I was at Target the other day returning something and perusing the aisles for something to buy that I didn’t need (as happens so easily in that place…), and a sign in the card section alerted me to the fact that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. And my brain said, but it’s still Christmas! Le sigh. I’ll admit it’s not really still Christmas, Epiphany has come and gone and so ends the 12 Days of Christmas, but I still want it to be Christmas. Valentine’s Day means that is already February! But seriously… I have over three weeks til 14 February, there’s no need to panic. Plus, my Valentine’s Day plans are easy, I just need to find a nice card for D.
You see early in our relationship and marriage we sat down and set guidelines for Valentine’s Day because we didn’t want the cultural expectations to drive that day out of proportions. So every year we’ve give each other a card, and maybe a small box of candy but that’s it.
And I’ll let you in on a secret… it doesn’t make me feel unloved one bit.
On the contrary, it makes me feel incredibly special that D concentrates his thoughts into a card that I can reread over and over. I don’t like the pressure of having to have a perfect Valentine’s date or gift, besides the gift/date doesn’t always really show how much you love someone. Also, I don’t like the idea that you should shower someone with “love” one day a year because Hallmark says you should. (I use quotes because gifts do not always equal love.) But I do think that regular dates are important in a marriage, and that they definitely give you opportunities to focus on just the two of you. But how do you do that?
Last year I was perusing the interwebs, and came across The Dating Divas. The Divas are a group of women that feel that dates are so important to a marriage that they provide tons of ideas to fit every budget and family. If you need to stay home a lot because you can’t find a sitter, they have lots of at-home dates. Wanna go out but not spend a lot? They have lots of ideas for that too! Using them as my inspiration for last, last Christmas (2013), I gave D a year of dates as his Christmas present. Each date was in it’s own envelope, and the outside only said whether it was a Stay-In or Go Out date so they were surprises until he picked one. Since I got home from my work trip in July, we’ve been doing about one a month, and it has been so much fun to just intentionally set aside some time to be together.
Here are some of the dates I included:
1. Ice Cream Night – I put some cash in the envelope so it was already pre-paid for and we could go out for ice cream wherever we decided.
2. Restaurant Gift Card(s) – I sneakily bought some gift cards to two of our favorite restaurants while we were there so we could go back there and have a nice night out without having to pay out of pocket (or at least as much).
3. Spa Night – We did foot scrubs and rubs. Just got a plastic dish tub and some nice soaking salts and we scrubbed and rubbed each others feet. We ended up splitting this into two nights so we could each relax afterwards and not have to scrub someone’s feet. Hehe
4. Bedroom Value Menu – This one is from the Divas, you can find it here, and I think this one is one of our favorites so far…
5. Choose Your Own Adventure Date – We haven’t actually done this one yet as it is our date for February, but this was also from the Divas (see here). I picked some options that were more us than the Divas printable version, and D gets to pick his choices for what he wants to do.
6. Redbox and Popcorn – Pretty simple, but a lot of fun. What made this date different than our usual movie nights is this one we intentionally planned. I think that the intentionality of these dates overall really makes them more special.
7. Scavenger Hunt – This one was a stay at home date, and honestly it turned out a lot more fun than I expected. We set a limit of $5 for a prize (but you could easily do no prize or something free like a back massage), and then we each wrote and hid clues for each other around the house. It was a lot of fun, and interesting because D and I think differently so our clues were trickier than we expected for the other because of that. But it was so much fun!
8. Walking Tour of DC – This was a Groupon inspiration. I found a deal for a walking tour of DC, and thought it sounded like fun but also had us exploring parts of DC we haven’t spent a lot of time in. We admittedly haven’t gotten to do this one yet because of sickness and the cold, but we’re hoping to make up for it soon.
And the rest will have to stay a surprise for now so the surprises aren’t ruined for D! But overall this has been really a lot of fun and just plain nice to be able to spend some time together intentionally focused on us. And if you’re thinking this is too pricey to do any go out dates, I spread out my spending over almost six months so that I wasn’t spending lots of money at once. That definitely made it more manageable.
Do you have any fun ideas for a date night? I’d love to hear them!