Welcome to the Date Night Challenge from Focus on the Family, in which we’re challenging couples like you to go on three dates in three weeks — 21 days to a new habit!
Of course, we hope you’ll see such a great value in a having a Date Night that it becomes part of your life as a couple. We’re convinced that this new habit will powerfully work to strengthen and enrich your marriage.
To help make that a reality, we’re committed to providing you with fresh Date Night ideas that you can download for free. With each new month, check in here for new creative Date Night ideas.
We know for certain that the Date Night Challenge works! Our research tells us that 92 percent of couples who make Date Night a priority have increased satisfaction in their relationships. How refreshing!
And what a refreshment it can become in your marriage as well, especially as you keep in mind these three encouragements:
So keep checking in with us for monthly Date Night ideas. We’re here to help your marriage grow stronger . . . to help your family thrive!
Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.
The alarm buzzes, and the day begins. if you didn't hit the "snooze" button too many times, maybe you'll have an opportunity to say a quick prayer and read a Bible verse. Most couples race through a hectic morning routine - shower, coffee, get the kids ready for school, make lunches.
You can't avoid morning chores and responsibilities, but you can decide to make the most of these everyday moments by seing them as opportunities to connect with your spouse and start the day right. you can experience a genuine, intimate connection even in the midst of a busy morning and set the tone for your upcoming Date Night.
Your Date Night maybe still be 12 hours away, but a Date Night attitude doesn't have to be!
The first rule of Date Night is this: Always act like you're trying to get a second date! Sometimes we forget that we need to pursue and "woo" our spouse. Remember dating before you were married? You dressed up a bit and were polite. you complimented one another. As a married couple, you can still hold hands, cuddle, and steal kisses. Protect your Date Night from conflict by pausing arguments and agree to talk about the issue later.
Step 1: Variety adds spice.
Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same food, you can choose somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine to stimulate conversation and your sense of adventure.
Step 2: When morning breaks, fix it.
Although Date Nights are not about "administrating" your marriage, it's OK to plan bonding moments and ways to grow closer. Over dinner, discuss ways to bring more connection and intimacy into your morning routine. Every family is different. If you have an early morning work schedule, it might not be realistic for you to expect your spouse to get up with you every day to pray or read the Bible. If Mom has ben up all night with a sick child, it's probably not a good idea for Dad to expect her to wake up and cuddle the next morning.
No matter what your situation, though, there are some simple things you and your spouse can do to be intentional about connecting in the morning and before everyone goes their separate ways. Here are some examples:
Step 3: Go Play!
Ready for more fun? Consider one of these activities, or plan your own:
Step 4: Relax and unwind
Before going home, you might look for a quiet place for dessert or coffee. Discussing the following questions should generate positive, uplifting and encouraging responses.
Step 5: The drive home can be meaningful, too.
As you drive home, talk about ideas for your next date. Also, think about additional ways you can maximize everyday moments in the days ahead.
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Date Night #2 - I'm Thinking About You
Do you sometimes feel like your average day is a rat race...and the rats are winning?
It starts with the commute, either to get to work or to get the kids to school. It continues with an endless series of meetings, appointments, trips to the store, lunch engagements, trips back to school to pick up the kids and then shuttle them to their extra-curricular activities, only to conclude with another long and frustrating commute home. With so much going on, there’s no way to foster marital intimacy in the middle of the day, right?
Wrong! Think again. Being separate form your spouse during daylight hours doesn't mean you can't stay connected! It's as simple as checking in with your spouse to say, "I'm thinking about you." Use brief phone calls, voice mails, texts or emails to connect with your spouse throughout the day. Your words can put wind back in your spouse's sails in the midst of the day's chaos.
Is tonight Date Night? Find a way to communicate to your spouse how much you are looking forward to spending the evening together. Even a quick phone call to ask, “Is there anything I can pick up at the store on my way home?” lets your spouse know that you’re thinking about him or her. Checking in with your spouse sends two important messages: I’m thinking about you and I’m thinking about us.
Remember: Always act like you’re trying to get a second date! Whether you’ve been married two weeks or 20 years, it’s important to “woo” your spouse by dressing up a bit, wearing nice perfume or cologne, being affectionate, and so on. Set aside serious issues to discuss at a later time.
Step 1: Different can be delightful.
Instead of visiting the same familiar restaurants, choosing somewhere new will help start conversation and heighten the sense of adventure.
Step 2: Remember me?
Over dinner, talk about your daily routines. What steps can you take to stay in touch throughout the day? Some days it may be tougher than others, but with some creativity, you can make it happen. Here are just a few ways to stay connected:
Step 3: Let the games begin!
After you’ve discussed ways to stay better connected throughout the day, it’s time for some fun! Consider one of the following activities or plan your own:
Step 4: Relax and unwind.
Before going home, you might look for a quiet place for dessert or coffee. The following questions should generate positive, uplifting and encouraging responses:
Step 5: When can we do this again?
As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Also, think about other ways you might let each other know “I’m thinking about you” while you’re apart. When you get home, the rest of the evening is up to you. Have a great adventure!
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Date Night #3- I Can't Wait to Get Home
You'd stop what you're doing to make a guest feel welcome in your home, so why wouldn't you do the same for your beloved?
As you go about your evening routine, there are opportunities to invest in the health and vitality of your marriage. As soon as your spouse walks in the door, you can make an effort to greet them warmly with a kiss. This may require momentarily putting dinner on hold or putting aside the kids’ homework, but it sets a positive tone for the evening that says “I value you—you’re more important than anything else I may be doing at the moment.”
The opportunities for connection and intimacy might involve working on dinner together, spending time with the kids together and helping them get ready for bed and enjoying some downtime together. This process culminates when you both crawl into bed. Before going to sleep, you can intentionally and specifically express gratitude and appreciation toward your spouse. This might be a good time to pray together. Give each other a goodnight kiss - like you mean it- even on those nights when it's not leading toward sexual intimacy.
You’ve succeeded in getting the second and third dates with your spouse—keep up the good work! You might show affection for one another by holding hands, cuddling and stealing kisses. And you can protect your date night from conflict by setting aside arguments until a later time.
Step 1: I won’t have the usual.
Instead of eating the same food, trying a different type of cuisine will help start conversation and increase the sense of adventure.
Step 2: Do you have plans for the evening?
Over dinner, discuss your family's evening routine. What things can you do to stay connected as you engage in your evening responsibilities? Here are just a few ways to stay connected:
Step 3: More fun and games!
After you’ve discussed ways to stay better connected throughout your evenings, it’s time for another fun Date Night activity! You might consider one of the following activities:
Step 4: Just relax.
After your activity, you might decide to find a quiet place for dessert or coffee. This might be a good time to discuss the following questions with positive, uplifting and encouraging responses.
Step 5: Home Sweet Home
As you drive home, you can spend time planning your next date and thinking about other ways to enrich your marriage amid busyness of your evening routine. Once you get home, however, it's up to you what happens next. Make it memorable!
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You know dating your spouse is good for your marriage. But in the midst of raising kids and balancing commitments, have you put dating on the back burner? It's time to save the date! Do something fun together, just the two of you.
The good news is that you don't have to make elaborate plans or spend a ton of money to have a great time together. Take your cue from these creative ideas — compiled from a recent Focus on the Family Facebook contest. With these low-cost (or no-cost), easy-to-plan dates, you can make memories together without blowing your family budget.
One evening my husband took me out on a surprise date. My wheels were turning trying to think of what he was up to when we pulled into Starbucks, ordered coffee and grabbed a table.
I figured we would just sit and chat, catching up on each other's day. To my surprise, he pulled out a stack of 3x5 cards and said we were going to play a little game. He had written a question on each card: What is something your spouse does very well but doesn't know he does well? What is your favorite joke? What's a childhood memory you'll never forget?
One of us would pull a card and read the question. Then the other would answer. We took turns reading and answering until we were at the bottom of the stack. We laughed. We dreamed. We reminisced.
A cup of coffee, some 3x5 cards, and I can honestly say it was our best date ever!
—Emily Peterson, Virginia
My husband and I have two little ones, so we don't get much time away together. One great way we enjoy couple time is by spending an evening at home with special food and memories.
I make some of our favorite finger foods to enjoy after the kids go to bed. We lay a blanket on the floor, light a few candles and watch a home movie — our wedding, kids' birthdays, family vacations. We also have old photo albums or yearbooks close by to continue the reminiscing and giggling!
Remembering the happy moments, laughter and tears is the perfect way to reconnect and just be together.
—Lisa Carey, Idaho
My husband and I combine the gift cards and various coupons in our wallets to create our own frugal date night. Using what we've accumulated, we map out all the places we can go to spend our gift cards and coupons. Between stops, we enjoy lots of conversation. This is a great way to have a fun date and clean out our wallets — while keeping the cash!
—Dionne Marriot, Texas
One of my favorite dates is when my husband and I climb up onto our roof with some blankets, a radio and a sweet snack. There, under the stars and moonlight, we can talk, snuggle and listen to the radio. It is romantic, free and something we can do anytime, weather permitting.
—April Walker, Florida
My husband and I share a love for movies. So I came up with an idea that would allow us to go "out" to the movies for almost no money at all. After we've put the kids to bed, we grab the baby monitor and go to the "Driveway Theatre." With a warm blanket, a couple of sodas from the fridge and a big bowl of popcorn, we watch a movie on our laptop computer while sitting in our car. We take turns picking the feature presentation from a DVD, Netflix or Hulu (since we're still in range of our Internet connection). In our own driveway, we get to experience everything a real date at the theater has to offer—with less cost and more privacy. Plus, I get to wear my pajamas!
—Nikki Stansel, Oregon
You would think that, after 10 years of marriage and three children, my husband and I would have said it all. Not true. For date night, we have chosen to spend some time in the card aisle at our local grocery store.
We look the cards over and find one for each other — sometimes humorous, sometimes sweet but never dull. We do not show each other the card we've selected...yet. First, we go to a fast-food place and order sodas. Then we fill out the cards and exchange our most current "vows."
—Sarah Webb, Arizona
With seven kids between us, date nights for my husband and me are rare treasures that require creativity and planning. Money is always tight in our large household, so recently I came up with the "Dollar Date."
To begin our evening, I suggested a "dollar menu" dinner. We only ordered things that were $1, and our total dinner was six bucks! We then went to the local dollar store and each purchased two treats to share. After that treasure hunt, we headed to the dollar theater and saw a great movie.
We laughed and enjoyed our evening, knowing that we had stayed well within our limited budget. And we had treats left over to share with the kids when we got home!
We will be doing the "Dollar Date" on a regular basis. I love the challenge of planning dates that eliminate the stress of overspending. And I know my thrifty husband appreciates my effort. That doubles the enjoyment of our evenings out!
—Kari Long, Alabama
After arranging to send the kids to Grandma's house for the night, I pick up groceries and flowers from the store. While my wife takes a bubble bath, I cook dinner for her and serve it by candlelight.
Afterward, we enjoy dancing in our living room or watching a romantic comedy while munching popcorn. Eventually we fall asleep in each other's arms while watching the flicker of the fireplace. It's not elaborate, but it's what she likes, and it hardly costs a thing.
—Travis Oran, Florida