Our Top 10 Favorite Stay-at-Home Date Nights

January 5, 2011

Date Night.  When was the last time you and your hubby had one?  If you’re anything like us sometimes actually getting out of the house is the hardest thing in the world.  Last Spring and Summer when I was super sick from my pregnancy I’m thinking we didn’t leave the house more than maybe once a week and I mean period–not just for date nights!  It was hard enough for me just to get to work every day, much less do anything extra!

Last week Tim and I were talking about our Friday night date nights and we realized that we hadn’t been on a date night in all of Luke’s life (he’s 3 1/2 months old!).  Part of the reason for that is that when he was a newborn we only really left the house to go to church and to the doctor.  Another part of the reason for that is that we don’t have a lot of money.  Yet another part of the reason for that is that we don’t have many people to watch Luke.  But the biggest reason that we haven’t had more than a handful of date nights in the last year is because we’ve lost our creativity!!!

Hear me when I say this (ok, read me when I write this): YOU DO NOT NEED TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL DATE NIGHT!!!

ok, first thing’s first:

A Disclaimer

Many people would say that a couple needs to have a regular date night in order to excite romance into their lives.  They would say that without a date night your relationship will fail on account of the lack of romance in said relationship.  This is ridiculous.  No marriage ever failed because of a lack of date nights.  On the flip side I feel fairly confident in saying that no marriage ever succeeded purely because of a weekly date night habit.

As Paul David Tripp teaches in his fantastic book, What Did You Expect?, marriage problems are always worship problems–not a problem with a lack of romance. We were created to worship God.  However, whether you’re actively worshiping the Lord or not, you are worshiping something–usually we worship ourselves when we’re not worshiping the Lord.  “What we worship rules our hearts and what is in our hearts shapes our words and behavior, which shapes and influences our relationships. Relationship problems are heart problems and heart problems are worship problems.”

You will not have the relationship with your spouse that you desire to have unless you are worshiping at the feet of Christ and not yourself.  Get your relationship with the Lord right, and all other relationships in your life, including the one you have with your husband, will fall into place.

So why even take the energy to have a date night?

All that being said, this is a post about date nights!  I believe that a regular date night can greatly intensify an already healthy, loving, worshipful marriage.  It is so worth the energy after a hectic week to be able and sit down and just breathe with the man you love.  It’s important to have time for just the two of you.  How can you be as close as you want to be with your spouse if you don’t spend one-on-one time with him!?

When we’re on a date night we aren’t allowed to talk about the house, or work, or Luke, or even our plans for the upcoming week (all that’s saved for our Symphony Night, which I really should blog about later!).  During a date night we just enjoy each others company, and to quote an over-used cliché: we just live in the moment–like we did when we were dating!  It’s refreshing and it always rejuvenates our love for one another!

If having a weekly date night seems impossible, then go for every other week.  If you can’t imagine who you’d get to watch your kids or how you’d pay them, find another couple who are serious about their time together and switch off every other week–this week you watch their kids while they go out, next week they watch yours while you go out, and back and forth.  I am positive that the road block that you think is in front of you (the one that’s keeping you from having this special time with your husband) can easily be removed–I believe that this time is important to God and that He will bless your efforts to have date nights by making them possible.

Our Top 10 Favorite Stay-at-Home Date Nights

Which brings me to my point: Sometimes an Out-on-the-Town Date Night just isn’t going to happen.  Maybe the kids are sick.  Maybe you’re just not feeling it.  Maybe you can’t find a babysitter.  Maybe you don’t have enough money in the budget to go out.  Whatever the reason, don’t forgo your regular date night because of lame excuses (as we have been)!!!  There are plenty of cheap, fun, romantic, stay-at-home things to do:

As you read through this list of stay-at-home date nights most of these ideas were things my sweet husband did for me in the past, and I thought it would be important for you know that during almost our entire second year of marriage Tim went to school full-time (without working) while I worked at the high school, which allowed him to set these things up during the day before I got home.

10. A Walk & A Picnic

You don’t have to do anything extraordinary to constitute a date night (or day).  It’s often when we’ve planned the least that we’ve had the most fun together.  Grab your walking shoes, a couple of sandwiches, and a blanket, and go walk around your neighborhood.  I’m sure there’s a patch of public grass somewhere to sit down on and enjoy your sandwiches.  And if there’s not–use that big patch of grass in your own backyard!  Don’t worry about the kids, either.  If they’re at home, then take a baby monitor and only walk as far as it reaches.  Or skip the walk and just enjoy your back or front yard! 

9. Game & Coffee Night (or Tea Night)

Ok, I understand that not everyone loves a good board game.  So make it a Card Game & Coffee Night or a Newlywed Game & Coffee Night.  On our anniversary this past year, swinging outside on our hanging chairs, sipping tea with our baby monitor next to us, Tim and I went through a list of Newlywed Game questions.  We didn’t play exactly the way we were supposed to, but it was so much fun to see how much we knew about each other and to learn new things, too!  Here’s the list we used, but just Google, “Newlywed Game questions” and you’ll get more questions than you could ask in one evening!  Some of the questions are kind of ridiculous and we definitely skipped a few of them, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water–most of these questions are a ton of fun!

Here’s some good two-player board games and some good two-player card games!  For more, just Google, “Two-player board games” or “Two-player card games.”  Google is your friend!

8. Cook Together

Somebody has to cook dinner, right?  If your husband likes to cook, then choose his favorite dinner and cook it with him, or pick something he likes to cook–like bar-b-que!  Go stand out there by the grill with him!  Then eat your meal by candlelight or fire-place light or start up your fire pit and enjoy it outside!

7. Take a Trip to the Beach

Make your living room or bedroom or even bathroom the beach!  Fill bowls or votive holders or vases with sand and/or seashells.  Find some audio of waves crashing on a shore to play in the background (try this site where you can stream almost 35 minutes of white noise that sounds like waves!).  Wear your bathing suits and sip lemonade (or water with lemons for a healthier treat) while sitting on a beach towel or while soaking in the tub!  Eating some watermelon might be nice, too!

6. Movies & Popcorn

This, I think, is our favorite no-stress stay-at-home date night.  If you don’t have to wake up early the next morning make it a movie marathon night–pick a trilogy or a theme and watch a few movies back to back!  Choose something your husband will be excited about (i.e. Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or some Rocky movies–yuck!).  Pop some popcorn (we love our air popper) and snuggle up on the couch.  If you have a TV in your bedroom or a laptop that you can put at the end of the bed, snuggle up in bed!  Something to remember: You don’t have to watch every movie you set out to watch if you get tired! :)  (My sweet sister-in-law recently did this for her hubby and they ate ice cream–his favorite–instead of popcorn–think about what your husband would most enjoy.)

5. Take a Trip to ______!

This is a twist on a traditional movie night.  Pick a country you and your hubby have always wanted to travel to.  Let’s say Italy.  Pick an Italian meal to fix him, rent an Italian movie, play some Italian music from Pandora during dinner, maybe even print off some Italian looking photos to decorate the dinning room with, and welcome him to Italy!

4. The Corner Bistro

This is a great after-the-kids-go-down date night, but you’ll need to set up before your husband comes home and then keep him from going outside!  Tim did this for me when we lived in an apartment on the second floor (however I’m sure this would work on a patio or deck, too).  ;)  After dinner one night Tim took me out to our balcony where he had put our two chairs real close together and there was a make-shift little table covered in red fabric from our wedding.  There were also lit candles all over the place.  He had just made coffee for us and so he put the coffee on the little table.  There may have been some biscotti involved as well.  It was cold and rainy that night so he had our little hibachi grill going and our bamboo cover pulled down to separate us from the rest of the world.  We just sat there forever enjoying each others company in our little space listening to the rain.  It was a great time. <3

3. A Backyard Dream Date

My sister-in-law, Claire, gave me this great idea: One night Claire blew up their blow-up mattress and put it outside in their back yard.  She fixed the bed up all pretty and lay candles all over the place.  She fixed her husband’s favorite dessert and they enjoyed each others company while watching the stars.  So romantic!

2. Bring the Restaurant to You

Another great night to remember!  One afternoon when I got home from work there was a very official looking sign on the door.  It read something like, “Welcome to Mambo Italiano Restaurant.”  Inside Tim had moved our living room furniture into our tiny dinning room and set up our dinning room table in the middle of our much larger living room.  There were only two chairs, one at each short side of the table (Beauty & the Beast style) and the table was set very elegantly for two.  It smelled amazing and there were many candles lit and the Rat Pack was singing songs, including “Mambo Italiano,” from Tim’s laptop.  Tim had made an actual menu that was laying on top of the plates with the description of the salad, appetizer, entrée, and dessert that he had made for the evening.  It was great.  And, if I remember correctly, the appetizer was a frozen TGI Friday’s appetizer.  My point is you don’t have to cook the most amazing meal ever–make it easy on yourself!  It was so much fun and still so fancy!

1. Camping Under the Ceiling

This is my most favorite stay-at-home date night we’ve ever done.  In fact, I believe we’ve done this one twice!  Each time I came home to all our sheets and blankets hanging from the ceiling making a little fortress-tent out of our living room!  Tim had put up little glow-in-the-dark stars all over the walls and ceiling and there was a pallet on the floor.  Tim had also bought a cardboard mini planetarium that projected the stars all over our wall and ceiling!  The second time he had the fire-place going–it really felt like we were camping!  I think we even roasted marshmallows and had s’mores!

So.  There they are: our 10 favorite stay-at-home date night ideas!  The most important thing to remember when planning a stay-at-home date night is to be flexible–no one ever had any fun being all uptight about plans!!!  Man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9)!!!

Also, this has officially convicted us of how lazy we’ve become about setting time aside for just us.  In fact, this Friday we’re going on a real live date night courtesy of some dear friends of ours who have also offered to watch our little man–what a blessing!  I can’t wait!

Do you have any great stay-at-home date night ideas!?  Share them with us all!!!


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