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“Date Night” Ideas For Parents

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Marriage is tough and takes dedication and work to keep growing stronger. A family is a wonderful thing but kids can complicate the effort to remain a couple. “Date nights” are a good way to stay focused on each other despite the stresses of work, home and family.

I will admit that my husband and I do not go out as much as I feel we should. After a week of work, school, and activities, the exhaustion gets the best of us and we just want to relax at home. Not to mention, there is the pressure to get a sitter and the expense that one night out will bring. With that being said, I treasure our date nights. The night usually consists of dinner at one of our favorite places where we hold hands under the table, sip drinks from fancy glasses and try not to make everything that we talk about involve the kids. We rarely go to movies. I can’t remember the last time that I saw a movie in a theater that wasn’t animated or G rated. That is fine with me. If I have two hours alone with my husband in the dark, I don’t want to watch a movie anyway.

So what is a couple to do when they have kids, have no sitter and crave special time together? My favorite “date night” at home is what I call a “couch date.” This wonderful alone time started for us a few years ago when we discovered HBO’s “The Sopranos” series on DVD. We started with the first episode of season one and we were hooked. From that time on, Friday night “couch dates” were something that we both looked forward to after the kids went to bed. I began getting creative by making pasta dishes for dinner on Fridays, buying Ruffino wine (a brand frequently drank by characters on the series) and buying special desserts or movie treats to snack on as we watched. We watched the drama unfold intensely as we snuggled together in the comfort of our own home. Long after we finished the series, we still continue “couch dates” on a frequent basis with movies and shows.

I can recall another very fun spontaneous date night. One night after the kids were asleep, my husband grabbed two beers from the fridge and invited me to play a game of Wii pool with him. We drank, played pool and laughed just like during our single days when we would meet friends at the bar, minus the smoke, crowds, and drive home. Now we try to work games into our date nights too.
I think it is so important to make the time to remind your spouse how much you really enjoy spending time with them.

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My husband and I try to have date nights that do not involve any type of technology. We are both on the computer, iPhone, iPad...iWhatever...so often for our business and personal use, that we don't feel like we can actually communicate if we are watching TV or playing a video game together. Don't get me wrong--we definitely have our guilty-pleasure shows that we enjoy watching together when our two boys are in bed, but I don't honestly consider those date nights.

Our favorite memory is during an awful thunderstorm that blew out all the electricity for a few days. We sat outside in lawn chairs, and just talked. We could see the stars (since it was a black-out in the city), and that made it romantic. We try to have more of these "no technology" nights, and sit out on our driveway or back porch (with kid's monitors beside us). I think it is amazing what nature can do to bring two people closer together. We are not inside our home, where laundry, bills, dirty dishes, phone, etc are tempting us. The fresh air, sense of freedom, and great conversation definitely bring us closer together.

Once per month, we do try to get a babysitter to spend time together that is away from the house. Our favorite is a road trip. We drive as far as we can, knowing we need to have enough time to drive back and have some fun at our destination. We have found some of the cutest small towns, gorgeous architecture, little-known ponds with ducks following us. It's very special time.

I think whatever works for the couple is great! Also getting out and exercising is a great way to spend time and get those endorphins working!

August 29, 2010 - 6:40pm

Date Nights in our home began over Monday Night Football. We both enjoy the sport so we reserved Monday nights for each other.
My husband and I also enjoy gardening so we often have a "weed pulling" date. It's fun to get down on all fours, dig around in the dirt, appreciate the marvelous gift of nature, and spend time together while beautifying the yard.

August 28, 2010 - 7:38pm
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