Need a night out with your husband, but don’t feel like leaving the house? Check out these creative ideas for a budget-friendly, at-home date night you can try out tonight.
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About two months into our marriage, I threw a shoe at my husband.
He was trying to be funny – of that I’m sure. It didn’t translate well, though, and I was cranky, so I did the only rational thing I could think of at the time.
I picked up my open-toed, platform wedge and lobbed it at his head.
“Oh my gosh…”
“Was that a shoe?!?”
We collapsed on the floor laughing, gasping for air and wiping tears from our eyes.
“I can’t believe you….”
“I didn’t mean to…”
“Good thing I…”
14 years later we sat in a strip mall restaurant. The toddler had just poked two holes in a styrofoam cup. A flood of water gushed across the Formica table, sending french fry boats into his sister’s lap.
“I’M GETTING SOAKED! WHY DID YOU DOOOOO THAT?!?!”
Heads turned. I rolled my eyes and grabbed a stack of paper napkins.
“A little help here?!?” I snapped at my husband, then glanced out into the street.
A modest Subaru pulled into the parking lot. A man who looked to be in his early 60s emerged from the driver’s side door. I watched as he walked to the passenger side and helped a woman – his wife – from the car.
My eyes fell back on my own little family. Dan held the toddler while the oldest helped her sister clean her skirt. The restaurant door opened; the couple from the parking lot entered. An ID bracelet hung from the wife’s wrist. Her left hand bore a bandaged Heplock; marks from a nasal cannula marred her cheek. The building across the street, where their car had come from? A cancer center.
“I, Ginny, take you, Dan, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
Life on the home front had been difficult. We’d been busy – always busy – and had felt like ships passing in the night. Our lack of communication had bred a sort of resentment. It bubbled over that day in the restaurant.
Until the couple I’d been watching walked in the door.
Heat crept up the back of my neck. She was obviously sick; he was obviously her caretaker. They were much older than us, yes – but we could have been in their place. I thought of all the careless, unkind comments I had thrown at Dan over the past few weeks. Where I had begun to face the trials of our marriage with an outward barrage of shoes and laughter, the years and the responsibilities had festered something much worse.
Disagreements were once out in the open and dealt with. Now they were undercurrents with an impact far worse.
It’s a difficulty every marriage faces, I think. As the responsibilities and requirements of married life mount, the most important part of the marriage – the union of husband and wife – drops to the bottom of the priority list. Communication and intimacy suffer; interactions with the children takes a hit. Resentment reaches a fever pitch until there is sniping in place of support and companionship.
Marriage begins to feel like a chore – your spouse? An added mouth to feed.
How do you keep this from happening? For us, it’s been a matter of making date night a priority, and we don’t even have to leave the house. Our budget doesn’t really allow for extravagant evenings, so we enjoy evenings instead of out. If this sounds good but you feel like you don’t have a clue what you’d do for the evening, check out the list below.
I’ve compiled 33 Budget-Friendly, At-Home Date Nights You Can Try Out Tonight
Play board games
Once a childhood favorite, now a grown up activity of choice.
Other Games: (online or app)
Take turns being creative, one brush stroke or sentence at a time. Try
- Reading (out loud to one another)
Bring the Outside In
- Indoor camping (no lights; make a blanket fort and grab some lanterns or flashlights)
- Watch a movie and have a carpet picnic
- Create an indoor scavenger hunt with clues for one another
They aren’t just for kids anymore!
- Make a volcano
- Make elephant toothpaste
- Make it rain in a jar
- Create a density rainbow
- Build a balloon rocket
- Make a lava lamp
Learn Something New on YouTube
YouTube has plenty of instructional channels. You can learn to
In the kitchen
Spend some time together in the kitchen, without the added stress of hungry mouths!
- Make a meal
- Bake a cake
- Blend new cocktails
- Wine and cheese pairings
- Wine and chocolate pairings
- Beer and charcuterie pairings
Over the years, our “weapons” of choice may have shifted from shoes to words and passive aggression, but our wisdom and knowledge has grown, too. As a couple, we know the importance of spending dedicated time together to regroup, connect, and communicate. At-home date nights are perfect for this, and I hope you’ll try a few out, too.
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