I’m a big fan of date night — right up until the moment I remember I have to find a babysitter.
The last time we tried to grab dinner and a movie, we had to take the sitter’s fee out of the kids’ college fund because child care is now listed among Fortune 500’s 20 Biggest Stock Gainers. When I think of all the things we could be doing with my husband’s hard-earned money rather than hiring the Nanny CEO, I automatically default to take out sushi, flannel pj’s, and a Red Box flick.
Nothing says “I love you” like faded plaid and wasabi, but we can all agree that prioritizing a regular date night is key to enjoying a successful relationship?
All too often, we let the expense of dinner, a movie, and the babysitter deter us from spending quality time with our spouse. But with a little creativity, preparation, and thoughtfulness, date night can once again become a much anticipated part of your week right from the comfort of your own home.
At-Home Spa Date Night
A few years ago, my husband and I were poor church-planters, surviving on charity and goldfish crackers, when I stumbled across an at-home date night idea. It took some finesse in the art of persuasion, but somehow I convinced my sweetheart to participate with me in a makeshift spa experience. I sent Clark a hand-written appointment confirmation card early in the week with a menu of all the services my “date spa” had to offer.
One Friday night after the kids went to sleep, I lit every votive in the house and transformed our living room into a scene from Spa Magazine with fresh towels and scattered rose petals. With a little help from the YouTube Zen station, we were transported into a more relaxing and adventurous mood.
Spa Night Ingredients:
- Fresh towels
- Instrumental playlist (create your own or search Pandora or YouTube for mood music suggestions)
- Fresh flowers
- Massage lotion
- Bath salts or scented bubble bath
After savoring a meal that would make Roger Mooking cry, we used up every scrub, lotion, hand cream, and drop of hot water in the house. Our At-Home Spa Date Night gave us the chance to take a mid-week deep breath for a few luxurious hours from the comfort of our own home without one of us having to sell plasma to pay the Platinum babysitter. Although he was apprehensive at first, my husband would now agree that this date night ranks in our top five all-time favorite quality times together.
Here are a few more low-budget (or no-budget) date night suggestions that don’t involve smearing avocado on your date’s face:
Each of you should come up with some unique questions you’ve always wanted to know about your spouse. For instance, “What did you love\hate about your first job?” “When have you ever been the most scared or nervous?” “Who would have star ‘you’ in a movie about your life?” Write them down, fold them up, and mix them all together in a bowl. One by one, take turns choosing a question from the bowl until all the questions have been answered. Steer clear of questions about old lovers or anything other topic that could potentially make the date end in quarrel. This is supposed to be fun, not incriminating.
Pick a Culture Night
Blindfold your partner in front of a world map and have him or her point to a random location. Theme your international at-home date around the chosen culture. For instance, if your spouse chooses India, wear a colorful sari and some bangles, listen to some Indian tunes, and prepare a curry-flavored dish. Peruse the foreign films section of your local video store (if you’re lucky to find one still in existence) and rent a movie set in India (with subtitles of course).
Head to a local specialty cheese shop or a chocolatier and stock up on an assortment of gourmet delicacies to conduct your own private tasting. Maybe you are not a wine connoisseur, but with a little help from google, you could probably fake your way through a wine and chocolate pairing. If rich, gourmet foods and imported wines don’t suit your taste (or your budget), you can always take home a variety of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream flavors and sample ’til your heart’s content!
Quality time doesn’t have to be a budget buster. Everything you need to make for a memorable evening is affordably within reach. For starters, take a look around your house for some DIY date night inspiration. A little planning and creativity goes a long way when it comes to investing in the relationship that matters most to you.