One of the most common pieces of marriage advice passed around at bridal showers, engagement parties, and other social gatherings is to make time to do fun things with your spouse. Specifically, to continue to date your spouse, even after you're married.
Now before we even get started, sometimes this advice can get a little prescriptive.
People will tell you "you need a date night once a week!" or "you need a date night once a month!" or some other kind of magic number. That's not how this works.
Do you have to go on a date every week or every month?
But should you regularly invest in your relationship by spending time together, just the two of you?
I think that there's a lot of wisdom in this "date your spouse " advice for a few reasons:
It can be SO EASY to get caught up in the daily routine, and forget that a meaningful relationship can't exist without meaningful interactions. Let's face it: if we're not intentional about investing in our relationships, it's probably not going to happen. There are too many other distractions in our world that fight for our attention and time. It's easy to get side tracked.
Let me put it this way: Is your spouse going to fight for your affection, attention and time the same way the enemy is?
More likely than not, your spouse will let you decide where you choose to spend your time and energy without much interference (because you're an adult!) even if it isn't something they're super happy about.
That means it's up to you to initiate quality time with your spouse, and show them you care.
Dating your spouse means you consistently set aside time, energy, and resources to prioritize your marriage and connect with your spouse. And let me tell you how reassuring that is to your marriage partner!
I know that we can't be the only ones who after a long day, enjoy winding down by watching a few episodes of our latest Netflix show, or cruising the social media world on our phones.
As much as I love being able to relax and enjoy my down time with my husband, I know that time spent in each other's company isn't exactly the same as time spent engaging with one another.
Periodically going on dates helps to get you up off the couch and off your phone, and back to spending time with the best person you know! Plus, it's a good idea to give the sweat pants a break every now and then... even if they are comfy.
Intimacy can be built in many different ways, and when you date your spouse you're almost certain to hit on a few of them. Two significant ways intimacy is built is through open communication and shared experiences. Going out on a date with your husband, then, gives you plenty of opportunities for both. (That's why dating your spouse can be just the pick-me-up your relationship needs!)
Dating gives you a way to get away from it all, and have some conversations that you might not otherwise have. You might find that it's easier for you to share what's been on your mind and heart, or express your love and admiration while on a date, rather than while you're standing in the middle of the cereal aisle. (Somehow florescent lights and shredded wheat just don't inspire that feeling of closeness... go figure!) Having a short little getaway might also give you just the chance you need to talk through areas of your relationship that could use a "tune-up".
Going out and doing things together increases your intimacy because you're partaking in a shared experience. Even if it's a date where everything goes wrong, when you get through it together you feel stronger and closer. Dates (good or bad) also provide you with all kinds of funny, enjoyable, and valuable memories of your spouse. These memories help to build intimacy, too!
Dating your spouse not only builds intimacy through shared experiences and memories, it also exposes you to new things, new places, and new hobbies. Finding common interests, hobbies, and pastimes helps to build on the commonality that drew you together in the first place! It's a wonderful thing to engage in an activity you love, with someone you love. Finding things you enjoy doing together, and making time for those activities displays your commitment to your partner, and reestablishes the "we" mentality you need to have in marriage.
But there's a big problem when it comes to dating your spouse:
It can be really hard to come up with date ideas!
And in reality, I think that's a large reason why newlyweds struggle with implementing this easy and simple relationship building strategy: they just don't know where to start!
ON TOP OF THAT: Most date ideas out there seem to be pretty stale and boring.
Yuck. Nobody wants that.
So here are 20 fresh and fun date ideas for newlyweds
(and other couples, too!) to get your wheels turning, and to help you connect with each other:
1. Book store surprise
Go to a local bookstore and bring a sticky note pad, and a pen. Take turns writing notes to the future readers of the books. Write a word of encouragement, a joke, a comment about the book, or draw a silly face. This is a fun one my husband and I have tried ourselves. We laughed so hard and had such fun trying to be sneaky in the bookstore!
2. Geocaching (or... don't hate me...Pokemon Go)
I don't know about you, but I love going on adventures where the objective is to find or discover something. Both of these options feel a little like a scavenger hunt and can be so much fun! All they require is for you to set up the app on your phone, and then start the hunt! Geocaching requires you to find hidden objects containing geocache logs. Once you've found the log, you sign your name on it to show you found the cache. Pokemon Go has you hunting for and capturing fantasy creatures with the goal of catching one of every kind of Pokemon. The app lets you see which Pokemon are close by, and you want to get to them before they disappear! Even if you only make a profile and do it once, it can be a fun way to get outside and enjoy your surroundings!
3. Make a blanket fort
Yep, just like when you were kids! This is fun because you have to work together to build the fort, and then you can both crawl inside and enjoy it. Bonus points if you eat ice cream and exchange some deep secrets while you're in the safety of your cozy blanket fort.
4. Laser tag
Another blast of nostalgia straight from your childhood. Instead of the tired date option of mini golf, why not try some laser tag? Or even paintball if you're feeling brave enough?
5. Take a pottery class
Let your creative (and messy!) side out with one another and try a pottery class! Since Trevor and I have personally done this date, I can tell you now it's super fun! If you're on a budget and can't afford the class, look into booking studio time, and buying your own clay. (The place where we went will let you come in and use their equipment for $15 if you provide your own clay!) You can instruct yourself fairly well using tutorials available on YouTube. Plus, it'll probably come out looking like a blob your first time anyway...
6. Make a "rescue" bouquet
Have you seen pretty flowers growing on the side of the street? In a field? Near an abandoned parking lot? This is a scavenger hunt to find as many lonely, lost, and underappreciated flowers as you can and make them into a beautiful bouquet. You can drive or walk around to search for blooms. Choose to exchange bouquets at the end of the date, work as a team trying to make something nice for your house, or turn it into a friendly competition. Give those underappreciated sidewalk flowers a home and purpose!
7. Do a photo shoot
Have a friend come along and photograph the two of you in a picturesque location. (They don't even have to be that great of a photographer!) Sometimes it's nice to get a few new photos on the walls, and even if they don't turn out expert quality it is SO fun to spend time with each other taking photos that show who you are, and how much you love one another.
8. Beach combing, or ride the ferry
(I live near Seattle, so I'm including this one!) Beach combing can be relaxing and exciting all at once. I particularly enjoy turning over rocks to see all the small crabs underneath. I once got lucky and found a starfish! Another great beach-related date is to ride the ferry. Standing at the front of the ferry enjoying the wind in your hair and beautiful scenery is an experience you can easily categorize as not being "date" material, but bring some sparkling cider along, and BOOM! Instant date!
9. DIY "Drive In" Movie Theater
A lighthearted and crafty date idea, this one is sure to be fun if you have a sense of humor! Find a large cardboard box (large enough for you to sit in by yourself, or together if you can find one that big) and make it into your "car". Paint, draw, or otherwise attach some creative wheels, headlights, etc. If your guy is really into cars, it might be a fun challenge to have him try to transform his box into his dream car. Once your "cars" are finished, turn your living room into a drive-in movie theater with popcorn and hot dogs, and place your cars in front of the screen. Turn out the lights, climb into your car, and enjoy the movie!
10. Swing dancing
Before you think you can't dance... swing dancing is surprisingly easy! Find a ballroom that has regular swing dancing times, and just go for it! Some ballrooms provide lessons for those just starting out, and these can be very helpful. The lessons are basic, and teach you everything you need to know to be a competent swing dancer. Again, it doesn't take much! I've personally been swing dancing a few times and for the most part, the community is very inclusive and helpful. If you ask for a few pointers, they will definitely give some to you. Swing dancing has been some of the most fun I've ever had on a date!
11. Watch a little league game, or high school football game
Find some good seats in the stands and enjoy watching the game! Pack some snacks, or get some at the field. The little ones are the cutest in my opinion, but a high school football game can be equally entertaining, and is a fun way to support your community. If it's cold outside, bring a thermos of hot chocolate.
12. Goodwill challenge
Each person gets $5.00 and has certain rules to follow on how they spend their money... here are the different versions of this challenge:
- buy as many items as they can
- buy the biggest item
- buy the ugliest item
- buy an item their spouse has to wear for the rest of the date
- buy a gift for, or something that reminds them of their spouse.
13. Urban Golf
Get a few tennis balls and go to a second hand store to buy a pair of 5-irons. Find a fairly open, (but not crowded) urban space like a park, or a college or high school campus. Determine your starting position, and pick what your first "hole", will be. This could be anything: a garbage can, a tree, a water fountain, a statue, etc. Take turns hitting your tennis ball with the goal of getting to the "hole" in the fewest strokes. Whoever gets there in the fewest strokes sets the par for that hole. Pick your second "hole", and continue. Keeping score, of course. (This game was invented by my hilarious and genius husband. We LOVE it!)
14. Play truth or dare
Come up with a few dares, and a few questions, and have at it! Just like when you were kids. You could also easily turn this into a more "romantic" theme if you want your date to take a more romantic turn.
15. Draw/paint a portrait of the other person
Get out the crayons, colored pencils, paint, or whatever you have! Set up your art studio, and do your best to create a portrait of your spouse! Even if these turn out horrible, you will have a silly and fun memory to look back on, and a great memento from "the time you tried to draw me and it looked like Mr. Potato head".
16. Visit a historical site in your town
There are so many historical sites around to enjoy if you just do the work to find them! Check out the quirky museum, or the unusual historical monument and learn a little bit of history in the process!
17. Visit the animal shelter, or take a shelter dog for a walk
If you're an animal person, this can be a great date idea! Go to your local animal shelter and visit the animals in need of some love and affection. Many shelters will also let you take a dog for a walk! Check out a dog, and give the little guy a day out on the town with you and your sweetheart. You might just make his life! (Just make sure you don't walk away with a new pet unless you're both on board!)
19. Take a trip "around the world" without leaving town
If you like to cook (or eat food) then this one is for you! Pick a place on a map (throw a dart, blindly point, or choose your ultimate vacation destination) and do a little bit of research about what kind of food they eat, what kind of music they listen to, and what is important in their culture. Do your best to find and make an authentic meal together, listen to traditional music, and have fun "exploring"another part of the world without leaving town!
20. Church "shopping"
For most of us who attend church regularly, once you've found a place you like, you stay there. Church "shopping" (looking around to find a church you enjoy) is generally something most people dread and avoid if they can. Although it can be a headache when you're looking for a new church, going church "shopping" from time to time can be a good way to get outside your bubble and see what God is doing in other churches and in others' lives. Make it a date by going out to breakfast, or brunch, and talking about your thoughts on the sermon, and what you thought about this new church. You can learn a lot about one another this way, and it gives you a chance to have some very in-depth conversation!
As a Christian blogger this date appeals to me, but if you're not so sure about attending church, you could easily make a date out of watching a few inspirational TED talks and talking about them over a meal or dessert.
Hopefully there are a few new ideas in here you haven't thought of, and that help get you and your man engaging in meaningful and memorable time together.
The Divine Reflection:
Do you set aside time to be with God and plan activities to draw closer to Him? Is it maybe time to plan a "date" with Him?
What other fun date ideas do you have to share?