How important are date nights for couples? As a wise man once said, "You should never stop dating your spouse."
The courtship of your spouse did not end at “I do.” It’s important that you don’t forget that! You must continue to build your relationship and inexpensive date nights are a great way to do that very thing.
According to a study of married couples conducted by the University of Virginia, frequent date nights resulted in improvements in happiness, commitment, communication, and parenthood stability. The study also showed that couples who had frequent date nights (once per week) had a lower divorce rate and were more satisfied in their marriage.
However, often after we get married, we feel as if we can check "courtship" and "dating" off our to-do list.
We begin to focus on building a successful career and/or trying to raise a family. Both important, but they can’t come at the expense of your marriage. You have to continue to make time to focus on each other's needs and learn how to communicate. We have to work to learn each other’s Love Language.
See our related post: Build a Happy Marriage: Learn How Now
You have to continue to date your spouse. This is particularly important if Quality Time is a Love Language for either of you.
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Date Nights are Important to Build Your Relationship
Date nights can keep the romance and spark alive in our marriage and who doesn’t need a little spark now and again :).
Anyone that’s been married for any length of time can tell you, it’s super easy to slip into a ho-hum day-to-day routine (I know……BORING!!!!). We get into a routine and lose that imaginative edge we used to create the relationship.
Does Your Day Look Like This?
- Wake up
- Get the kids to school
- Go to work
- Take kids to ball practice
- Grab fast food on the way home
- Get kids ready for bed
- Go to bed
- Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Notice anything missing from that list? You're right, there's no time left for you and your spouse to connect.
This is why date nights are sooooo super important.
By continuing to date your spouse, you get a chance to see them as the person you fell in love with and wanted to spend the rest of your life with.
He isn’t just the guy who cuts the grass and fixes the leaky faucet, he is your husband. She isn’t just the lady who watches the kids during the day, she is your wife. It’s very easy to lose sight of this after you’ve been married a few years and life is moving at a breakneck speed.
I know what you’re thinking ….. I’d like for us to go on more dates and do more fun stuff, but the cash flow is a little tight right now.
We got the baby on the way, we just bought a new set of those Goodyear Ultra Grip winter tires, and I think the furnace might be going out - Oh please Lord don’t let the furnace go out! On top of all that, with our work schedules, we just don’t have the time (or energy) to plan anything.
I promise I understand all that, but we are not about excuses around here! Date night with your sweetie does not have to be an expensive thing. With a little imagination and small amount of planning, you can keep that spark glowing and show your romantic side is in full swing ;).
So, get a babysitter scheduled or plan to drop the kiddos off at your parents for the evening and let's plan a date.
An evening with the Stars
With a little planning, an evening of romantic stargazing can be a lot of fun. Find someplace away from the city lights (a dark sky is best for viewing stars), grab a blanket or lawn chairs, throw in a bottle of your favorite beverage and you got yourself a date! Some things to consider before your night under the stars:
- Check the weather! You want a clear night with little or no cloud cover. Also, you need to make sure you have dressed appropriately. It may get chilly when the sun goes down.
- Stars are most visible when there is no moon or at least very little moon. You can check the moon phases at https://stardate.org/nightsky/moon.
- Star guides are a great idea. They can help you identify the constellations and make you look like a pro. You can get a Guide to the Stars here
- Think about some conversation starters - Discuss your Love Languages if you haven’t already.
Hit the links - Mini golf links that is
A little friendly competition can be great for a relationship. My wife enjoys hitting the mini links with me every now and again. It gets us out for some fresh air, a little bit of exercise and a few laughs. The key thing here (and I can’t stress this enough) is to just have some fun. If you treat this like it's the Masters, then your date is probably not going to end very well. Just have fun and enjoy the time together, ok.
Remember, you are looking for Quality Time with each other.
Two rounds of mini golf for you and your sweetie will cost you around $8 - $10 each.
Head to your local fishing hole for some fun. My wife loves to go fishing with me (and I like having her along 🙂 ), but she doesn’t like to touch the bait or fish. Her excitement when she catches a fish is just off the charts until she realizes that she might have to actually touch her newly found friend.
But her reluctance gives me a chance to be John Wayne and ride in to save the day. A win for us both.
Anyway, fishing can be a great time with a lot of laughs. Maybe combine the fishing with a picnic and this date is going to be awesome! Be sure to think about other stuff you might need like sunscreen, bug spray, folding chairs, etc. Additionally, check the local / state fishing license requirements.
A couple of cane poles from the local bait shop will go for about $5.00. A container and a handful of crickets will cost around $8.00, but the memories will be priceless.
Whether you combine a picnic with fishing or not, picnics can still be a great time. Head off to a local park or another scenic spot with a blanket, some sandwiches, and your favorite beverages and WHAM --- you are on a date! Be sure to check the weather!
A picnic makes a great opportunity to discuss the results of your Love Languages quiz.
Remember you are trying to connect with your spouse. Ask questions to catch-up on what's been going on in their life.
Put on your Walking Shoes
One of my favorite dates that Anne and I do is when we simply put on our walking shoes and go for a walk together. It gives us a chance to get outside and just catch-up as we make a few laps around the walking trail.
You can either go to a local park or just walk along the city sidewalk. If Physical Touch or Quality Time are Love Languages for either of you, then a nice walk is a perfect opportunity for y’all to connect.
Dinner and a Movie at home
Sometimes the best date nights are just quiet evenings at home. Plan to surprise your sweetie with their favorite meal. Ask a few questions beforehand (favorite actor, etc.) to get an idea what of movie options would fit the bill.
Remember, this is planning something they would want to watch. If your wife likes romantic comedies, but you rent Rambo, then the evening is not going to go as well as you had planned.
Redbox, Netflix, or Amazon are great options to find your rental favorites.
I love going to the beach. I'm not a huge fan of baking in the sun, but I love chillin’ under one of those giant umbrellas with a good book listening to the waves.
If you are fortunate enough to live near a beach, you have a great opportunity for an inexpensive date. The wind in your hair and the sound of the ocean can be incredibly romantic!
After the sun goes down, take a bucket and net and try to catch some of those little sand crabs. That is always a blast for us!
With a little planning, beautiful sunsets can make a great inexpensive date. Find a nice quiet place with a view of the horizon and you have the ingredients for a romantic evening.
Like some of the other date night options, watching the sunset is a great opportunity for you and your spouse to discuss your Love Languages and build your relationship.
If Receiving Gifts is one of our spouse’s Love Languages, a sunset date is a great opportunity to give your spouse a heartfelt gift.
Above are some ideas for inexpensive date nights. Some may work for you and some may not. You and your spouse knowing what matters to each other and spending time together is where the rubber meets the road. Mini golf is a great, inexpensive date, but if your spouse hates all things golf…. Not gonna a very fun time. You have to know each other.
Final Thoughts on These Inexpensive Date Ideas
What it really boils down to is that in order for your marriage to continue to flourish, it’ll require time and effort on the part of you both. A busy work schedule, kids, or a tight budget are real factors for many, but they are not excuses for failing to invest in your relationship. If you want to be happy in your marriage and Love Your Life, then this is where you take action.
See our related post: Build a Happy Marriage: Learn How Now
So, find out what is important to your spouse and create a date night around that. That is your Call to Action here. Let them know that you are looking to spend some Quality Time with them and wanting to invest in your relationship.
Dating is how marriages are made and dating is how marriages can continue to grow.
Until next time, God bless and Love Your Life
Anne and Steve