Author: Whitney Hollingshead
For most married couples, setting aside time for date night is difficult enough without having to come up with a plan. If you feel like you are in a dating rut, here are some fun options that are relatively inexpensive, require little or no planning ahead, and will help restore some summer magic to your marriage:
1. Drive-in Movie
If you run a google search on summer activities, nearly every list of suggestions will include going to a drive-in movie. Unfortunately drive-in theaters are vanishing quickly across the U.S. (especially since movie distribution companies no longer supply movies in the format that drive-ins are set up to use). So what can you do? Create an exclusive drive-in movie at home instead.
All you need is a bed sheet, a laptop computer, a movie on DVD, and a projector that connects to the laptop. Hopefully you know someone that will let you borrow some of these items for one evening if you don’t have them all at home already. You may also want to connect a set of computer speakers to improve the sound.
You can project the movie of your choice on your own garage and watch from your car or the back of a pickup truck. If you want more privacy, you can project the movie in the backyard. While additional effort and creativity is not required, you could pursue various seating options, or even make and decorate your own cardboard cars for the night. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s conducive to snuggling up!
Pop some popcorn or make your favorite snacks. Since you are at home, you can make almost anything for your movie night. If you’ve always wanted a rootbeer float, smoothie, or even mashed potatoes at the movies, now’s your chance to indulge yourself.
You can add a little romance to the evening by inviting your spouse to dance with you when the credits start to roll.
Don’t forget most drive-ins host a double feature so why not let your spouse pick the first movie and then follow up with your choice!
2. Star Gazing in Your Own Backyard
An attorney with family law experience from Rulon T. Burton & Associates shared that the most important component of a healthy marriage is actively sharing and listening to each other daily. Star gazing is the perfect activity to cut out the distractions and spend some quality time sharing and listening to each other. So spread out a blanket on the grass and get comfortable.
Here some questions to get you thinking about conversation starters:
When is the last time you talked about your dreams with each other?
Have your dreams changed since the last time you talked?
Can you spend a couple hours talking to each other without discussing anything that relates to your bills, your house, your job, or the kids?
Do you know your spouse’s current favorite things?
What does your spouse miss most about childhood?
What would your spouse like to accomplish this summer?
What is your spouse’s favorite memory of your dating experience?
Add some romance to the evening by packing a romantic evening picnic. Purchase some sparkling cider and add some fancy crackers, sliced cheese, and sliced deli meats. For dessert, you can bring along cut fruit, brownie bites, or even your favorite cookies.
If you can’t see any stars from your backyard, you still may enjoy an evening picnic in the backyard and some time to talk. Or you could consider traveling to the nearest location where you can see the stars.
3. Hike or Nature Walk
The great thing about walking and hiking together is that you can adapt the concept to whatever location and intensity works best for you and your spouse. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Trail Hike – Seek out a local trail and choose a hike that matches your available timeline.
Night Hike – Consider hiking a well known trail after dark. Great option under a full moon.
Downtown Stroll – Head to the nearest downtown area and scope everything out on foot.
Park Stroll – Large parks are great for walking around together.
Countryside Stroll – If you have fields of wildflowers nearby, explore their perimeter on foot.
Walk Around the Block – Explore your own neighborhood and walk closer to home.
Walking is another great way to have the chance to talk to your spouse without a lot of distractions. Walking is also a great way to get some low impact exercise. Be sure to bring along plenty of water and some light snacks. You may also want to have a light jacket available too. Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Keep your backpacks light.
The best walks or hikes are often those with no set destination. Choose a direction, head out hand in hand, and see where the evening takes you. (If you are hiking in the wilderness, make sure you stay on marked trails and have a map on hand, just in case.)
4. Make Dinner Outside
Summer is the perfect time to take your cooking outdoors. While this may require a little more planning, you can make this opportunity as involved or low-key as you choose. Here are some great outdoor cooking options:
Dutch Oven Cooking – Try out a new dutch oven recipe together.
Tin Foil Dinners – Build a fire and cook raw meat and veggies wrapped in foil packets.
S’mores – This classic summer dessert is low maintenance if you have a small fire.
Grilling – Go beyond the regular burgers and steaks and try something new.
Camp Stove – Pull out your camping gear and have breakfast for dinner.
Cooking outside may take some extra time, but this is a great opportunity for you to enjoy each other’s company as you wait. You can toss around a frisbee, sing along to a guitar, throw water balloons at each other, or play card games while you wait.
Start looking forward to this weekend by choosing one of these fun summer date nights to try out with your spouse!