Gail and I have long advocated weekly date times—especially for parents of young children. Busy parents know they need it and like the idea of a date away from the kids. The reality is most don’t make it happen because they’re too tired or busy.
And if they are willing to carve out the time, a lack of discretionary money may be a hindrance. Couples often get discouraged by the false idea that dates have to be expensive.
If you’re needing permission to make time together with your spouse regularly, consider this your permission. If you feel you don’t have time, deep down you know you could make time and know it will be worth it. If it’s a matter of being too tired, you’ll have sufficient motivation by choosing a date idea that’s recharging and energizing for you.
And if it’s about money, keep reading. Gail and I have always found time together and we’ve always been creative so that money wasn’t the determining factor.
The best dates are those doing something together that you both enjoy and that allows for conversation. So, there’s obviously an endless number of options. But here are a few general ideas to get you thinking and to build upon.
- Picnics. Any meal, any time of year. The more creative and unique, the better. You can prepare your own meal, snack, favorite drinks and create your own private dining room any where. Picnics can be great surprises as well. My favorite picnic memory is that of Gail surprising me at the office and kidnapping me over the lunch hour for a picnic in a nearby park.
Walks. Talk while walking through a favorite park, community green belt trail, downtown area, or even your own extended neighborhood. It’s a great de-stressor and you’re both getting some exercise in as a bonus. Even 20-30 minutes can be a great mini-date.
Drives. I feel old saying this because I remember Sunday afternoon drives with my grandparents. But there can be something very relaxing and enjoyable about a leisurely drive without having an agenda or definite destination. Explore new parts of the community. Find a scenic route. Stop at shops or points of interest along the way. Drives can also be combined with other date ideas such as picnics, coffee shops, walks, etc.
Classes. Attend a class together on something you’re already interested in or to learn something new. It could be a one-off class or a series like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Check Eventbrite for local classes that may be interesting to both of you. As a wrap-up to your date, discuss it over your favorite drink or snack.
Simple treats. A date doesn’t have to include a full dinner out. It can be simply getting coffee or tea and a dessert. There are so many great coffee and tea shops available. Find one with a favorite ambience or courtyard. A live band in the background is a bonus.
Community events. Check your city park and public gathering area schedules for free concerts, art shows, and exercise classes on the lawn. Many offer food trucks onsite if you want to take advantage of that. Strolling through local farmer’s markets make for another great date.
Home-bound. Dates don’t have to be away from home. Instead of getting a sitter for the kids then leaving home, send your kids to grandparents for a sleepover. Enjoy the privacy and comfort of your own home. Use your imagination.
You and your spouse need and deserve regular, quality time together to talk while doing something fun. It won’t happen automatically so decide today when you’re getting together this week. Determine what you’re going to do or at least who’s responsible for choosing the activity. Make a plan for who’s going to arrange for the kids (Dad, extra bonus points if you own this part). Then make it happen—and make it a weekly habit.
Question: What is a favorite low-cost date of yours? Share your answer in the comments below.