Let’s face it: Time is a very precious commodity. And between work, school, taking care of the kiddos, church, community involvement, and just keeping your household in functioning order… sometimes it can be really challenging to
find make the time to invest in your most important relationships.
As the wife of a sleep-deprived, manic-studying first-year med student, I’ve had my share of difficulties adapting to this new rhythm of life. While the lack of “quality time” available was exactly what I expected, it’s still been an
adjustment adventure getting used to spending my evenings at home alone (thank goodness for this blog, Riley Mae, and old Netflix TV series… Felicity, I’m glad you’re my new friend), cooking a meal only to take and drop it off at the school, or making trips to visit family by myself. To be brutally honest, I have to admit that sometimes I wonder if my husband spends more quality time with his cadaver than with me.
However, I count myself very blessed that my handsome husband continues to make it a point to come home, give me a big ole’ bear hug (after showering off the anatomy lab, of course!) and spend some time (even if its just the 15 minutes before bed) investing in my day…
Yet, the reality is that our relationships need more time than a 15 minute check-in (as nice as those are)… they need a good old fashioned, bonafide date every now and then.
But how do you carve out the time for said bonafide date night?
Well the main thing to take note of is that, despite the term “date NIGHT”… a date does not have to be an entire evening. (Though if you can make that happen, that’s AWESOME!) I know all too well (be it from personal experience or by osmosis from my friends) that whether it be a thick Histology book waiting on the dining room table at home that will get awfully lonely and all the more terrifying after more than 2-3 hours absence, or a hungry breast-fed baby that just can’t go very long without momma… sometimes an hour or two is all the time you’ve got. And that’s OKAY.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s take a look at a few creative ways to spend those precious “date night” hours.
*Also, side note: Please, don’t judge how nerdy and/or ridiculous these ideas might seem. I’m a sucker for nerds and romance (think Can’t Buy My Love)… so my ideas often fall somewhere in that pool. Also, as you might guess, I’m a poor med student’s wife… so most of these ideas are very cheap, if not free. So if you’re a fan of frugality… keep reading
- Take a walk through a local park (and make pretend super-hero names & powers for all the people you pass).
- Borrow a board game that you haven’t played in a while from a friend and re-learn together.
- Visit your local coffee shop and share an old favorite of a drink you both love, or at least can agree on. (We have a favorite here that sources all of its ingredients locally, even the milk!) Spend your time between sips examining the decor and chatting about all the fun projects you could do together to mimic them.
- Better yet, make some homemade maple-vanilla hot cocoa at home (with homemade coconut marshmallows) and enjoy from the comfort of your couch. Enjoy honing your defensive skills as you fight to keep your sweet puppy out of your mug.
- Try to perfect your spiral as you toss a football back and forth in the yard. If you’re particularly terrible (like I was when we first started this tradition), let your spouse/friend/S.O. (significant other) teach you a thing or two!
- Take a morning trip to the farmer’s market together (and get your grocery shopping done at the same time!). Make sure to stop for plenty of samples and marvel at all of the real food goodness
- Start a new TV series on Netflix and watch an episode at a time together. (The mini-addiction that will surely ensue will lead to many more little date nights like this!)
- Choose a recipe from your favorite cookbook and make it together. (Make sure to adapt it to meet with the real food rules).
- Buy some play-dough (or make your own!) and have a contest sculpting various things: last night’s dinner, your family pet, or your own version of playdough “sushi.”
- Even better, sculpt things one at a time and make the other guess what you are sculpting. Fastest person to guess wins a prize!
- Go to the dollar store and put together an unwrapped “gift” with only $3/person. When it’s time to exchange, explain your reasoning behind what you chose.
- Find a giant chess or checkers board somewhere and get your strategy on.
- If you’re of the musical persuasion, pull some chord charts from the internet and learn a new song together. Whether you sing, play guitar, djembe, keys, or maracas… have fun creating your own “cover.”
- Choose a few challenging-looking yoga poses from an online database and try to master them. Then, when one of you falls on your face, laugh really hard and get the other person some ice!
- Find a piece of paper and connect with your inner pre-teen by playing “M.A.S.H.” Have fun predicting your “future”!
- Visit a local book store and explore, relax, read. Try to find a new series that you can start going through together. (This is a great choice for students because the “date” time can easily transition into “study” time when necessary!)
- Look up a few “magic tricks” online and test your slight of hand with each other.
- Choose your favorite exercise DVD and watch it together (while working out of course!) Laugh at your collective awkwardness when Max on the Dancing with the Stars DVD tells you to really rock those hips!
- Make some chocolate chip cookies courtesy of these amazing homemade chocolate chips - then enjoy over a big shared glass of raw milk!
- Watch some funny videos on youtube like this clip from one of Bill Cosby’s old routines, and wipe each other’s tears as you laugh so hard you cry!
- Last but not least, regardless of your activity, just make sure to really give each other your full and undivided attention. After all, the beauty of your relationships is not what you get from them… but what you can give to the other person in love, sacrifice, and joy (a perfect picture of the relationship God desires with us).
*This post contains affiliate links to a few of my favorite date-night related products.