Courtney wrote a post on Marriage Monday addressing a reader's question, "how important is date night?" When I went to comment my response, I realized it would be too lengthy so I decided to jsut write a whole post on date night. Courtney's post can be found here .
My husband and I have been married almost a year, and date night has looked different all along the way. When we were in pre-engagement counseling, our counselor stressed how important date night would be and we had to plan out some ideas and bring them to our session. Let me give you an idea of our personalities:
Mine: Go play mini-golf
His: Take the riding lawnmower and ride it down the street to get ice cream and then ride it back
We both like to go out and do things, and he loves being a little crazy (hence the lawnmower instead of the car). But we love date night, I don't know that there are many people who don't.
When we were dating and Brandon lived 2 states away, our dates were skype dates. We would play online cooperative games like scrabble while we chatted on the skype video.
When we were dating (and the time we were engaged and living in the same town) our date nights were out in public, sometimes with other couples. We didn't have movie nights, or date nights in alone, it wasn't something that would support purity and the appearance of good. Date night was at least 2x a month, sometimes 1x a week.
When we first got married Brandon was working, but in retail there were crazy hours. Date night happened but sometimes not as often, but since he was working we were able to have date night out. We didn't have any real furniture in our living room so I took the cushion from our papasan and the 2 old ugly olive green chair cushions and put them on the floor. I covered it all with a blanket, and I put lots of pillows down. Then I took some candy and snacks (from couponing) and put them in colorful bowls. Then I used a redbox code and rented a movie. When Brandon got home from work he was excited that I had planned a date night in and I was excited that I did it for free. We kept doing this every once in awhile and had some great times together on these free "stay-home" dates
Then as I wrote about in this post Brandon quit his job, and we had one teacher income and student loan payments that were 2x our rent) Date night got a little different, our budget for the month was $25 most months and some months it got eaten up along with our fun money and got renames "birthday funds" so that we could get each other something. Brandon started classes again a few months into this. So I started to get creative. For his birthday I bought 2 fandango movie tickets from livingsocial for $9 total. Then when I went on I tried adding a 3D movie to my cart-- and it worked!. Then I looked and saw there was a midnight premiere so I added that 3D midnight premiere and it worked! The total was $28.50 but it came down to $0 after I added the coupon ccode (that I had paid $9 for). Then at the movies, we "checked in" through facebook to Regal Cinema and both got FREE popcorn. We purchased a drink that had a free refill when you bought a large for $4. So for $13 he got an awesome experience. This is just one example of how to use coupons to save on date night.
Now my husband has gotten a job as an associate pastor, so we again have 2 incomes and a date night budget. It's still only $50 so we are currently doing weekly dates (every Thurs) and doing a combination of stay at home (last week we did another movie night) going out (movies, dinner), and activities that are free (outdoors).
No matter what a date night looks like, what matters is time with your husband, quality time, no fights, no stress, just enjoying each other. We both started out agreeing on its importance, I know some of you are not there. Please do not use what are date nights are or are not to criticize or belittle your husband. Praise him for any romantic efforts he makes, plan a date for the 2 of you when you know you will be free, look around your church for younger girls who would make a good babysitter, ask relatives or friends to babysit (you could watch their children while they have their own date night and vice versa!), the possibilities are endless but what is not endless is the tiem you will have with your spouse. Make the best of it!
"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth" Proverbs 5:18 NIV