April 15, 2015

10 Affordable Date Ideas

Whether you are married, engaged, or just living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your significant other is part of your life. You practically share everything with one another, you live together and spend your lives together to make it memorable for the both of you. There is a reason you decided to take this step. There will be a time when everything makes sense, and there will also be a time when nothing makes sense. 

The time will come when life takes over and work or life in general make you feel miserable, tired, angry, upset, and even just alone. Coming home to your favorite person will be your favorite part of the day, no matter how exhausted you are. You will look forward to a smile, a hug, or a kiss just to feel the love and mutual understanding. These are the times that bond the two of you. These are the times that also push the two of you away, inch by inch. It's a combination of both and over the years I have learned that it is quite normal and shouldn't be alarming. Just because we decided to spend the rest of our life with another person doesn't mean we give up our former life or stop our growth. We adjust, we learn, we figure things out. The honeymoon phase {the happy, everything is awesome moment we all know exists} sometimes comes to an end and you need to find a way back to the honeymoon phase. Why?! Because, you know, life is too short and you want to be happy rather than dwell on a nasty day, comment, or dirty chores. You want to smile, think happy thoughts and live life with a positive attitude. 

One thing I have learned from past relationships and now with my happily every after is that you should never start or end the day with a negative attitude. You should always talk it over, you should always listen and pay attention, even when you are about to explode or cook dinner. Most importantly, you should always make an effort to make one another feel special and important, and best way to do so is to regularly ask each other out. 

Yes, date nights!!! This isn't new news but we still often neglect that part of any relationship. Just because you've been dating for ten years {or eight months} or been married for five, you should still make the time to regularly go out with your significant other. Date night doesn't mean a fancy dinner reservation and an elaborate trip, even though the idea is spectacular. Date night means spending time together and being there for one another, heck, even learning new things about each other {yes, even after ten years!}. So I thought I'd write a post about things you could do with your favorite person; things you know you want to or have done before...but never fully put thought into it, and most of it is practically free!

Date Night Ideas
  • Learn a new language together
    Imagine you'd learn French together, you could pair your weekly two-hour session with a glass of red wine or cheese, grapes and cold meat. It doesn't have to be a boring date session where you two sit in front of your books and study new words. Make it fun, test each other or try to speak to one another in that new language only. It's fun!
  • Print your favorite photos and create an album together
    It's fun when one person does it, but with the input of two the outcome will be even more fantastic. It will be a great date night going over old photos, remembering fun times, and having a laugh or two.
  • Decide on a whole meal and cook it together
    Make it a cute stay-at-home dinner date, and make it fancy. Don't cook just one course, make three out of it. One of you makes the appetizer, one makes the dessert and the main dish you work on together. Dress up, and pretend you'd be picked up at a certain hour. You can still go out on a stroll afterwards. And yes, no phones or TV.
  • Make a seasonal list {it's fun to make a summer list together}
    A new season means new opportunities open up for all of us to experience. You'd rather go swim in the lake in the summer than in the winter, right? And you'd rather make popsicles and sangrias in the summer than any other time, right? Me, too. So sit down and create your summer list, and try to make an effort making those. Or make a fall list. Whichever. It's free, and fun, and allows you to plan ahead and look forward to future dates together.
  • Discover something new together
    Whether it is a new restaurant, a restaurant you haven't been to but always wanted to try, a new neighborhood park, a new store, or a bike trail...make an effort to take time and explore it together. If money is tight and you still want to try that new Tapas place downtown, try to set weekly money apart together so you both can look forward to some Spanish Yumminess!
  • Go out for a walk
    Maybe you are blessed like us with a trail just around the corner, or you live next to a river, lake, the beach...then get your comfy walking wear on and head on outside. It doesn't have to be a whole day event {if so, make it a picnic day}; just go out and walk together. Turn your phone to silent and put it in a bag {you still want it with you for emergencies; you never know}. Go out, walk, talk, and enjoy somewhat quiet, personal time together. Want to join us on our seven-mile walk?! You're more than welcome.
  • Find a diner and have a milkshake
    Share the shake if you want, or have fries with it too. Simple, yes unhealthy, but oh so good. Plus, it kind of brings the old-fashioned date idea back, doesn't it?
  • Go to your local farmer's market together
    You don't need to buy a thing. It would be nice if you did but we all know those markets can be pricey. Stroll around, smell the fresh fruit and the colorful flowers. Take it all in. Support your community. Plus, have I mentioned free samples?!
  •  Stay home and watch a movie together
    This can be combined with the cooking together. Make it a Netflix night, or just find a show or movie at home that both of you have not seen yet. One night let your partner choose the genre and film, and one night make it your turn to choose your favorite genre.
  • Play a game together
    Have cards at home? Or a puzzle? Are both somewhere in the corner, probably covered in dust? Then it is time to bring them out. Game night can bring the two of you together. Plus, it's free since you already have those at home. Own a Playstation or Wii?! Even better. Haven't used those in months or years?! It is about time.
I am no expert. The thing I learned is that we easily neglect ourselves, and oftentimes each other. We start to take each other for granted. You come home and you know the other one is at home, either waiting, cooking, reading, whatever. You may ask how each other's day was or you may not. You want some time to yourself {which is normal} but you should also acknowledge that there is someone else at home; with you. Life happens. Life can be busy, and overwhelming, and I am sure with children it is even more difficult to sit down and have some quiet, one-on-one time. Make it an effort though. Bring the honeymoon phase back. 

Now if you were wondering...our honeymoon phase is still somewhere around. We are just having a little bit of a rough patch. No worries though. It's okay and we kind of expected it. New work and its awful schedule is so draining, so exhausting. Also, all plans we had got kind of ruined. Add a tremendous amount of schoolwork to the bliss and you have a mess. 

So it is crucial to create scheduled date nights. I never thought I had to do this. Ha. Life can be mean sometimes. Yes, I schedule our date nights. Once a week. Think that is too much? Think again. When you were dating you couldn't wait to see your favorite person...once a week wasn't enough. Same here, same today. There are times we hardly get to talk because he is so exhausted. I almost had to spoon feed him one night because he was not able to lift his arms to eat a proper meal. He ended up eating without me feeding him, if you were wondering. Yes, life can drain you and take all the joy from your blissful happily ever after. Fight back. I am fighting back!!!!

I cannot wait until Friday! :)



Joey Hodges said...

I love these!!! One Christmas, we were near broke and had about 2 weeks off together. So we did fun little random things each day like building a fort in the living room and watching all our xmas movies in it! I love the cooking a meal together from start to finish one, too! Our favorite, now, is to eat dinner at home (because, cheaper) then walk to one of the nearby restaurants with the dog and split a dessert! Much cheaper and still a fun evening!

Christina said...

I miss regular date nights! Jacob and I used to go out every single Wednesday. But with kids it's so much harder. We usually get out about twice a month to go to a game, see a comedian, or go out for dinner and a movie.

Why Girls Are Weird said...

I would LOVE for Izzy to teach me Spanish!

Lindsay said...

These are really good ideas! I like the idea of making a list. My boyfriend and I are doing semi-long distance so planning things is def on my to-do list!! Thanks!

Tobia | craftaliciousme said...

I so understand how you feel and it can be really rough. It's hard to feel alone in a relationship knowing it's what it is for the time being but it doesn't make it easier. Enjoy your date night.
We just talked about reintroducing them the other night.
Happy weekend, Tobia

Ashley said...

Maybe you should teach him Turkish! :)

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

These are all really great ideas! We always love cooking a meal together.


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