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What better time than summer to begin or rejuvenate your date night habit?

Date nights are a time to build your connection as a couple, a connection that will help your marriage thrive throughout the stages of your life together. It’s a time for each of you to feel pursued and appreciated, to focus on your shared vision, and enjoy being together. They give you an opportunity to set aside everything else—kids, in-laws, work, chores—and spend time rediscovering the amazing person you married.

Be creative, be playful, have fun together! Use these ideas to jump start your own idea list.

Summer Date Nights

Summer is a great time to get outdoors and engage in some shared activities that you and your spouse both enjoy:

  • A picnic in the park (maybe take a turn on the swings while you’re there)
  • Take a walk, a hike, or a bike ride together
  • Visit a local winery and enjoy the scenery
  • Take a drive to a little town you’ve never explored before
  • Visit the venue where you married or where you had your first date

Date Nights On a Budget

Date nights don’t have to include going out and spending a ton of money. Think of fun, out of the box ideas that don’t cost a lot:

  • Plan a restaurant quality meal at home and cook it together. Dress up, light candles, put on some soft music, and see where the night leads!
  • Pretend you’re spending the night in a hotel. Put on fresh sheets, put out clean towels, maybe even rearrange your furniture a bit. Bring in some snacks and beverages into your bedroom, and don’t use the rest of the house until check out time the next morning! 
  • Pick out a movie you saw while you were dating and watch it again on Netflix or Hulu. Don’t forget the popcorn!
  • Spend the evening looking at your wedding photos together and reminiscing about that day.
  • How about a game of cards or a board game?
  • Create a backyard oasis—maybe a little blow-up pool or a beach umbrella and some lawn chairs. Bring out a cooler and some music, and pretend you’re on a deserted tropical island. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, camp out in the backyard!

Date Nights for Couples with Young Kids

It gets a little tricky when you have young kids, but that’s no excuse to neglect your spouse. Someday those kids will fly your nest and you’ll be glad you nurtured your marriage. You may have to be a little creative with timing and, while your kids are young, you may not be able to have as many date nights as you would like. Shoot for quality over quantity and be intentional about the time you do get together. Your marriage is worth the effort.

  • Trade babysitting with another couple who also has kids.
  • Plan sleepovers for your kids with their friends to give you and your spouse time alone together.
  • Feed your kids a special meal just for them (we used to let them pick out a TV dinner from the grocery store—maybe not the most healthy option, but a fun treat!) and send them to bed early or set them up with a movie marathon, so that you and your spouse can have a late dinner together. 

Date Nights During Quarantine

Just because we’re facing a time of quarantine doesn’t mean we have to give up our date nights. Many of the ideas we’ve already talked about can be easily adapted to work in our current “Stay Home/Stay Safe” climate. And you don’t have to worry about wearing a mask!

  • Turn your home into your castle! Make it inviting for each other, and treat your spouse to something they really enjoy. Does she like flowers? Pick some from your backyard garden, some wildflowers from the field, or bring home a grocery store bouquet. Does he like a certain TV show (that maybe you don’t)? Give him the remote, snuggle up beside him, and enjoy being with him (even if you don’t enjoy the show). Treat your spouse as your Princess or your Knight in Shining Armor. It’s all about having the right mindset, romancing your spouse, and intentionally pursuing a healthy relationship.
  • One of my husband’s favorite suggestions is something called “The Ungame,” available in stores or online, which is a deck of cards with questions to take turns asking each other. When you really listen to your spouse’s responses you will find, as my husband says, “breadcrumbs to each other’s hearts.” Try it! 

Date Nights for Empty Nesters

When the kids have flown the nest and it’s just you and your spouse, having a date night might seem anticlimactic. But think of the opportunities! No babysitters to schedule, no teenagers to manage! This time is now all about you and your spouse. This time of life opens new avenues for your future together:

  • Share a vision for a redecorating or home improvement project. What are you going to do with your child’s old bedroom? 
  • Talk about your future goals: do you want to stay in your family home or is downsizing a better idea?
  • What do you envision the next six months to look like? The next year? The next five years?

Whatever stage of life you’re at and whatever activity you choose to do on your date night, remember that the focus of this time is connection and communication. Whether you’re having a hamburger from the backyard grill or dining at a five-star restaurant, it’s all about enjoying time with the person you’re closest to. It’s a time to romance your spouse, to remember why you married this person, and to fall in love all over again. 

Shari Chinchen

Shari is a Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional (PSAP) and has been part of the Pure Desire Clinical Team since 2011. She also is a Special Education Teacher at David Douglas High School. She has experience in performing arts and ministry. Shari is a contributing author to Unraveled: Managing Love, Sex, and Relationships.

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