Updated: Feb 17, 2019
There's always the go-to dates of a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant or a fun night at the movies. Which are both nice of course. But how about switching things up with your partner, with something a little more creative, and not just "Netflix and chill" again this time?
Valentine's Day is coming up, and whether it be a first date, a few months of dating, or 10 years of marriage--here are some date ideas I came up with (most of which I have experienced myself) to help strengthen your relationship. Your love life doesn't have to be expensive to be exciting. So these are great for those on a budget!
1. Make a spaghetti dinner together and picnic in the living room. It's gonna get messy, so make bibs by cutting holes out of garbage bags to stick your heads and arms through. Then put zip lock bags on your hands to eat with. Manners go out the window! Place a table cloth on the floor with garbage bags laid out flat and the spaghetti dumped on it. Dig in and take pictures of your messy faces. Slurp jell-o through straws for dessert, and wa-lah--you have a memorable night! My family often did this dinner growing up, with guests, for something fun and different.
2. Go on a nature walk, hand-in-hand, and talk about your hopes and dreams with one another. Cheesy? Perhaps. But also a simple and wonderful way to bond. As you walk, get to know each other better by playing a conversation game, where you take turns asking questions starting with, "would you rather"--or "this or that" (for example: pepsi or coke? cats or dogs?). Stop at a scenic spot to relax and watch the sun set.
3. Surprise your love with a romantic scavenger hunt. Perfect for Valentine's Day. Come up with clever clues on paper hearts you've cut out, and hide them throughout the house. Lead him or her to the "treasure" in the bedroom.....chocolate-covered strawberries! Duh ;)
4. Go star-gazing and a have your own personal drive-in movie. Park in a secluded spot with clear skies. Put the trunk up on your SUV and sit together, wrapped up in a blanket, as you try to find constellations. Then, with the seats down in the car, lay out blankets and cuddle as you watch a movie on a portable DVD player. Don't forget your movie-theatre candy!
5. As a group date, have a contest making ice cream sculptures. Invite some friends over and compete as couples (work fast!) and vote on the best creation. I did this in college, and using the Western Family brand worked best with its type of box; you can easily cut it off and are able to work with a more uniform cube of ice cream. The best part? Eating it!
6. Take a trip down memory lane and pretend to be kids again. Sometimes we just need a break from adulting. To let go and be goofy. Sit on the swings together at the park and talk. Then, at home, color while you drink chocolate milk. Build a fort in your pajamas and watch a cartoon. Laugh and reminisce as you look at old pictures and home videos (from when you were a kid and the early days of dating and/or marriage)--and create new ones that night. Share traditions you had in your childhood, and discuss if you'd want to pass them down to your kids. Bringing back good memories rekindles your relationship--and helps you to feel grateful and happy.
7. Participate in the arts together. This one can cost a little more money, depending on what you do. But my blog wouldn't be an arts blog if I didn't include this, right? Go see a play or concert, take a Salsa dance class together, paint at a ceramics studio, or visit an art museum. There are so many amazing, therapeutic ways you can bring harmony into your relationship with the arts.
For married couples, continue to date your spouse. Not just literally--but have that mentality. Choose every day to love and to keep falling in love. However you decide to spend your time together, make it a priority to go on a weekly date with your spouse (even if it is just cuddling on the couch to watch a movie after the kids are in bed--which, that precious time together can be multiple nights a week). But then...schedule and plan out a date night that is more thought out, like a night on the town. Take turns planning the date. Also, consistency breeds success. For example, you could choose to have every Friday be date night. You are then less likely to schedule something else because it is anticipated, routine, and intentional. You're not squeezing it in if you have time. You make the time.
Happy Love Day!
My husband and I recorded this song several years ago. I sure do love him!
Make You Feel My Love - Bob Dylan
(Cover by Clarissa and Jeremy Allred)