Today is my birthday! Huzzah! Birthdays are supposed to be fun. It’s a day all to yourself, on which you get gifts and people spoil you and your husband take you out to dinner. When times are tight, however, it can be tempting to find the celebrations less than fun. It’s not hard to feel, sometimes, as though stuff = happiness, and if we can’t afford the stuff, we can’t buy happiness.
That is half true: you can’t buy happiness. You have to find it, and you need to invest time in doing so. All the marriage experts advise us to “date our mates“, but sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how to go on a date when you have kids, and very little else ;). So, here are my
Top 10 Tips for a FABULOUS Date Night
– no matter how tight your budget is.
Sleep overs rock
First things first: tonight is about you and him. Whether you’re staying in or going out, having a reliable, trustworthy person watching your angels will make the night a lot more fun for you. If you choose your babysitter well, the kids will be so excited to go, they’ll think it’s all about them! Everyone wins. We often call on my loving sister, who adores the girls and also gives them a night of fun and laughter while we’re out.
You’re making supper anyway, right? Add a couple of candles, some flowers and a little music, and it’s a date. Turn off the TV (and put away the computers), and spend some time reconnecting with your spouse.
We always eat less when we get take-aways than we do when we sit down in a restaurant. In fact, my very favourite way to spend Date Night is to split a Chetty’s Chicken Curry with my man – at home.
Coffee shop it
If you can run to it, it really is fun to get a little dressed up and go somewhere nice. Coffee shops often have a lovely ambience, and for some reason bought coffee always tastes nicer, no matter how good my at-home brand may be. There’s no need to order a bang up meal with cake and lots to drink. A cup or two of coffee (find a pace that does bottomless!) provides a sense of luxurious leisure, and a stress-free zone to catch up with your man.
Desserts: stressed spelled backwards for a good reason!
Perhaps you could just go out for a piece of cake (if you’re not gluten intolerant 😉 ) or some fruit salad. Frozen yoghurt or smoothies or good, old-fashioned ice cream. “Date” doesn’t have to mean “dinner”. And let’s be honest, aren’t desserts the whole point, after all?
Movies at home (or YouTube)
Movies are loads of fun. Papa Bear and I love a rollicking action flick or a side-splitting comedy. We often play something light in the background while we work at night. Date night is an opportunity to engage in the movie (and each other) a little more, without the distractions of work and kids and technology. If you have the bandwidth, look up comedians on YouTube and explore new territory. Enjoy laughing together, holding hands and just being together.
Picnics and outings
A picnic costs nothing. Well, nothing more than lunch, which you were going to have anyway. There’s little in the world to compare to the happy ease of sitting outside, enjoying the gorgeous weather and just being.
Scrabble. Cranium. 30 Seconds. The art of combat is ignited, battles are fought and won (by me!) and in the process we laugh and chat and reconnect.
Is there something you both feel passionate about? Why not take a couple of hours to make a difference in your community, and at the same time get closer to one another? It’ll be fun!
We’ve found that any night that sees the kids in bed and us together – maybe on the couch sharing a cup of cocoa, or sitting at the desk together while we both work, with comedy on in the background, can be “Date Night” if you choose to see it that way. Quality time is a love language because it really is a way to express love – even if not a word is spoken.
The real key to having successful dates on a regular basis is to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. View the challenges as part of the adventure. View the easy patches as a welcome (and deserved) reprieve. Above all, laugh together, and enjoy one another.
And don’t forget to DATE YOUR MATE as often as you can.
Lots of love,