David and I learned pretty early on in our marriage just how important it is to continue to date after we said “I do.” With unexpected obstacles and typical stresses of life knocking down our door the day we returned from our honeymoon, we knew that we had to prioritize our relationship above everything else if we were going to continue to be passionate about one another.
And we have learned a few things along our journey so far that have helped us prioritize dating and showing up for each other on a regular basis to maintain the sweet, affectionate, fun, and passionate parts of our relationship. So, I’m sharing 4 ways that we regularly incorporate a date into the mundane parts of life so that we never forget to invest in our marriage — even when life gets busy and trials come our way.
These 4 tips are ways that we find to get a date in at least once a week — so, if you applied one of these tips to each week in the month you would have a full month of dating your spouse.
1. Turn Simple Activities Into Dates
This is such a simple way to squeeze in a date night during the busier-than-average weeks. It gives you the chance to cash in on some quality time while also accomplishing things on your to-do list. Here are some things that David and I do regularly during the week to spend some quality time together:
- Taking walks – during the spring and fall we love to take afternoon or evening strolls through our neighborhood. We usually clock in around 1-3 miles. So, it takes less than hour and doesn’t requires any money or fancy clothes or travel. We just through on our sweats and head out the door. We love to walk through different neighborhoods and admire the beautiful historical homes in our town and just talk about crazy dreams of owning a Bed & Breakfast or remodeling a 100-year-old house.
- Running errands – if we have any errands to take care of during the weekend, we try to make it a fun day. So, we make our post office and Target run and pick up groceries but we make time for grabbing lunch at our favorite little deli or browsing through a favorite store even if we never buy anything.
- Working out – we have to do it anyway so we may as well do it together. But we have very different fitness goals. David is a runner and when he is training for his next marathon he needs to be able to run without worrying about staying close to me. So, we go to the nearby school and run the track in opposite directions. This way, we are running toward each other and get to make googly-eyes as we pass but we can focus on getting in the workout that makes sense to our individual goals and bodies. This is where we have a little friendly competition from time-to-time as well.
- Church – we actually love making a big deal about Sunday morning. We put a little extra effort into our attire, as if we really are going on a date, and try to catch the early service. We sit at the end of an aisle by ourselves and really try to soak in the service and worship together. Then, on the drive back, we discuss the sermon and what it taught each of us. This creates so many conversations that usually carry over into stopping somewhere for a quick lunch or heading home for some homemade waffles.
- Anything else! – spring cleaning, home upgrades & chores, walking the dog, making meals, couples devotionals, work events, church events…etc.
2. Plan Dates For Each Other
A few months ago we realized that we sort of let actual date nights fall through the cracks. Finding the time to plan them just proved to be difficult and spontaneous dates don’t always works out — what movie? which restaurant? which neighboring city to travel to? — so many factors that often need to be decided ahead of time.
We also discovered that because we weren’t planning ahead of time we would just end up having the same date over and over. Dinner & a movie, take-out & a full season of The Office. So, we came up with a new rule.
Each weekend we would take turns planning a date with the other person in mind. We decided what day or time would work best together but from that point on it would be up to one person to plan the details of the date. This has proven to be such a wonderful way to surprise the other person and really show them how much we consider their likes and dislikes.
I’m actually not sure which is more fun — planning a date that I know David will love or looking forward to whatever surprises he has in store for me. Either way, planning dates for each other really takes us back to the early days of dating and getting to know each other. And it keeps us accountable. Neither of us wants to take the easy way out on a date and disappoint our spouse and neither of us would dare miss a date planned by the other.
3. Invest & Commit
One really important way we have found in making sure we show up for dates regularly is by investing in them and making real commitments. This could look different for everyone, but here are some suggestions:
- Join a class/club/study you can enjoy together — this gives you accountability
- Set aside money every week to use on dates — this gives you a reason to plan
- Make a bucket list — and make sure to have a reward at the end to motivate you
- Purchase a subscription – like monthly movie tickets, a wine-of-the-month club, a dinner-delivery box, or anything else that motivates you to plan a date when it arrives at your door.
David and I have adopted two methods that keep us accountable and give us a really fun date every single month.
The first is that we set out to see more friends and family this year. And that requires travel for us. So, we get to enjoy the travel time as a couple – sometimes it’s an hour and sometimes it’s seven hours – and then enjoy the company of others once we arrive. We traveled in January to see friends who live about 2 hours away and this month we are headed all the way to Georgia to see family for a couple of days. And you can bet I’m planning all the best stops, food, and games to play along the way!
The second is that we subscribe to a monthly box and have our date delivered straight to our door. We LOVE the Date Night In Box and it seems that every month we have even more fun than the last. The box includes mood-setting materials (like candles or aroma-beads), a complimentary music playlist, a full dinner meal plan & recipe guide (including drinks, appetizer, dinner, and dessert!), a discussion guide (we opt in for the Faith box so our discussion is Christ-centered), and a full night of FUN. We play games, get crafty, complete challenges, and we always have a keepsake to display in memory of the date. The date box actually costs less than a dinner out and it gives us a unique experience every single time. The best part is that we don’t have to plan a single thing! We just get to show up and enjoy the evening that has already been planned for us with everything we need for a fun and purposeful evening.
If you’re interested in getting your own Date Night In Box, learn more HERE.
You can also read a more detailed review of one of our favorites boxes HERE.
4. Gift Experiences
David’s love language is gift giving. And we both love to shop. So, seasons of gifting can get super expensive for us. But, this year we decided to do things a bit differently. For Valentine’s Day we decided not to invest in a single material thing. But rather to take that money and put it towards an experience that we will both cherish forever.
So, instead of chocolates and flowers and giant stuffed teddy bears, we are spending our money on a really exciting experience this year. As part of our trip to see family in Atlanta, we are also seeing a theater production that is sure to be a special memory. We LOVE the theater and seeing shows together. So far we have each seen a few of our favorites — David still swears that no movie will compare to the live production of Beauty & The Beast. He is a tad obsessed with that story.
As luck would have it, one of our favorite movies of all time has been converted into a stage production at a theater near some of our family. So, we get to enjoy a live performance of Ever After — a movie we immediately bonded over when we first met — and I know that this show will be such a special memory for us.
I highly recommend trading in your traditional gifts for unforgettable experiences. Travel to new cities for a food tour, an amusement park, a day of museum visits, or just some time down by the ocean or up in the mountains. Look into things that you both enjoy — like marathons, stage productions, hikes, conferences, or conventions. Those memories will last so much longer than a box of chocolates.
What matters most is that you are prioritizing your relationship — even when life and kids and responsibilities and trials of life get in the way. It still needs to be your most important earthly relationship.