Let’s start with the first question you’re asking:
Why would you ever consider a home date night?
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a huge fan of dates away from home. But when you have 4 kids and a husband enrolled in seminary ($$$), you either stop dating each other, orrrrr…you look for other options. We chose the latter.
Over the past 9 years of marriage, my husband and I have become rather proficient in the realm of home date nights. Although we jokingly disagree on the name (he calls it couple’s night because it sounds nicer; I call it home date night because I think it sounds strange and that totally jives with my personality), we agree on the most important thing:
Regular time together is vital for our marriage’s growth.
I’ll take it a step further. It’s not just about having time together or even time alone together. It’s about having time alone when we’re focusing on building our relationship by talking and listening. To be honest, we also do a great deal of laughing.
Since the term “date night” can conjure up a host of ideas and expectations…
Let me tell you what we do:
- Our version of “regular” is approximately once a week.
- Our time slot is usually 2ish hours lasting from when we put our kids to bed until Jonathan begins his nightly studying.
So here’s how it works:
Toward the beginning of the week, Jonathan and I look at our schedules and plan out a night for our home date/couple’s night. Unless we have other obligations, it usually falls on a Friday or Saturday night because I like having something to look forward to at the end of the week.
Sometimes we have something specific we want to do, but mostly…
Our dates have 3 main components:
- Talking: We have 4 children, 3 of whom can talk. While we have conversations when our kids are awake, it is so much easier to talk with each other when there aren’t any interruptions. So talking is one of our favorite things to do together on date nights. We talk about each other, Jonathan’s studying, what we’re reading/learning, new ideas we’re pondering, etc.
I bought some conversation cards last year, and we’ve loved working through them on date nights and road trips. One question we really enjoyed was: “Talk about marriages you admire. What do you like about them?”
- Food: I love having some special food or drink on date night. Recently, I found a mini cast iron skillet, so I’ve made a skillet cookie for our dates. I’ve made homemade popcorn, toasted marshmallow hot chocolate, brownies, ice cream, goat cheese and crackers, hummus and chips, and chocolate chip cookies. I like to choose something to enjoy together just to make date night extra special.
- Fun: Full disclosure: As I’ve been working on this post, I’ve realized that we may be a bit on the boring side. Our date nights are primarily composed of talking and food. We typically have fun when we’re talking with each other unless there’s some heavy topic to discuss. And what’s not fun about eating?
But on some occasions, we also include another activity such as:
- reading a marriage book
- watching a cooking show
- playing games (Boggle, Guess Who, and Scrabble are our faves.)
To be totally honest, “reading a marriage book” is not necessarily under the fun category. But it is something we do on occasion, so I decided to include it in the activity section of this post. Reading marriage books regularly has been helpful as we seek to grow and develop in our marriage. It’s like getting valuable marriage counseling from awesome people, only it’s FREE! Here’s a list of marriage books we’ve read and enjoyed.
So how about you?
Have you ever tried a home date night? What are some other ways you work to build your marriage?