“Friday is date night. What do you want to do?”

“Hmm. I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

“Ummm, it’s YOUR turn to plan the date.”

“Oh yeah. Let me think about it.”

Friday comes…

“Hey, did you decide what we’re gonna do tonight?”

“Not really. What do you feel like doing?”

UGH! This happens with me and my husband FAR too often. Even though we have had a standing, bi-weekly date night for years now, it still manages to sneak up on us sometimes, leaving us to go with our fall-back plan of eating dinner at some restaurant that we’ve been to hundreds of times before. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to dinner. Heck, I just love food in general! BUT…my primary love language is quality time so thoughtful date nights mean the world to me. Dinner at “that one place we go to all the time” doesn’t always equate to quality time for me.

So how do two people who have full-time jobs and an EXTREMELY active one year old at home find time to plan meaningful date nights? I’m glad you asked! Now, I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but I think I have a few ideas that will at least get you going in the right direction.

Date Night Idea #1: Dinner and a Movie

One of my favorite date nights of all times at one of my favorite places, Alamo Drafthouse! Dinner and my favorite movie at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Yes, our old faithful friend. As “back to the basics” as dinner and a movie may sound, this is a great idea that requires minimal planning but sets the stage for a romantic and fun night. So how do you spice up such a traditional date night idea? Here’s what I would suggest.

  1. Sit down with your spouse and write out a list of restaurants that you both enjoy, separating them into two categories (casual or romantic)
  2. Write out a list of different movie genres that either of you enjoy. Now, you have three separate lists
  3. Take each list and number the items
  4. Cut up pieces of paper, write numbers on them, and place them in a bag (can you see where this is going?)
  5. Decide what vibe or list you want for your dining experience (casual or romantic) and then pull a number from the bag. Whatever restaurant coincides with the number you have pulled is where you all will dine for your date.
  6. Place the number back in the bag and pull another number. This second number will determine what genre of movie you all will go see
  7. Look up your local listings, pick a movie and go enjoy each other’s company!

If you’re short on time (maybe you have to hurry back home to your little one) and still want that dinner and a movie experience, do some research and see if there is a movie theater in your area that also serves a full menu during the movie. That way, you can save time without sacrificing one for the other!

Date Night Idea #2: Learn a New Skill

This country girl (me) had never ridden a horse until her husband took her out on a date. And neither had he.

Have you always wished you knew how to play the guitar? Do you envy that one friend who can literally dance circles around you? Or maybe you just wish you were a better cook. Well, grab your spouse and make it happen! Go take a dancing class together and tango the night away. Try something random that neither of you have ever considered before (my husband and I are planning on taking an archery class). Better yet, grab a cute little apron, sign up for a couples cooking class, and hang on to that cute little apron for later in the evening. Dinner is SERVED, Honey!

Date Night Idea #3: Self-Care

What are some things that relax and replenish you and your spouse? If you’re like me, you have a great appreciation for a nice nail salon that provides complimentary adult beverages. A mani/pedi date is a good place to spark meaningful, bond-forming conversation with your spouse. Or how about a couple’s massage? With the low lighting and calming music playing softly in the background, no conversation is needed here. Just being present together during that time of relaxation has the power to make you feel closer to one another. Prefer a little movement with your self-care? Try taking a yoga class together.

My husband enjoys a good pedicure just as much as I do, and I’m grateful!

I realize that one person’s idea of self-care may not work for the other person. This may mean you will have to sacrifice and allow your spouse to be poured into for the night, and that’s ok! On the next date night, make sure you all choose a self-care method of your preference and just continue to rotate.

Date Night Idea #4: Become a Kid Again

I just KNEW I was going to fall out of that hammock! Luckily, I didn’t. #SUCCESS

Revisit your childhood and do something that you loved as a kid. Head to the skating rink and see who falls the least number of times (add a little healthy competition). Find a game room and play arcade games together. Don’t forget to cash those tickets in and pick your prizes at the end of the night. Head to a carnival or theme park. Ride all of the rides, play all of the games, and stuff your faces with funnel cake and pizza. Channel your inner child and let that little girl have the time of her life!

Date Night Idea #5: The Emergency File

If ever you find yourself in a date night planning crisis and tips 1-4 are not helping, go into the emergency file…GROUPON! Groupon has saved date night in my house PLENTY of times. Last month, we enjoyed an hour of bowling which included the shoe rental, a large, one-topping pizza, and a pitcher of soda all for the very low price of $8! WHAT?!? Thank you, Groupon!

My husband trying his hardest to beat my score during our $8 date night…

Just parooz Groupon’s “Things To Do” section and one of two things will happen: it will either get your brain juices flowing and you’ll come up with a great idea for a date, or you will see something that sparks your interest, purchase your date directly from Groupon, and save money in the process!

So remember, if you’re in need of a date night and you can’t think of anything, think through this list of suggestions: dinner and a movie, learn a new skill, self-care, become a kid again, and when in doubt, Group that thang! Whatever you do, do not let the chaos of life get in the way of quality time spent with your spouse. Date nights are a key component to a healthy, happy marriage so make them a priority! Put a reminder in your phone, do not cancel unless you absolutely have to, and keep it fun and flirty!

Happy Dating!

Mommi Joanna