“Keep dating even after you are married.”
It’s advice we’ve all heard, and I think we can all agree with. Still, for Tony and I, it’s advice we need to keep hearing because we keep forgetting to actually do it. We’ll get off to a good start, like we did at the beginning of this year. We had a schedule and we exchanged babysitting with some friends of ours for a few months and then we let a month slide, and then another, and… well… you know how it goes.
So, I’m using this post as more of an exercise for myself. I’ve come up with 22 date ideas and now that this post is live, any of you can feel free to ask me at any time if we’ve done any of these lately. Here’s my list of fun, mostly cheap, a little out of the ordinary, ideas for your next date!
22 Ideas for Your Next Date
1. Get in the car and just go We’ve done this a lot. We hold hands and make sure to take turns with the playlist. This date is most fun without an agenda, where either of us can say, “Turn left” or “head toward the water” and just see where we end up.
2. Swing on the swings at a park Hardly any skill required.
3. Stargaze Pack a warm drink (cocoa, coffee, or tea– your choice), bring a big blanket and find a bench to snuggle up on overlooking your city under the stars.
4. Food Crawl Pick a lively street and choose a different place to go for appetizer, entree, and then dessert.
5. Make your next errand a date On your next trip to Target or to get your oil changed, make a date of it by holding hands as much as you can. This might get awkward when you need to pay the cashier, but it’s a fun way to have a little inside joke between the two of you.
6. Go pretend shopping Pick a theme – electronics, furniture, kitchen gadgets – and make sure it’s something you both like. Then, choose a few places to go and just browse. Imagine together what you would do if you had an extra thousand dollars to spend in each store. Let the sales people wow you with all of the latest and greatest they have.
7. Learn to paint Places like these are popping up all over the country. They offer all the supplies you need to start and finish a painting in one evening even if you’ve never held a paintbrush and they often serve drinks and food!
8. At-Home Happy Hour and Game Night This is a favorite of ours because it requires very little planning. We can do it on any given night of the week, after the kids are settled in bed. Just turn on some good music (we like old jazz standards to set the ambience) and turn down the lights in the living room. Make yourself a plate of cheeses, salami, whatever other snacky apps you like to share and pour yourselves a drink. Then pull out your Scrabble board or a deck of cards and just enjoy each other.
9. Make up someone else’s love story You’ll need a notepad for this. Choose a place where you can easily see lots of people and choose one couple to write a story about. Give them names, jobs, annoying habits, and write how they fell in love and what they will do after you see them today.
10. Test drive a car Get dressed up and go check out some beautiful and really expensive cars together!
11. Play a Love Match Game! For a night in, check out this fun and free printable from the Dating Divas for a creative spin on the classic game of Memory!
13. Community Center Bingo Look up your local community center online and find out when their next bingo night is. It’s a fun way to “people watch” and do something a little silly.
14. Take a cooking class These classes are offered at lots of restaurants, wineries, and specialty gourmet stores like Sur La Table. Tony and I took a thai cooking class years ago and still remember it as one of our favorite dates!
15. Couple’s Massage For a little mind and body relaxation with your partner, sign up for a couple’s massage at your favorite spa. Couple’s massages are often set up to be ultra romantic, so this would definitely be a choice for relationships where you know each other pretty well already.
16. Go Bowling This one would be especially fun as a double date. Make up some silly nicknames for your reader board, get a little competitive, and have a great time!
17. A Gift Exchange For your next “no special occasion” date night, whether you go out or stay in, agree to exchange gifts. Preset a dollar amount and go shopping for your love. Make sure to wrap it nicely and even consider writing a little note to go with it. Then watch as they unwrap your little gift.
18. Hit the Driving Range Whether you or your partner are avid golfers, or have never held a club in your hands, this is a really fun date! Just pay for a bucket of balls, choose two tees next to each other, borrow a golf club from the range, and have at it. You can even get competitive making bets on who can get rid of their bucket the fastest or who can hit the farthest in a straight line.
19. Breakfast Date We love early morning breakfast dates, probably because they were the first dates we ever went on. But, breakfast dates are fun even if you’re choosing an all night diner and going on a breakfast date for dinner!
20. Video Arcade Hit up your local Gameworks for some greasy pizza and challenge each other to everything from air hockey to basketball to a little Dance Dance Revolution. (Tony, I’m still not going to play DDR, don’t ask.)
21. Backyard Camping Pull out your tent, sleeping bags, and camping chairs and set it all up right in your backyard. One of my favorite memories with Tony was camping in Yellowstone National Park, just the two of us. I’d love to recreate that with him.
22. Make your own date jar Take a date night to come up with ideas for lots more date nights in the future. I love what this couple did at It’s Just Laine. We finally got around to making our own and now we’re excited to start using it!
Pre-Date Pro Tips
Aside from coming up with better ideas, there are some things I always try to do to make the most of my time with my husband. I’ll call them my Pre-Date Pro Tips, simple little things that have made all the difference for me. Here you go…
Pre-Date Pro Tip #1 – Get ready!
It’s easy to do, but I try really hard not to show up for my date with Tony without having showered and put makeup on. I set aside some time to get ready for my date, just like I did before we were married. It helps me build a little anticipation and while I’m putting on my mascara and listening to a little motown, I’ve got time to let my mind wander to all of the ways I love my husband.
Pre-Date Pro Tip #2 – Clean your room!
Ok, don’t read that with your mother’s voice in your head. Maybe you are already good at keeping your bedroom tidy. I’m not. But, for date nights, I try to remember to straighten up our bedroom and at least fix the bed before we go out. There’s just something about coming home from a date to a nice clean room that keeps me in the mood for, well…
Pre-Date Pro Tip #3 – Stash some lingerie!
You probably saw where that was going from Tip #2. Date nights don’t always end with bedroom playtime for us. Still, I keep a little stash of cute lingerie in a basket in our bathroom. I do love the option of coming out of the bathroom wearing a little surprise for my husband, whether we’ve just been on a date or not!
Date nights, or days for that matter, are supposed to be special. There’s something about spending time together, out of the rut of our routine lives, that builds our relationship and draws us closer to each other. As you can see from our list, special doesn’t need to be expensive. It just needs to be intentional. Mark your calendar, choose something different, enjoy each other and #staymarried.
P.S. If you liked this post, you may also like to read Tony’s Why I Date My Wife. If you think these could benefit someone else’s marriage, please consider sharing. You can use the social media buttons at the top or bottom of this post. Also, if you’re new here, welcome! You might like to check out why we started this blog and my first entry to get a little background. Thanks!