Guess who hasn't had a real date in months. That's right, this at-home-dates-are-easy evangelist. At this point I'm looking back on my brown-bag-date-night-planning self and I want to kick that girl in the knees. Who has time for that kind of stuff? Or the creativity? Or the energy? Need I go on?
The point of the at-home date is that it's easy peasy lemon squeezy. It's the no-fail solution for overspent, exhausted, poor couples everywhere to enjoy a weekly date night. Now. Not 5 years from now when we hope life is more under control. (Spoiler alert: it won't be.)
But we've sort of been slacking. Our go-to entertainment after the kids are in bed is watching a movie from Redbox or catching up with our favorite tv shows on Hulu. There's no planning ahead and no making an effort to make the evening special. We both agree we're tired, so we lounge in sweats and go to bed. It's not pretty. Or anything reminiscent of a date.
So, how do we keep an easy-peasy at-home date night from being lame?
Here are a few date night basics to help get back into a simple date night routine, whether that's going out or staying in.
What makes a date special?
The people.Dating is all about growing closer together, and especially inviting the other person to see us at our best. It's about two people showing up, but it's also about two people playing the role of Date. I remember when the main man and I started dating and I put on make-up, wore flattering clothes and curled my hair. I also wouldn't have dreamed going out with him without brushing my teeth or spritzing on some perfume. Dates don't always need full-on dress up attire. We'd do well to at least fix our hair, brush our teeth, and maybe wear clothes chosen with the other person in mind.
The atmosphere.If we go out, most locations take care of the date night atmosphere for us--low lighting, music, and such. A date night aesthetic can be created at home, too. It can be as simple as making sure things are cleaned up, lighting a candle, and turning on some music.
The conversation.Connecting through conversation doesn't hold the same value for everyone, but it's still an important part of dating. I mean, we can sit in silence to a meal anytime, am I right? Asking questions (some fun, some serious), telling stories (day-to-day stuff or memories), sharing dreams (future plans + what ifs) are all ways to break that silence in a meaningful way. Getting to know each other like we did in those first dates.
The touch.It doesn't take long for a relationship to age to a point that simple touch gets overlooked as physical intimacy. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just take it back to the beginning and recreate the tingles. Hand-grazes, shoulder massages, cheek kisses, breezy cuddles.
The fun.We often plan our date night entertainment as the main focus of the evening, rather than using it as a means to connect on a fun level and make memories. This is usually where themes come in on date idea lists. Again, it doesn't have to be complicated. Playing a simple two-person game (cards, mancala, wii), reminiscing over an old favorite movie, working on something together (guitar, cooking), going on an adventure. We can watch a current movie or catch up on tv any ol' night--we need to reclaim our date nights as something fun and special!
The plan.Knowing the basics--what we'll eat, what we'll do, what we'll wear--is an easy way to be held accountable to keep the evening date-esque. Even if that means putting on sweats and watching a movie, it's a little more romantic when we know that's the intentional plan and not a lazy fall-back.
The details.Sometimes it's the occasional special touch that really sets the evening apart. Using fancy glasses, making a romantic treat (chocolate covered strawberries?), buying flowers or a his + hers gift, plugging in sparkling white lights. This doesn't have to be done every time, but these small touches can make a big impact in our date nights.
The effort.It all comes down to effort. Effort in our appearance for our spouses, effort in our surroundings and creating a date-like mood, effort in planning ahead or adding special touches or speaking the other person's love language.
We can't go wrong with a little effort!
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