I used to groan when I heard someone repeat the oft-shared advice for married couples to have date night. Making it important took all the fun out of it.
Not to mention, by the time we planned a night out plus baby-sitter we were looking at at least a hundred bucks. Try doing that four times a month as newlyweds. Ha!
But I did know that making time to have fun with my husband was important.
Last year, when I put together the Year of Date Nights for a Valentine’s Gift for my husband, I didn’t realize what an awesome blessing it would be for us!
Our year of pre-planned dates was exciting a fun at first!
My husband felt so loved that I had taken time to set aside for him. As the year went on, our enthusiasm waned…but we kept having our dates, since they were planned, and each one brought us closer together! Even though it wasn’t as new and exciting, it changed our marriage.
UPDATE: Two years later, I can honestly say that the year of dates changed us. We are so much happier now than we were before.
It is important thing to stay connected to your spouse even in the busy seasons of life. but it can also be really fun!!
I have put together 12 Dates that you can print off as they are and gift them to your husband for Valentine’s, or any holiday or anniversary! But, every couple is unique. If those ideas don’t suit you, I’ve included this template for you to use to make your own Year of Dates!
In my 12 dates, I tried to include a balance of At-Home Dates, Going Out Dates, and Send the Kids to Grandma’s Dates.
Find what works for your family and use the following ideas to make your dates customized just for you.
How to Make Your Own Year of Date Nights
Start by planning out the dates for each month of the year. Then, if you can grab any of the needed materials ahead of time, get them and package them all up with the date night directions certificate.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
Build a Fire in the Fireplace or Outdoor Fire Pit.
Pour some wine. Discuss your dreams for the next year.
Put Together a Puzzle.
When your hands are occupied, it’s easier to talk. Put on a great podcast to get a conversation going and then switch to music you both love.
Adult Coloring Books.
These are all the rage! Channel your inner child and de-stress with some contemplative coloring. Put on the music from your high school years and reminisce.
How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?
I love these little books. They’re way cheaper than a night out and loads of fun! There’s 100 questions on both trivial and important things. I say, work through 10 questions, see who got the most answers. Winner gets a 10 minute massage! Then play again.
Pull out those board games collecting dust in the closet. Need a game for two? Check out this post of 20 Great 2-Player Games.
Watch your wedding video or look through your photos. Serve foods that were served at your reception. Talk about how you would do it differently now. Bonus points if you wear white!
We used to do this early on in our marriage, before the invention of camera phones, and even then it was a blast! Plan your photo shoot, pose your subject (each other) and take turns modeling for the camera.
Massage at Home.
Watch the free lesson on Melt and practice your new and improved massage skills with each other. Plan two date nights–one for his massage and one for hers!
Going Out Dates
Sushi and Shopping.
Try one of our local sushi restaurants. Then browse your favorite store together. As lame as it sounds, I have heard from so many couples with kids that a trip to the grocery store is fun when it’s just the two of you! Stop in Fresh and pick up a pastry to end your date with dessert…or breakfast.
Grab a latte and hit the aisles in a crazy couples scavenger hunt! Or buy a gift for each other, but it has to be something they would use/wear/eat right away and under $10.
Try an active date like bowling, golf, laser tag, or bust out some Nerf Guns and play at home! Get your bloodflow going.
Visit the Planetarium.
…or art museum or symphony. Our local planetarium, has special events for Valentine’s Day. Get your culture on!
Traditional Dinner and Movie.
There’s no shame in taking this classic out for a spin. If the only films you saw in the theater last year came with a PG rating, you’ll enjoy the adult-y-ness of a great drama and a dinner where you don’t have to cut up anyone else’s meat.
Fancy Dress Date.
Put on your finest clothes and go to town! Try one of the area’s top restaurants. Pretend you’re a Food Network critic and discuss your opinions.
There’s nothing like the stage. You’ve probably thought about attending a live show but never gotten around to it. Plan it. Do it!
Plan a photo scavenger hunt with another couple. Each team (couple) has to complete the list before meeting for dinner. First to the restaurant wins! Loser buys dessert!
Enjoy the benefits of massage and the skilled hands of a massage therapist together for a relaxing way to connect.
Sometimes all you have time for is a cup of coffee. Try out one of the local coffee shops. See who picked the better beverage.
Sometimes we have a plan for an at-home date that needs a little more time than we get after the kids go to bed. Sometimes we want a night away.
Total Trilogy Time!
Have you ever wanted to watch the entire trilogy of your favorite multi-part movie in one day? If it’s something you both love, why not go all out and make a date of it!
Bust out the sleeping bags and popcorn! Set up camp in your living room. Put on your pajamas and get ready for the best game of Truth or Dare you’ve ever played.
Plan a date away from home. We take an overnight trip about once a year even if we can’t go anywhere far. Staying in a hotel really clears your head of your daily responsibilities.
Save this for when the kids are gone or they’ll get jealous. Bust out the glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets and more. Try a black light. Challenge yourselves to eat dessert in the dark. Put on some dance music and go crazy.
Movie Theme Night.
Pick a movie and go all out with the theme! Cook the food from the country where the movie takes place. Decorate your room. Costumes? Up to you! Go as big or small as you like. The point is to make it special and fun. Do the planning, shopping, and cooking together for an even closer experience.
Planning is Half the Battle!
Congratulations on making an effort to keep your marriage happy and thriving!
Planning it all out in advance will make it so much easier for you to keep up with a regular date night.
If you’ve heard the advice “Date Nights are so important for your marriage,” you’ll appreciate having this taken care of.
If it seems like another task to do, or one more thing to keep up with, I’d encourage you to read this post. Take the pressure off, Sister. Enjoy your man!
You’re all so creative and awesome, I’ll bet you even have some more ideas than I have! I’d love to hear your ideas, or how dates have blessed your marriage! Comment below!
Roses and chocolate-dipped strawberries,