“What? That’s boring!”
Those above words came right out of my own mouth when someone suggested I have a weekly date with my husband at home in order to better balance my life with family and a home based business.
Let’s back up a little bit here. Anyone who has a job or kids, knows that time can fly by in the blink of an eye, and before we know it, weeks and sometimes months have passed without a date night. That was us. Our excuse was that since we both ran our own businesses, mine from home, and his with flexible hours, we saw more of each other than the average couple. True…BUT…what kind of quality time were we spending together?
Our date nights consisted of going grocery shopping together (a real treat without kids, let me tell you), followed by dinner. I can’t tell you how many times we planned for a movie on top of that (a real triple whammy), but when the clock said 8:45, we were just too tired to go.
At one point in my business, I had realized that the time I was putting into my work was taking away from the time I was spending with my husband. I told myself that because he was so understanding about what I did, that he didn’t mind, and he didn’t for the first few months. But, there’s a point where husbands and wives can become roommates if you don’t put in the time, and that’s what was happening to us.
When thinking about going on a date, the idea that a night out is expensive can cross the mind a few times. Add a babysitter on top of that, and this good ol’ Dutch girl starts averaging out what we might spend and what we could do with that money instead, so it gets kiboshed pretty quickly.
What we recognized though, was that dates don’t have to be expensive to be good dates. It’s not about where we go, how fancy our dinner is, what we wear or who we see. Dates are about spending time together and completely unplugging from the world, so we committed to making a weekly date night. Every Thursday night we put the girls to bed, close the laptop, put the phones away, and just spend time together to reconnect.
Here are a few of our date ideas that can be enjoyed at home, and just about at zero added cost:
- Make a late dinner together and enjoy it with a glass of wine and REAL conversation (without the children throwing noodles or suddenly needing to have something wiped – every.single.time).
- Watch a movie and hold hands while sitting next to each other instead of lounging on two different sides of the sectional.
- Play a board game (and bet a few bucks on it if you’re willing). The friendly wager makes for hilarious competition. I’ve won a foot rub or two in my lifetime.
- Make a vision board together and set goals for the future. Chatting about your ideas for the future, where you want to travel to, what you want to accomplish personally and as a family can be a really powerful tool for connection. This is a great way to know you’re both on a solid path for the future, plus, it usually adds to another level of understanding about what your partner wants in life and how you can support them.
- Ask “first date questions”. I bet you’ll be surprised to realize how many things you didn’t know about your partner, or had forgotten about. What did they want to be when they grew up? If they could sit with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
- Dance. Slow, or fast, but I bet you haven’t danced together in a while.
- Draw pictures of each other. This can be just downright hilarious, or insulting.
- Have a picnic in your living room, TV off, enjoying the level of cuteness you just reached as a couple.
- Have a bubble bath.
- Do the “5 Love Languages” test online. This test did WONDERS for us, took 10 minutes (tops) but gave us the answers for a lifetime of happiness in marriage!
- Bake. Wear an apron. Chosen attire underneath is up to you.
- Take pictures of each other. As you commit to your weekly dates, keep these pictures each week to remember the moments you’ve created together, and look back at how young you once were together, and look ahead at the beautiful laugh lines you will showcase because of the life you’ve built.
Here’s the real dinger, my friends.
We do these things. We cook, bake, eat, watch TV, dream, and play, but the #1 thing that has helped our relationship grow to higher levels is adding communication to whatever we are doing. In a world filled with stimulation, the art of communication is easily lost. Compliment each other. Tell your spouse what you admire most about them. What makes them a great parent? What is their greatest quality? What made you fall in love with them?Dating at home is easy, affordable, and the most beautiful way to be without makeup, in the glow of the life you’ve built, dreaming of the next chapters you will write together.
The picture above is one we took together at home, girls napping, an hour to ourselves. Raw, real, together. Chairs on the table because our toddler is a climber. Laundry piled high. Dust bunnies in corners. Together. Forever.