Date Nights

Like most parents of small children, my husband and I have not always been very good about getting some face-time with each other. Especially when we had three really little ones. Over the years we’ve come up with some fun and sometimes free options to get that much needed and usually quite fun date night.

We really enjoy family time with our kids and spend a lot of time playing games and sports with them. But as they’ve gotten older and we had to keep conversations light and kid-friendly until bedtime, we’ve been ready for a little more time kid-free. If there ever has been a time I’ve felt disconnect with Andy, we usually feel closer after a date night. A night set aside that says “we” are the focus tonight.

Free or Nearly Free Options:

1. Take a hike or walk together. We like walking on the beach of Lake Michigan now, but when we lived in town, a walk around the neighborhood was great too.  Sometimes our kids would just bike ahead of us, and we got a lot of great conversations in. There is something about walking with somebody that just makes the talking flow.

2. Mix up some margaritas and play a game. Sometimes we play scrabble, and other times we play cards. One of my favorites times was when I did some pinterest searching and found Date Night Questions for Married Couples-

 http://www.embracingasimplerlife.com/2014/09/12/90-date-night-questions-for-christian-married-couples/

I cut up the questions and we picked them out of a hat and asked each other. Some were pretty lame, but others brought back memories and fun topics. You might even learn a new little tidbit about your mate!

3. Cooking, for each other or together. It started on one valentines day years back, we decided it would be easier and more fun to pick out the ingredients for a meal and cook it together. I think it was more like a tag-team cooking project since kids were all over the place at the time, but it was fun. And usually after putting a movie on, the meal is quiet and delightful. I also love cooking different and fun meals. We’ve had lamb chops, Cornish game hen, and pork belly.  You can find the pork belly recipe here:

http://julesfood.blogspot.com/2010/08/jamie-olivers-crispy-skin-pork-belly.html

4. Playing pool or darts in our basement. We sip cold ones and pretend we are out on the town. But in reality I’m in my slippers. Bonus, my husband can pick all the music we listen to!

Not as Free Options:

Dinner Out – Before kids, date nights were trying different restaurants. Now if we get a babysitter for the night you can be sure our night will include dinner at a restaurant. I like trying different more expensive places, and Andy likes to find “holes in the wall” types of restaurants. We recently discovered out new found love for sushi. Conversation flows well over delicious food cooked and cleaned up by someone else!

Brewery, Winery or Distillery Tour. We have visited a few in the Milwaukee area and would love to continue to do more. We even toured the Budweiser Brewery while visiting St. Louis. And a winery in New York as we passed through. Brewing is in it’s own way a little art form with the different flavors and styles. Andy has dabbled in making wine and brewing beer and it’s fun to see what others are doing, and find any tips. Fun tours we’ve done:

http://www.cedarcreekwinery.com/wineryvisit/winerytours

http://www.millercoors.com/breweries/miller-brewing-company/tours

http://www.greatlakesdistillery.com/tourstastingsevents/tour-the-distillery/

A Sporting Event – We are baseball fans around here and take in a game a few times in the season. We discuss players and teams. Mostly I try to stump Andy with some sort of trivia read about a team that he doesn’t know. We are also fortunate enough to attend a Packer game every year too. Even though usually is a double or triple date!

Obviously there are so many options out there for a date night. The main part of the blog post is to remember, before kids came along, you and your mate probably had a lot of fun together. Don’t forget to set aside time to keep that fun going. It can be tricky to get the right time to go, there might seem like there is never a right time to get out kid-free. But, make the effort. It’s worth it. Your marriage is definitely worth it!

Always, Jamie