With all the running around I do after the kids, prepping lessons and meal plans, managing my business, and making time for some self-care, my relationship with my husband often falls farther and farther down my to-do list. Our relationship is the bedrock that our family stands on, so we’ve started to make more time to spend together purposefully – even if it’s just a simple evening at home. These date nights are wonderful, because you can enjoy them once the kids are tucked into bed, without the need to pay a babysitter or go out for an expensive meal.

  1. Movie night. Since we live in the age of Netflix, it’s easier than ever to “rent” a movie for a night in. This makes an especially fun date if you can find a movie one of you loves but the other has never seen; then switch roles the next time around!
  2. Book club for two. Think of this as low-tech movie night. You can check out the same book from the library and read it separately, then have dinner and discuss it one night after the kids are in bed. Or, my favorite approach: You can read the book together, taking turns reading aloud to each other. I found that I love listening to my husband read the kids their bedtime stories, and I love it even more when he reads to me!
  3. This is your life. Even if you’ve been together for ages, there are probably some things you don’t know about each other’s childhoods. For a sweet date night, take out your family photos and scrapbooks (or raid your parents’ attics ahead of time if those haven’t been passed along to you yet) and relive some memories, sharing stories of each other’s pasts that you might not have heard before. It’s a great way to discover something new things about each other and capture that “first date” feeling again.
  4. Starlight (or indoor) picnic. Holding off on eating dinner till the kids are in bed is one thing, but I like to up the romance factor by turning our late dinner into a picnic. If it’s warm outside and a clear night, you can spread a blanket in the yard or on your patio. If it’s not picnic weather outside, light a fire in your fireplace and spread the blanket in front of it. Either way, it’ll make the simple act of eating dinner together feel special.
  5. Mom and dad’s game night. We attended a wedding recently where the couple had registered for a bunch of board games, and I thought to myself, “That’s genius!” I’d never admit it to my kids, but I do get a bit tired of playing Candy Land and Hungry Hungry Hippos all the time. Bonding over a more grown-up game, like Trivial Pursuit or even simple card games, is a fun way to connect to your spouse.
  6. Get crafty. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Hobby Lobby – it’s my happy place. One evening not too long ago I came home with bags loaded with paints, brushes, and easels and informed my husband we’d be having a paint date that evening. No artistic abilities needed. With just a bit of willingness to try being creative, both of us turned out passable paintings. If you don’t want to try two-dimensional art, go 3D and paint new coffee mugs for each other.
  7. Bust out the video games. We bought a Nintendo Wii back when it was the must-have item, but we haven’t used it much other than to watch Netflix or let the kids play with it for a while. Challenging each other to a Mario Kart tournament for the first time in years was a great way to have fun and remember a more carefree time in our lives.
  8. Cook dinner together. This is different than eating dinner together – although you should do that, too. We found that too often one of us (usually me) was doing the cooking while the other got work done or took care of the kids. Cooking together makes the meal prep itself part of the date.
  9. Have a spa night together. Run a bubble bath for two, or give each other back or foot massages (or both). It’s a sweetly intimate way to reconnect – no expensive spa or fancy hotel room needed.
  10. Exchange love letters. Spend some time sitting in separate rooms, writing love letters to each other. Then sit together on the sofa in front of the fire and read what your spouse has written to you. It’s a wonderful way to get out the sweet things you probably think about each other all the time but rarely have the chance to put into words.