I love the fall.
New routines pick back up. Cool air is ushered in. Leaves get dry and crackly and (sometimes in East Texas) resemble autumn colors. Gourds are everywhere, shafts of wheat pass as decor and slouchy sweaters over stretchy pants are applauded and encouraged. But you know what I love most? The rhythms of fall. And for my husband and me, that means a weekly date night.
Maybe it is part of your normal (weekly or biweekly) routine, or maybe not. Quality time with the one you love is an essential part of any healthy relationship.
With the rush of school starting and new programs releasing schedules, I promise you, now is the time to prioritize and mark down when those precious moments together will happen for the two of you. Maybe it happens every week, or maybe there is only time for once a month. Either way, write it down on your calendar, get a sitter (if the budget can allow it), and enjoy a date night!
(If you’re single, you need this too! Call a girlfriend and plan a night out, or go somewhere by yourself and listen to the silence if that is what you need!)
Here are some ideas to get you started, or maybe to throw a curve ball in the normal dinner out routine:
- Revisit your junior high days. Remember meticulously doodling the perfect note before folding it in a million different origami directions and stealthily passing it into a locker or across an aisle? Bring back the magic! I always have ideas or options rolling around in my head, but rarely know exactly what I want to do for a date night, so this option was the perfect meet between for my husband and me. The note gave him three options for dinner, three options for activity, and three options for the finale. Early morning before work I slipped it in his briefcase (and texted him to make sure he found it), and he texted me back a picture of his picks! It ended up being one of my favorite dates!
- Take a gamble and let chance decide your fate for you. This is another great option if you are lacking strong opinion but want to try something different. Grab a dice from your game closet or simply google “roll the dice” and let the numbers do the talking. Number the first six restaurants that come up on Yelp and eat appetizers at the first roll of the dice, entrees at the next, and dessert on the final roll.
- Goodwill and skating. Some of the most fun we have together happens when we are just “loafing” around, as my husband likes to say. And that carefree time is hard to come by with life moving so fast! So skip dinner for the night, or eat a quick bite, then take the rest of your date night for plain fun! Go to Goodwill together with a budget (we are talking less than 10$ a person here) and pick out ridiculous outfits for each other to wear. Don your new duds and hit up the nearest skating rink to flaunt your style and skills. (Athens, Whitehouse, Kilgore and Gilmer all have rinks and reviews with a quick internet search).
- Store Split-up and chatting. Want a night of connection via more chill vibes? Try this on for size. Drive to the nearest Walmart, Half Price Books, Dollar Store or even drug store – whatever suits your fancy. Again, set a budget, doesn’t have to be fancy at all, and split up inside the store. Your mission is to find/buy something that communicates something you love about your partner (Ex: my husband a set of stationary that reminded him of my intentional and steadfast nature; I found a book of witty pick up lines and a novelty toy that reminded me of his humor and work ethic). Then meet up in the cafe of the store or corner seating area – or buy the trinkets and go to a coffee shop. Either way, give each other what you picked out and tell them why you chose that item! It makes for an easy segway to speak identity into one another and speak encouragement.
- Do dinner and a movie IN. But make it interesting…There are plenty of nights that babysitters have to cancel or there’s simply no room in the budget for that extra cash, but date night can still happen! If it is fun for you, make it a theme night – choose a movie you both want to watch and plan the meal/dessert and activity around it.
- Maybe it’s a movie with Spanish influence, so you make oven nachos and then do something spicy for your activity 😉 or learn how to say a secret phase in Spanish together. Then write it in a note later on that week and surprise your partner with it.
- Make it Italian night with pasta and wine tastings and the charcuterie board of your dreams. You might feed into stereotypes here, so know your audience, but maybe play Super Mario or a friendly card game of Mafia. Make cannolis together or paint like Michelangelo.