You must go on dates with your wife. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have. It doesn’t matter how busy you are. It is imperative — you must go on dates with your wife. Date nights remind both of you that you are a couple — two people who like, love and are sexually attracted to one another. Before the house, the career, the kids, and all the other concerns and responsibilities that grow exponentially with time, there was the two of you. You began as a couple. That is a thing worth revisiting, for the communion, the entertainment, the enjoyment, for the sake of sanity and to bolster your continued commitment to one another. And, of course, to spark some sexual healing.
So what to do? Here are 10 date night ideas, from the obvious to the unique:
1. The Romantic Dinner
Duh. This is the no-brainer. But if you do it, do it right—get dressed up, get her flowers, and go to an establishment using less than 60-watt bulbs for illumination. The whole point of The Romantic Dinner is to let her know that spending this evening with her is special for you. So make it special for her.
2. The Dive Bar
The total opposite of The Romantic Dinner, and just as effective for re-establishing the bond you share. Don’t dress up, don’t get her flowers. Inexpensive and easy, the whole point of The Dive Bar date is to let her know that all you really need for a good time is her company (and a few pints).
3. The Mystery Date
This is a guaranteed winner. All you have to do is be proactive and make a plan. Go online and get tickets to see something that you’re both into—a band, a team, a play, an art exhibit, whatever—and put it on the calendar as Date Night. Tell your wife, “On Saturday September 22, we’re going on a date.” Don’t tell her the plan, just that you’ve taken care of everything. All she has to do is have fun. With you. And she will.
Go for a walk. Whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, walks are a fantastic way to share time as a couple. Just start walking. Physically moving through the outside world eliminates any sense of confinement. Everything you see together can stimulate conversation. The lack of a plan encourages spontaneity. And exercise produces an endorphin release, which subsequently triggers a release of hormones that increase sexual desire in homo sapiens. So you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.
5. Stay In the Bedroom
A bold suggestion, perhaps, but one that you should feel comfortable making to your wife. Because, you know, she’s your wife. Practically speaking, it’s not a difficult thing to propose—“So what do you want to do tonight? We could go out for dinner, see that new Ryan Gosling movie, check out the houses in that new neighborhood they’re building… or we could just stay in bed (cue the sly smile and/or raising of a single eyebrow).” After the sly smile/eyebrow raise, reiterate that you’re serious. “We can put on some music, take off our clothes, and just see what happens. We’ll just hang out. Naked. In bed. Sounds like a perfect date to me.” Even if she’s not in the mood to stay in bed (a distinct possibility), she’ll appreciate the fact that you are, because it’s a compliment to her—it shows that you’re attracted to her and want to engage in some intimacy. And perhaps she’ll be the one to suggest it next time
6. Urban Winery
If you’re close to a major city, you might be surprised by the number of urban winerys that are out there. Dallas, San Fran, Manhattan, Seattle, Brooklyn and many more have city-based satellites that truck the grapes in from the vineyard. Check around and see if you live near one and stop by for a tour for a great date night.
7. Reunion Tour
A lot of the musical acts from yesteryear are still alive and kicking. Some have high-priced entry fees, like Sting and Paul Simon. But for less popular acts like Chicago and Air Supply, you can get in pretty cheap. If you and your partner share the same tastes in old-school music, checking out a reunion tour is a surefire way to put a smile on her face.
8. Couples Massage
You may have to set up a few parameters that make you more comfortable, but this is actually a pretty great date if you’ve never done it before. It can be a pre-cursor to a night out, or you could come right home, shower off the oils, and well… see what leads to what.
9. Film Festival
A film festival is a great way to put a spin on the dinner-and-a-movie date night. Usually held at more upscale theaters and venues, film festivals often feature guest speakers and serve drinks in the lobby, creating a worldly, cultured atmosphere that’s a little more romantic than your local AMC. After all, do you really need to see the 3rd Godzilla remake this decade? Okay, fine, you do, but does she? Also, if you can get babysitter coverage for a couple of nights, there are some great destination film festivals that make for incredibly romantic weekend getaways.
There are two versions of this date. One is to have your in-laws take the kids for a couple nights and simply spend the entire weekend holed up in the house, living like you used to before the little munchkins arrived. Pound for pound, nothing will bring you back to the glory of your yesteryear than this. You will come and go at your own pace, eat when you want, drink what you want, sleep late and walk around naked. It’s fantastic. Another alternative is to check-in to a nearby hotel or bed-and-breakfast for a night or two. If you’ve got a couple decent hotel options around, this will give you a sampler taste of a real vacation.
If you want your marriage to last over the long haul, it takes work. That’s never more apparent than when you’re trying to come up with new ideas for date night. Just do the math: if you go out once every two weeks, that’s 26 dates a year. Over a fifty year marriage, that puts you at 1300 dates with the same person. It’s not easy keeping things fresh. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Whether you test out some of the date night suggestions on this list, or come up with some ideas of your own, it doesn’t really matter. In marriage, it’s the effort that counts.