Last week we heard Pam Ferrell speak on the topic of Red Hot Monogamy. I really enjoyed when she challenged us to look at our TIME. How we could date our spouse and create time to foster intimacy with one another on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Though this may be a great goal for our marriages it can feel daunting and near impossible when we have littles at home.
Here are some creative ways for those of us with littles and tight budgets to still be intentional and yet not feel like we are breaking the bank or asking grandma to babysit every Friday night.
- Co-op babysit with other couples– This is a great way to not pay the $1 million dollars for a sitter, and bless your friends at the same time. PLUS, your kids will be playing with other kids and it’s just a win all around. Ask your friends first, “Hey! What night can I watch your kid(s) so you can get a date?” You’ll be amazed at how quickly they find a day! This is a wonderful way to let your friend know how much you care about her and her marriage.
- Go out for happy hour/mid-week dates– Happy hour isn’t just for drinking. There are a great many places (Wokano, Lazy Dogs, LARSONS!!) that offer amazing prices on appetizers and small plates during their happy hour in the bar. You can choose a high top table and order soda, then enjoy all the other benefits of the half off or better prices. Plus, no kids in the bar, so you know you’ll have a kid free date!! Choosing a mid week date rather than Fri/Sat means less wait time and crowds, that means less time you are paying your baby sitter. You can also choose to go and just have dessert! My husband and I have done that a few times and it’s so fun! We never have dessert in the house let alone something fancy like a Sisley’s cannoli!
- Go somewhere you could spend $0-$5 only– We love to go to Barns & Nobble. Getting to walk around and look at books and magazines makes me feel like a grown up again. There’s also a Starbucks in side most, so if you wanted you could get a coffee (decaf!) and maybe a cookie to share. This way, you are only paying for a sitter. (or if you do #1 then you are paying nothing!!!!! Winning!)
- Have a back yard movie night– This could be so much fun! Pop some popcorn while he gets the mattress and blankets set up, surprise him with his favorite candy, and stream a movie you’ve been wanting to see on the lap top or tablet!!! So easy, so fun! We just might try this one this summer!!
- Sit outside and make s’mores– One of our table leaders shared how she loves that her husband will make her a s’mores almost every night! You can make them over the burner in the kitchen, a fire pit, or even in a pot outside! Make this fun with cookies instead of graham crackers, Reeces or Nestle Crunch instead of standard chocolate! Then while you sit outside enjoying the kid free treats you didn’t have to sneak in the bathroom, TALK TO EACH OTHER!
- Cook together– In our home, I do the majority of the cooking. This does not mean that my husband is not a fantastic cook, just that he doesn’t have the time to cook for us during the week. Why not plan a grown up food menu and evening where you can cook together? Put the kids to bed early, turn movie on in the other room and just enjoy cooking a recipe you found in Souther Living, or watched the Barefoot Contessa make. You can make this more fun by adding a movie and theme. Make an Italian dish together and then watch the Italian Job. Try your hand at Indian food and watch Eat, Pray, Love. You get the gist!
- Take Out and Red box– We love going out to eat. However, we have far too many people to take to a restaurant and it never ends well. Most of the time they changed their mind between the time they ordered the mac n cheese and it arrived. Now they want a hamburger. You know how this will end. So, we stopped going to restaurants. Instead, once a week or every other week, my husband and I order take out from one of our favorite places to enjoy after our kids are in bed. This really helps with the bill too! Kids are expensive to feed, and if you are in the restaurant you’ll probably get an appetizer and dessert. We also love movies, but these days it is far too expensive to go see all the movies in the theatre, so now we red box them. It’s so much easier. We get take out and can watch the newest blockbuster or Oscar nominated movie in our pjs. Which is great because after I’ve had my full of Grand Panda I really need my stretchy pants.
- Ask for date night gift cards for Christmas– We’ve been doing this for years. Whenever the grandparents or anyone asks what we, my husband and I, would like for Christmas we say movie tickets or restaurant gift cards so we can go on a date. The cost to hire a baby sitter can be a biter pill to swallow, so this helps afford more dates!
- Take a staycation– When Pam mentioned getting away a few times a year I know that sounded impossible. If the budget is super tight, one option is a staycation. Drop the kids off at grandmas, or split the kids between the grandmas like we do, and then go home. NO CLEANING, just enjoying one another and saving money on a hotel. Save your money for a few months so you can drive out of town to a nice restaurant to still feel like you “got out of town” but save the hotel fee by sleeping at home! Sleep in (sweet Jesus I don’t even know what that is!), go to brunch (Hey! Plan this over your birthday, then eat at Egg Plantation and your your meal is free! Winning again! BOOM!), see a matinee, walk the mall, drive to the beach with a picnic, all while you haven’t had to pay to go away! Who cares if the kids had chocolate for breakfast and watched Cailou? It happened at grandma’s house and it’ll stay at grandma’s house!
We hope you feel encouraged and excited to try a new date night idea! Do you have any great ideas for dates, or ways to help create intimacy in your marriage?? Comment and let us know!!!