It can be easy to fall into a routine once you’re married (or in a longterm relationship) and not leave the comfortable confines of your apartment, especially when you’re a creative professional. You’re working late on designs for the new brand your agency team is pitching, you’re working a part-time job to pay the bills while you get your own business off of the ground – or you’re a journalist who needs an early night in before getting into the office at 4 a.m. to prep for the morning show.
Sometimes you just want to get into your pajamas on a Friday night, snuggle on the couch, and watch the latest episode of Top Chef. My advice to you is to designate one night per week in which you will not succumb to that urge. J and I have been married for three and a half years now. Our date night fiascos have gone from completely forgotten to set in stone. We spend a lot of time together but sometimes it’s difficult to drop everything and head out for a night on the town. Here are some tips I learned along the way to help us keep date night a priority.
THINK OUTSIDE THE APARTMENT
Make a strong effort to venture out into the world, and do something fun with your significant other. You can do the standard dinner and a movie (sometimes it’s just nice to not have to cook), or think outside the box and take a one-night class at a clay studio, some of which serve wine and cheese before you get down to sculpting. Your ceramic sculptures may not turn out so great but at least you’ll have fun together. At the very least, you can create some shot glasses for future date nights. Other creative date night ideas you can try are salsa dancing, concerts, museum and dinner, yoga and beer classes from living social, cooking classes, a park picnic, and anything else that you always tell yourself you’ll do “someday.”
KEEP YOUR PROMISES
J and I have a date night penciled in every Friday night but sometimes things just come up. It can be easy to rationalize to yourself that you see your husband every day so it’s ok if you don’t do date night just this week. Granted, sometimes you can’t avoid having to reschedule but try to make this night as high of a priority as possible. If you have a lot on your plate, work late on Monday to increase your chances of being able to go out with your other half on Thursday, as promised. Bonus, both you and your husband will be looking forward to it all week and it will keep you motivated to get everything else done beforehand. Another way to help keep your date night in place is to build anticipation and stay excited by sending each other texts throughout the week. I’ll usually send J a text during lunch with a quick status update. If you have an exciting event planned for later in the week, mention it to keep both of you looking forward to what’s to come.
DO IT YOURSELF
How do you think of 52 different activities to do per year for however many years you’re married? First of all, you can definitely repeat fun dates you enjoyed. Second, get creative and discover Do it Yourself (DIY) projects. For J’s birthday, I bought a cigar box, covered it in wrapping paper, and created homemade coupons to put inside. These coupons ranged from “go for a run to the Philadelphia Museum of Art together” to “T will watch a football game with J.” J loved them and a year later, he’s still cashing in his coupons. Bonus, you have a built in birthday/anniversary gift.
You can also channel your creative side to create an idea pool for date nights. All you need is a mason jar, popsicle sticks, and some spray paint. Spray paint large popsicle sticks different colors so that each color represents a different type of date. For example, pink can be more expensive dates that require some planning, white can be less expensive dates, and yellow can be low-key home dates. I saw this idea on Pinterest from LifeintheGreenHouse and instantly fell in love with it. J and I also have a TJ list we created when we were dating that is a sort of bucket list with different places we’d like to see and things we’d like to do together. Using some entries from this list for date night is a great source of inspiration for us.
TRY NEW THINGS TOGETHER
Whatever you end up doing for your date night, try new things with your partner to avoid falling into a rigid routine. It can be so exhilarating to try something new together and grow together as a team. It also brings you closer together and gives you an appreciation of your partner as you discover new things about each other. At one point, J and I were really into the show, Boardwalk Empire, so he surprised me by taking me to a speakeasy in Philadelphia. We both had a blast and thought it was really fun to immerse ourselves in a different historical era.
There is a real sense of spontaneity, playfulness, and thoughtfulness in having your own private date night ritual. From getting dolled up to walking hand-in-hand to your next destination, maintaining your date nights is a great way to set your responsibilities aside and make it just about the two of you. Plus, you get to dress up and feel the way you did when you first started dating and getting to know each other. For ideas on what to wear for date night, check out these looks for some inspiration.
J usually plans our dates but a few weeks ago, I made a sudden announcement that I would plan our next date night. I tend to go overboard so it will either be the most exciting night of our lives or a complete disaster. Maybe I’ll even make him wait on the couch while I get ready so it feels more date-like. Stay tuned to find out if I met his expectations or succumbed to ordering sushi and hogging precious couch space.