Thursday, May 08, 2008

Romancing your husband - Dates

Some people say that to have a healthy marriage you should have date nights. I wouldn't go that far. Many couples throughout history did just fine without "date nights." But they probably still carved time for each other. To take a walk, to talk, to plan, to dream.
How does this romance your husband? Well I can't speak for everyone, but my husband looks forward to our date nights even more than I do. When I'm away from the kids, I am more relaxed and carefree, and I can focus just on him. he can really relax and unwind too. We feel young again. We can do the things that we enjoy without interruption. And I don't have to tell you how date nights with your husband will usually end, especially if the kids aren't home.

Our date nights are easy. We're very blessed to live near Brian's parents, and they enjoy having our kids sleep over one night a week. Obviously this doesn't always happen due to illness and other factors, and sometimes we have work that must be done or a meeting to attend, but usually we have a date.

Now I am very cheap. Having a free babysitter has already eliminated a huge expense, but we still do cheap stuff. A typical date night will find us at Hardees with a buy one get one free thickburger coupon and a shared soda. Then we head home to a DVD rented from the $.99 vending machine in the grocery store or a missed season of a favorite TV show. That was about all that we could do most of the winter because of Brian's health. As his health continues to be in a much-improved state most of the time, we look forward to revisiting some of our older date ideas.

  1. Free outdoor summer concerts, from downtown jazz, to university bands, to bluegrass at someone's home
  2. Heading downtown for ice cream cones and a walk through the park
  3. Many cities, including ours, have free Shakespeare plays in the park
  4. Meeting up with friends for an iced coffee (you can get them for free on May 15 at Dunkin' Donuts)
  5. Going to the lake for a picnic to watch the sun set
  6. Completing a fun project at home
  7. Shopping for a special item, such as patio furniture, or a new outfit.
  8. Art museum concerts or lectures
  9. Tandem biking
  10. Roller blading (I really just put this on here for you, because Brian really doesn't care for it, but he used to do it with me. )
  11. Reading a book or poetry to each other
  12. World music or open mic night at the coffeehouse, another shows documentaries and indie movies

How do I find all of these things?

  1. Many cities have free publications that list local events, newspapers do as well. Post any concert schedules you find inside a cupboard door for easy reference.
  2. Go to your own visitors center and pick up materials - you'll find plenty of things in your area for dates, family nights, and day trips.
  3. Order your own state's visitor guide
  4. Bookmark all of your city's websites, as well as all local towns and other nearby cities, and write any events in your date book. We have a town that has weekly jazz concerts, a state park that has bluegrass concerts, a science center that has folk concerts, a city that has weekly concerts on three different nights within 30 minutes of us - and that's just the short list! Don't forget to bookmark recreation district websites, state park sites, and historical sites.
  5. Keep tabs on your favorite stores. Whole Foods, for example, often has musicians, cooking demonstrations, and wine tastings. Ten Thousand Villages has cultural events.

No babysitter? Try working out a babysitting swap with another couple that you know well. Same night every week, one week you keep their kids, the next they keep yours. Or try working out a deal with a college student - free food and use of the washer and dryer might lower your overall cost. Or maybe a free art or music lesson.

Need some ideas? I love these books:

  1. The little black book of Dating ideas
  2. The Dating Handbook: 2002 Things To Do On a Date

One of our favorite weekend "getaways" ever was a conglomerate of ideas from lots of books. We were newlyweds and pretty broke (but gas was really cheap!). Friday night we covered all of the electronics in the house and turned all of the clocks around and put the watches away. We slept in with a plan to go to Denny's whenever we wanted to eat since they serve breakfast all day, then we went to see a movie because there were several good ones playing, so we knew that we could choose one regardless of the time of our arrival.

Later we played "spy" following a random car at a distance, and when we lost track of it, we just made random turns to see where we would end up. We ended up not far from another city, so we headed to their mall for a ride on the carousel. It was a crazy, very relaxing weekend.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Great ideas! We love a night out...we used to go once a week, but lately it hasn't happened as often! We usually have a nice dinner out or a decaf latte at our local coffehouse or Starbucks. Sometimes, he will surprise me with a shopping trip to get something new. We have gone on bike rides and long walks,too.

I like your ideas!!!