My husband and I have been married a year and a half now. Yay! One thing we decided before even exchanging our vows is that continuing to date one another is, and will always be, important. We agreed that, for the time being, we need to strive for a date night every week. By that, we simply meant at least one evening each week where it’s just the two of us, no company and no appointments. Something we also know is important but aren’t very good at is dating outside the home.
We got married while we were both still in school. He had only one semester left to graduate with his bachelor’s and I had 2 semesters to finish up with my associates degree. The first 6 months we lived on a shoe string with a budget that we couldn’t figure out how to do together. We both had our own ideas of what the budget should look like and couldn’t figure out a compromise. Part of this problem was our sporadic income of both of us working for hourly wages at a hodge podge of jobs. But we survived those 6 months in newlywed bliss.
Since then we’ve gotten the budget under control, have our priorities and goals laid out for us and are working together to get where we want to be. All that is well and good, but in the tight months of our still hodge podge of an income our “outside dating” budget often gets swept off the budget first. But I’m not writing this to complain about how we choose not to budget for weekly adventures to the bowling alleys or full-price movie theater tickets and over priced pasta restaurants.
Another funny thing about me and my husband is that we are both right brained thinkers. As most know and understand, we tend to use one side of our brains more than the other. We call these left brain or right brain thinkers. For example, my mother and sister are extremely creative and can dream up possibilities of all shapes and sizes. While I, on the other hand, want to know the details, the to-do list, the steps to get to the dream before I’ll begin to fully comprehend what the big dream is. THAT is the difference between right brain and left brain.
With both of us being primarily right brain thinkers we have realize that we are greatly lacking in creativity in our household. And while we think it would be great to add some creativity to our home, we kind of fear that one day we will have a household full of left brained children that we have no idea what to do with! The perks of this 2 right brains bit is that we work well together. We adore spreadsheets and crossing items off lists and sitting and reading books together. Where this becomes a problem is when the “outside the home date” budget has been swept off the table for a month…or 2 or 3 and we have yet another evening together…at home. After dinner, read a book? Watch a movie? Play a game? Go for a walk? We love all of these things, but after a while it is necessary to do something different.
On Saturday night we found ourselves in this situation once again. The to-do list for the day was done, our right brains were shot, and our left brains seem to be too weak to function when we call on them. So as my husband flopped, face down on the bed, I grabbed a box in our room that says “Josh & Kylee’s Box of Dates.” A clever little idea that someone came up with for my wedding shower. Each guest was to write a creative date idea down and drop it into the box. Cute. But after going through all of the dates Josh said, “I have an idea, how about we spend all night trying to figure out what to do for a date!”
I appreciate the sweet ideas the ladies closest to me shared on their little slips of paper, and I also appreciate the posts on pinterest that are titled “50 cheap date ideas” or “26 dates at home” but when it comes down to it, about 5% of these are actually do-able. Maybe I’m the one with the problem here. But none-the-less, we still need some spur of the moment, free date ideas.
So this is a shout out to share what we decided to do with other 2 right brained households as well as a plea for your ideas for cheap to free date ideas.
For our Saturday night date I made a deal with Josh. Because we could not come up with a single great idea and neither of us wanted to suggest anything we decided to take turns. I declared dinner to be on his shoulders. You take care of dinner, dishes, whatever, that will be our first activity and then I will choose an activity. We will take turns until we get too tired to continue.
He scrounched up about $15 and called and made a reservation at Macaroni Grill. I haven’t been there in 2 years and had no idea where he had called, so the surprise was delightful. We always drink water and split meals when we go out, thank goodness for amazing bread and olive oil at the Macaroni Grill! With our remaining $2 we stopped by Trader Joe’s for some fabulous $2 wine to take home with us.
First, pour the wine! Josh loves a massage but I hate giving them about equally as much as he loves them. So I told him, alternating back massages to a song. We turned on the good ‘ole Frank Sinatra Pandora playlist and took turns giving 2.5 minute back massages to one another.
I opted to take the next activity as well since my first one was short. I found a list of “50 things to ask your spouse on a date” list off of pinterest. As I browsed through it the list looked petty, silly, like things we already knew about one another. But I figured it was worth a try. Over our wine we took turns choosing questions off the list that we both had to answer. Whether it was “What is your favorite color” or “What makes you feel the most fulfilled as a man/woman?” we had a wonderful time being completely honest and laughing over the questions we asked.
It turned out to be a wonderful evening full of honesty, discussion, fun & laughter and quite the workout for the left side of our brains. 😉
I am SO open to additional ideas and suggestions for at home date nights!!