DATE NIGHT: At Home, Cheap, and Romantic. IT IS POSSIBLE!
What more could you ask for?
Date nights don’t come often enough for most of us. Why is that? Are we tired? Too busy? Kids always around? Too expensive? While these are realistic issues that majority of people face, I have another question for you, how important is your relationship with your significant other? We make time for soccer practice, drill team tryouts, or hair appointments, why not our spouses?
Date nights don’t have to be some huge drawn out evening, with activities, expensive meals, and a babysitter. If we wait for the perfect timing, we won’t be on a date until after the kids leave for college! When people say “it’s the thought that counts” they’re right! A date night can be done at home, cheaply, and it can be done during the week or weekend with kids present or absent. What matters most here is the thought put into the evening. When your partner sees the time and thought you took it will mean just as much to them as a grand gesture because you took the time and thought of them!
For a good date night here are a few things to remember:
Mood Lighting – It doesn’t matter if the candle is 3 years old, half burned, pumpkin spice scented and leftover from fall. Light it. If you have some Christmas lights, plug them in too! It shows effort and it also can immediately set the mood for a calm and romantic evening. Turn off the big lights and leave them off for the rest of the evening. According to Candlehome.com “Candles are the easiest way to create instant romance. The music can be perfect and the food divine, but if the bright lights are on, the feeling is less magical and romantic.”
Music – have something playing soft in the background, a simple Pandora list will do. If you have the ability, maybe play your song that you danced to at your wedding, or select a playlist from another time in your relationship that will bring memories flooding back. Who knows, some spontaneous dancing may happen. How romantic would that be?!
Comfort – Time to collect all the pillows and blankets you have in the house. Fill up the couch or floor with the blankets and pillows and arrange them in a cute way. Again, this shows effort and thought. It also allows for you and your partner to cuddle up and promotes touching and snuggling. One of my husband’s favorite things is when we make a pallet on the floor and watch a movie together. It is simple but a lot of fun!
Clean The House – After all the work you have put into setting the mood with music, lights and pillows, don’t let the romantic setting get ruined by a huge load of dirty laundry waiting to be folded or dirty dishes in the sink waiting to get washed. A messy house will take away from the night because you will be thinking about needing to get them done! I like to set a clock of twenty minutes and run around like a mad-woman cleaning up as much as I can in that time. Usually I can get the whole house done!
*NOTE: We at this point have not spent a penny and our home looks cozy and the mood is set!
Meal – Most dates revolve around a meal. There’s so much laughter and good conversation that can be shared over a meal with someone! Now it’s time to spend a little money, but it doesn’t have to be a lot. Think of your partner’s favorite meal and make/get that for them. Here again, the main point is the thought you put into this. If your partner’s favorite meal on the face of the planet is Taco Bell, then go get your honey some Crunch Wraps! My husband loves a good steak, salad, baked potatoes and chocolate cake. So I take the time to make his favorite meal. This included buying charcoal and grilling his steak, spending two hours baking his potatoes, and taking time baking him a homemade chocolate cake. Now not everyone has time like that everyday, I just happened to have extra time that day. If you don’t it’s ok! Just do what you can with the time you can. The main point here is to show your partner that you took time to think about them and make something just for them.
Plan For The Kids – Now this is where it gets tricky. Figure something out for the kids. If your parents live down the street maybe plan on having them go down to their house for the evening. If not, it’s ok. WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK! If you have older kids let them have a special night of their own. Set up a TV in their room with their favorite movie, use whatever blankets you have left over and let them make a pallet in their bedroom and order them a pizza. DONE! If you have much older kids, let them invite a friend over and hang out upstairs, they are pretty good at entertaining themselves. Now the tricky part will be if you have little ones. We have a 1 1/2 year old. There are just not a lot of options, which in lies the problem of date night. What we have done is plan a date night late at night after he is asleep! This works well for weekends, but not great during the week. We have included him somewhat as well. He sits and has dinner with us, and has even jumped into the pile of pillows and blankets and snuggled up with us as we watched a movie. The minute he falls asleep, up into his crib he goes and we continue with our date night. Wearing him out in advance is a trick to help him fall asleep early. I may go to the park that afternoon before dinner to make sure he has gotten all the wiggles out!
Get Cute – Now, first, everyone is beautiful and doesn’t need makeup and clothes to make you beautiful. If anything, YOU make the clothes pretty not the other way around. But now is the time to make yourself feel beautiful. If that’s wearing yoga pants, with an old sweatshirt with a messy bun and clean face DO IT. If you want to go all out and curl your hair, get on a dress, and contour, GET IT GIRL. Confidence is key here! Your partner will walk in, get a sense for the mood, see dinner on the table lit by candlelight, notices the kids are occupied, and BOOM, their beautiful spouse standing there ready to spend the evening with them. Be confident in who you are and they will find you even more beautiful!
Surprise – Now it’s up to you if you want to surprise your spouse, but my husband doesn’t enjoy surprises so I don’t surprise him anymore (learned my lesson from the WORST surprise party ever). Mentioning to him that I have something special planned for that evening that prepares him coming home ready to devote his time to me. Sometimes he comes home needing to work or made plans to do something. I want him to know what I am thinking so we can be on the same page and maybe even he will walk in excited for the night! Letting him in on it sets you up for success.
Another thing to consider; you may want to plan an activity for you to do. My husband and I love renting movies on our Apple TV, so I plan a special movie to rent. If you guys enjoy games or reading go for it! You could also check out this list for some fun games to play with your spouse.
So now, we have the house clean, smelling good and looking good with candles and lights, soft music playing, a place set for a cozy night, comfort food waiting, the kids are occupied and you are looking fine as all get out, let the perfect night at home begin! Spend time investing in your partner. You started this crazy busy life with them, remember why. In the end when the kids have left and you retire from work, it will be just you two again. Don’t wait until life settles down, don’t wait for the perfect moment, don’t wait because you may not get the chance later. You don’t want to have to relearn each other once the house is empty. Make each other a priority RIGHT NOW and don’t wait.
In the words of John Legend, “I’m going to love you now, like it’s all I have.”