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Our Best Dates

Couple in warm clothing roasting marshmallows over a campfire

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The evidence in favor of dating is overwhelming. Why, then, is it so hard to do?

Every ecclesiastical leader counsels husbands and wives to date. All happy couples go on dates. Even my own relationship history supports the notion: things simply run better when we consistently date.

2017 wasn’t our best year. Too stingy for babysitters and outings, dating seemed like an impracticality. We spent a lot of time as a family, but our couple life stagnated.

Thank goodness for New Year’s resolutions!

Inspired by my sister and her husband, we set a goal for two dates per month: one stay-at-home date, and one go-out date. We take turns planning.

It’s working!! And it’s AWESOME.

As our Valentine to you, we’re sharing a list of our favorite dates. And because the list was a little short, my sister and her husband—our aforementioned mentors in the dating department—have supplemented with their ideas.

Be sure to check out the Stay-At-Home ideas. They have revolutionized our dating life!

Go-Out Dates:

Your go-out options vary by location, so explore the local scene! Try the restaurants and check out the theater scene. Visit the zoo, the gardener’s market, the museum, the rec center, and the library. Attend seasonal events and free lectures. Watch for event advertisements on social media pages, in newspapers, and on public bulletin boards.

  • Take up a sport together. We love pickeball. Biking, snow showing, and hiking are likewise awesome couples activities.
  • Have a classy candlelit dinner in the park.
  • Start a garden. The weekend before Mother’s day is prime time to explore greenhouse offerings. Planter boxes, seeds, and soil are quite affordable.
  • Go stargazing and and make campfire treats.
  • Pack a picnic and fly kites.
  • Design a side-walk chalk mural.
  • Head to the nearest canyon for tinfoil dinners.

Stay-At-Home Dates:

Stay-at-home dates are a Godsend for parents and paupers! No more making excuses about the cost of babysitters or movie tickets; just get together after the after the kids are in bed. The rules are thus: it must be planned in advance, and screens are ONLY allowed if they contribute to the theme. No cell phones, no Netflix, no children. Just solid spousal quality time.

  • Spa Night! We prefer the foot-spa. All you need is a bag of Epsom salts, a foot file, and massage cream.
  • Host a read-a-thon! Pile up the mattresses, pillows, and blankets for a cozy setting. Share treats and read something light-hearted aloud together.
  • Play Ninetendo. The classics.
  • Download a question app or a list of questions. Eat cheese and crackers while you learn new things about your spouse.
  • Play strip-poker.
  • Practice your snuggle form. Borrow The Cuddle Sutra from your local library and put it to use.
  • Backyard s’mores and hammocking.
  • Learn to cook something new: crème brulee? Berger cookies? Gingerbread house? Yes, yes, yes.
  • Indulge the inner wizard. Visit Pottermore to determine your House and patronus. Watch the movies, read the books, bake the food! We love butterbeer and pumpkin pasties.
  • Play Cheez-It Scrabble (new rule: culinary words only). Then eat the playing tiles.

Youtube also provides a wealth of resources:

  • Learn to salsa dance.
  • Learn to play the ukele or guitar.
  • Buy movie snacks and host YouTube favorites night. Take turns sharing your favorite videos with your spouse.
  • Buy cheap paints and paint with Bob Ross!
  • Become a cartoonist with this TED talk.
  • Try a couples workout. We like Tony and Fiona for their accents. We don’t move like they do, but we we certainly like to mimic the things they say.

Movies are obviously a great tool, too. But remember: it must be planned and themed!

  • Watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Order Papa John’s or make a clementine cake.
  • Order take-out Chinese and watch Return to Me.
  • Watch an Italian movie and eat gelato.
  • Watch The Hundred-Foot Journey and learn to make Indian food.
  • Rent a Surprised By Love and design your own Twinkie Cake. (warning: it’s Hallmark. This has some natural ramifications—predictable storyline, lower-quality acting, and reliably happy ending. If that’s your jam, do it).
  • Plan an ape date! Make the Macey’s ape masks (it’s printed on the brown paper grocery bags), eat banana cream pie, and watch Planet of the Apes or Tarzan.
  • Watch High School Musical and make apple pandowdy.
  • Create summer during the frigid winter. Watch The Sandlot or Parent Trap and have a living room picnic (complete with ice-cream, of course). Crank up the thermostat so you can comfortably wear shorts!

So there you have it. We’re always on the look-out for a good date idea, so comment below! What are your best date ideas?

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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