Because the longer you’ve been together, the more important date night is.
When you’ve been married a long time, date night can easily fall by the wayside. After all, when you live together, you see each other all the time. You’ve got jobs, family obligations, maybe kids – who has the energy for planning elaborate dates?
A survey by Redbook magazine relealed that 45 percent of their married readers rarely have a date night with their spouse, and only 18 percent manage go on a date with their partner once a month. Maybe
Salima Manji, founder of a dinner club in London, tells The Telegraph why she advocates for the importance of date nights for married couples: ”A date night brings you back to when you first started dating – the excitement, the butterflies. It’s about getting the spark back.”
There are several things that can keep couples from keeping up a regular date night tradition: busy schedules, trouble getting a babysitter, sheer fatigue, and sometimes – maybe more often than couples like to admit – lack of interest. If your marriage has lost its romance, you might think of your spouse more like a coworker or a roommate than a lover. But if you don’t want to end up divorced, it’s worth putting in some effort. And if cost is a factor, consider this: a regular date night is cheaper than a divorce.
Convinced yet? Here are 17 fun and frugal date night ideas to get those fires burning again…
1. Pack a nighttime picnic
All you need is a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some snacks. Find a quiet spot, lie back, and count the stars.
2. Hit the arcade
Skee-ball, anyone? Arm yourself with a few rolls of quarters and see who gets the high score.
3. Make scavenger hunts for each other
Stash clues in places that have meaning for you…the bar where you met for your first date, the corner where you first kissed. You get the idea. Meet up at the end and reminisce about all the amazing times you’ve had over the years.
4. Have a “date morning” instead
Who says date night has to happen at night? For one thing, breakfast is cheaper than dinner. And for another, a romantic meal is a fun way to kick off your day.
5. Volunteer together
Serve dinner at a soup kitchen, walk dogs at an animal shelter, or wrap gifts for kids at a homeless shelter. The opportunities to do good together are limitless.
6. Hit an open mic night together
Maybe one of you will even get up and perform? Seeing your partner in a new light and surprising each other is a sure way to spark desire in a long-term relationship, according to couples therapist Esther Perel.
7. Play games with each other
Playing games in a relationship isn’t always a bad a idea. What strikes your fancy: chess? Monopoly? Gin rummy? Cribbage? A little competition might be just the thing to get your blood pumping – and it’s up to you what the winner gets for a prize…
8. Go sex toy shopping
If the two of you have never been to an upscale sex toy boutique together, you might be surprised by how helpful, friendly, and knowledgable the salespeople are. Find a fun new toy, then take it home and try it out.
9. Go on a cemetery walk
Does your city have a sprawling old cemetery? Many older cemeteries were designed as beautiful parks. Stroll through the headstones and soak up the history: it’s more romantic that you might expect – and just a little bit spooky, which makes it even better.
10. Attend a protest march or rally
11. Find an old-fashioned photo booth and take silly pics together
In this digital age, it’s nice to have some pictures of the two of you that aren’t selfies.
12. Get some culture
Wander through a museum with free admission or a suggested-donation policy. Show each other your favorite exhibits or artworks. Hold hands. Make everyone jealous because you’re so cute together.
13. Try your hand at the grocery-store challenge
Here’s how it works: you each get $20 and 20 minutes to wander through the grocery store (a good one like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s works best) and pick out gifts for each other. Do you really know each other’s favorite treats? Meet up at the register and enjoy your haul together.
14. Brush up on your cooking skills
A cooking class for couples that ends with a shared meal is a fun date, and pays dividends down the road, as well.
15. Train for a race
Have you always wanted to run a marathon, or compete in a triathlon? Do it together, and have a weekly (or more often) training date. Sweat is sexy – and getting your heart rate up is good for your sex life, too.
16. Construct a time capsule
Fill a box with mementos of your relationship (ticket stubs, love letters, you get the drift) and spend an evening going over all of them, before stashing the box away somewhere safe, not to be opened for ten or twenty years…
17. Pick each other up
Go to a bar – separately – and pretend not to know each other. Do you still have what it takes to get your partner to go home with you? Read this Modern Love column for inspiration…
Image via shutterstock.com.
Comment: What’s your favorite cheap date idea?
Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn with two daughters, occasional mice and innumerable to-do lists. She runs a nine-minute mile, bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie, and can always be persuaded to sing at a karaoke bar. Follow her on Twitter.