While I was growing up, I discovered that the parents of a close friend of mine went on a weekly date-night. At the time I simply thought that this was a wonderful practice and felt confused by the fact that most other couples, including my own parents, did not incorporate such a practice into their weekly routine. Since that time, my position on the subject has evolved slightly. While I still hold to the view that regular date-nights are a wonderful and vitalizing practice for a relationship, I have become far more familiar with the obstacles and struggles that impede many couples in implementing such a practice.
Whether it’s struggling to get something on the calendar, sorting out the details and logistics, or finding a sitter, there never seems to be a shortage of hurdles between us and date-night. And even when we are able to manage our way through each of these trials, we are still left with perhaps the most challenging task of all – deciding what to actually do!
Throughout a relationship, dates that once felt connecting and fun can begin to feel redundant and routine. A date that once was guaranteed to liven things up in the relationship may now feel more like a rinse-and-repeat from the last time. So how can you make that time you fight so desperately for on behalf of your relationship really feel connecting?
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make dates feel special and connecting again is by doing something different. And right about now you might be thinking – We’ve already struggled through the whole obstacle course you mentioned earlier and now you want us to be creative? Well, don’t worry! I’ve compiled a list of 20 date ideas, fitting into 5 distinct categories, to relieve some of the pressure and jump start the creative process for your next date night.
1. Visit your local thrift store with a spending limit of $10-$15 each and pick out each other’s outfit to wear for dinner. The wackier the better!
2. Have a “progressive dinner” throughout your neighborhood. Have an appetizer at one restaurant, the main dish at another, and something sweet at another.
3. Sign up for a cooking class and learn to prepare a new dish together, or perhaps a favorite dish.
4. Visit a local brewery, distillery, or cafe that supplies board games to play while sharing a drink.
1. Kick the day off with an early outing to your favorite, or a new, place for coffee and breakfast.
2. Seek out a local farmer’s market and explore what the vendors are providing and how you might be able to source some of your goods from them.
3. Take a short road trip and explore a new or nearby neighborhood/town
4. Take an afternoon off of work and go see a matinee movie together before returning home for the evening.
Low/No Cost Dates
1. Drive out of the city a bit to watch the sunset and stick around for some stargazing.
2. Find a cause that you both feel passionate about and devote your next date to volunteering to serve the cause in some way.
3. Take a walk through a nearby park, nature preserve, or arboretum. During your visit, see who is able to correctly identify the most living creatures, both plants and animals alike.
4. Visit a free, cheap, or donation based museum or art gallery.
1. Pop some popcorn, pick a genre or series, and have a movie marathon.
2. Pull out the shovels and trowels and find a spot to plant a garden, or tend to a garden that has already been planted.
3. Connect with your inner Picasso and do finger painting portraits of one another.
4. Put your patience to the test by working on a puzzle together. The higher the piece count the more times you can revisit this date to complete the challenge.
1. Soak up a clear sky together by getting outside a going on a hike, going rock climbing (for the more adventurous types), or cross-country skiing (depending on the season).
2. Imagine you are a couple of kids again and spend a date playing hide and seek, going bowling, or roller skating.
3. Check out an exercise class that neither of you have attended before, or go for a gentle jog around your neighborhood.
4. Visit a nearby lake or river and rent a couple of kayaks or paddle boards and spend some time floating on the water together.
If after reviewing this list you find that you still feel stumped, perhaps visit a website like Pinterest to continue brainstorming ideas. A great way to not forget or lose good ideas could be to write them down and stick them in a jar for later reference. Enjoy your future adventures together!