I get it. You clicked on this, because you said to yourself, “Yeah, right. We don’t have time for that.” In the back of your mind though, you were a bit curious, just like I am when I see articles for bringing back the romance to your marriage.
But I actually think the two are linked. It’s harder to be intimate in the bedroom if you’re not intimate on an emotional level. And I know, for me, I didn’t realize how much I missed talking to my husband until our new son was born, and our older son demanded that we stop having conversations in front of him.
So I thought about what I miss from our dating life, back when there were no kids in the mix and laundry could wait for a month (though it didn’t have to because I had all the free time in the world). Back when I could sleep in until 2 pm with my husband and not feel guilty spending money on breakfast at a diner.
And I miss the dating. Going to new places. Talking and just enjoying the company of my husband. Lately, I’ve been thinking that it doesn’t have to be that difficult to make time for dates. We just have to do it.
It doesn’t have to be on a weekend either. A few ideas on this list can be done at home and be just as fun (after the kids are in bed)!
This weekend for my birthday I told my husband I wanted to go bowling at night, when they turn on the 90s music and have the different-colored lights glowing everywhere.
“Cosmic bowling?” he asked. “You’re so lame!” He laughed at me, but I told him I was serious. I remember going bowling in high school with friends, dates, and even family a lot. It was fun and cheap and we have a bowling alley nearby so why not?
We are going to invite my best friend and her husband to join us and leave the kids at home. It’s exciting to be on a date where there is an activity to do besides eat or drink, though awesome that you can also eat and drink. Plus, you can play pool, laser tag, or arcade games in the bowling alley if you want to mix it up! I can’t wait!
2. Netflix & Chill
Watching a free TV show never loses its charm. My husband and I have watched SOOO many shows in their entirety that our only problem now is we don’t have anything new to watch so we rewatch and it gets boring.
We saw there are a few Netflix original movies coming soon though, so we plan on putting a pizza in the oven, going downstairs to our nicer couches, and making a night of it.
3. Game Night
I remember when my husband and I were dating how we would have game nights all the time! We are in our early 20s and had at least 8 people over every weekend to play Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, Scrabble, Scattergories, Pictionary, and other stuff. Sure, sometimes people knocked over entire tables when they lost or got mad at each other for cheating, but it was always worth it. We would take turns going to different friends’ apartments and share appetizers (back in college, this meant a bag of Chex Mix) late into the night.
We did a game night with a few friends last year and combined it with a potluck dinner, so couples could meet right after work. I’m positive we will do it again!
4. Dinner & Movie
The traditional dinner-and-a-movie never grows old for me. I’m an avid movie watcher and since having kids, it’s been harder to convince my husband that we should watch a movie instead of doing something more exciting or just plain old catching up on sleep. Yet, I go with my mom or friends when I can and I’m never disappointed. Sometimes the popcorn tastes awful but sitting in front of a giant screen after having a meal where someone served you and you didn’t even have to help clean really hits the spot for me!
Movies these days can be expensive though, so maybe a Redbox rental and dinner cooked at home will do the trick for some people, if you don’t have kids, or if you can stay up late, after the little ones are asleep. I don’t recommend watching movies with your children around! You’ll quickly lose interest because you can’t hear anything, and you don’t want to be playing mature things on a screen where they could be watching, too.
I personally hate mini-golf, but I recall going a few times with family friends and it’s fun to watch others enjoy the game and be super competitive over the dumbest thing ever. And sometimes I would get lucky enough to make the ball go in, so it’s not the worst way to spend an afternoon—unless it costs a lot to play. In that case, I would rather do something else.
Sit on your driveway or in the grass in some lawn chairs and just enjoy a sunset or the sounds in the air (cars, trains, kids playing). Drink some beers or wine. This one is cool, because your kids can join, too. If they’re entertained enough to play together, you can steal a few minutes to talk or at least feel like you’re bonding without saying a word. You just might have to opt for no alcohol and do Diet Coke or lemonade instead! Not because you don’t want to be judged–who cares what people think—but because your kids might ask what you’re drinking. Our son already knows he can’t have daddy’s soda, but I don’t want to explain beer to him just yet!
7. Ice Cream
We took our son to an ice cream place a few months ago and he loved it. He could pick out his own flavor and sit down on a patio table outside. My husband and I love ice cream, too so it was a neat date to be able to watch the sunset with our toddler. If you don’t have a nearby ice cream place, Dairy Queen or McDonald’s may be an option!
I know some of these ideas included your kids, but to me, sometimes just being near my husband without the noise of pets or the pressure of cooking and cleaning is relaxing enough that I can enjoy his company without necessarily having a full conversation–I’m sure he’s glad he doesn’t have to talk also, after an exhausting day! It may not be what you prefer, but I thought I would throw out those ideas in case there are some parents that can’t afford a sitter or would like to include their babies. 🙂
Remember, half the battle is just going out there and doing it. If you want a date, set it up and go!