesn’t have to be date night. Just make a date together that works for both of you!