by Tricia Cunningham, MA, LPC
When is ‘spending time together’ considered a ‘date’? In my opinion, a date can be anything from a romantic dinner out, to going on a walk together, as long as both people have the mindset that the event is for the purpose of connecting emotionally.
Last week, my husband asked if I wanted to go out on a date. It was a cold night, so we put our coats on and got in the car, and started driving. We were planning on going to a movie and out to dinner, but we were enjoying our conversation in the car so much, that we ended up going through a Starbucks drive-through, ordering our favorite lattes, and then drove around ritzy neighborhoods looking at the homes for sale, talking the whole time. In the fourteen years of marriage, we’ve done expensive dates and cheap dates, and to me, the cost doesn’t matter nearly as much as how we feel when we’re together. That night we spent a total of $8.00 on our lattes, and still came home feeling like a couple of college kids in love.
Dates can rejuvenate your relationship, and taking specific time for just the two of you can be invaluable…and they don’t even have to cost anything.
The holidays tend to take a bit out of our checking accounts, so here are some inexpensive date ideas that you can do to stay connected through this busy season.
Date Preparation Tips:
- Put a little effort into the experience. You might want to fix yourself up a little, write a note, or just think about how you want your attitude to be while you’re together. If you want your spouse to enjoy being with you, make your attitude enjoyable.
- Agree not to argue on your date. Unless you’re going out for the purpose of resolving a conflict, try to ensure that your dates remain positive. If a potential conflict comes up while you’re out, and it’s not a huge deal, try to wait until the next day to discuss it, so that the positive memory of the date isn’t tainted with an argument.
- Try to make arrangements so that the children are not with you on your date. On your date, you want to be able to give your spouse your undivided attention, which is very difficult to do if the children are present.
14 Inexpensive Date Ideas:
- Put your favorite hot beverage into a ‘to-go’ cup, bundle up, and go on a walk together at a nearby park.
- Put the kids to bed, and set out: a blanket, drinks, snacks, and candles on the living room floor. Either watch a movie, listen to music, or just talk.
- Go to a local museum or art gallery and look around, sharing with one another which items or pieces of art you like and don’t like.
- Go to an expensive restaurant after you’ve eaten at home, and just order dessert and coffee.
- Light candles in your bedroom, get a bottle of warm massage oil, and give each other massages.
- Go to a local coffee shop together and talk about all the ways in which each of you feel blessed these days, as well as your hopes and dreams for the future.
- Look through a cookbook, pick out a picture of a delicious looking meal or dessert, then make it together.
- Play scrabble together, or do a crossword puzzle.
- Go to a community play or a school concert.
- Build a snowman together if you’re lucky enough to get snow during this season.
- Get up early on a Saturday morning, make breakfast together, have breakfast in bed, then spend some time snuggling.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, set out a blanket, play music, make a fire, and make S’mores in the fireplace.
- Read a relationship book outloud to one another. (The DNA of Relationships is a good one!)
- If you don’t already have a health club membership, go to a local health club, see if they’ll let you have a one-day pass, and work out together, swim or just sit in the hot tub together.