Boyd and I met after I had been previously married. As newlyweds and parents of a 4 and 5 year old, we had to make “date night” a priority because we hadn’t actually been on dates prior to our marriage. Anyone with kids knows, they will suck 100% of your attention giving the opportunity, so if you stand a chance of growing and progressing your relationship as a couple, you need to plan regular times without them. Fast forward 25 years and we’ve been on a lot of dates, so I thought I’d share some ideas.
We chose to make Friday Night our date night and it was written in INK. If anything else come up, we had to first decide if it was necessary or a priority and if we deemed it was, (let’s say a wedding of family member as opposed to wedding of random neighbor who was just being polite inviting us and we could send a gift instead) then we push our date night to Saturday that week but we never skipped it.
Our babysitters were reliable. I believe that had everything to do with the fact that we paid them real money. Find out the going rate for work then pay well over it so they want to continue working for you instead of some random fast food joint. Pay a 3 hour minimum then add to it. It’s not their fault if you’re tired and want to tap out after an hour, so make it reliable for them too. We made the same deal with our babysitter, that Friday night was our regular night, they could rely on that income if they committed to the “job”. If anything came up on their end, they were to give us as much notice as possible which they did and sometimes they even suggested a friend for us. DO NOT overlook male babysitters. Big brothers and child lovers come in ALL genders and having 4 boys means rowdy, camps, wars and noise and not all girls are cut out for it.
Shout out to Kim and CJ, best babysitters ever
Back then, with a new business and growing family, we didn’t have much money to play with but this “appointment” was as crucial to the health of our family as any visit to the doctors, often the date activity was free so we could still afford to pay the babysitter.
There are entire books on free and cheap dates so just do a quick google search and see what speaks to you. Some ideas would include:
- Go for a hike
- Go on a bike ride or roller skate along a local trail or boardwalk
- Volunteer somewhere, friends events or shelters that often need help in the evenings
- Drive or explore a new area or just sightsee some fancy homes and yards
- Play tennis or shoot some hoops at a park
- Visit an art gallery or museum
I suggest looking up your local area “events” page. Most cities have them. It will show everything from concerts and sporting events to local businesses offering classes and open houses. I just clicked on “events” salt lake city, and “today” and found over 100 things happening in the area and it’s a Monday.
This can include anything from buying a “take away/to go” dessert at a fancy restaurant or a drink you had to buy as part of your “free date activity” but other ideas might include:
- Picnic somewhere picturesque- bring everything from home
- Renting snow shoes or a paddle board
- Searching the book store with a dollar amount each, to find something for the other person
- Watching a High school play or game- they’re so well done
- Going to a market or street art event
- Local ghost tours
- Searching historical landmarks or geocaching
- Tour open houses
- Distillery or Creamery tours
Again you can look up local “happenings” or even your local “groupon” for ideas here.
Young Fun Dates
Remember life before you had kids, lol? Barely! Some places target families but are so much fun when you don’t have kids with you. Also when visiting these places in the evenings, there’s less, if any young kids there at all. Some ideas may include:
- Corn maze
- Theme Park
- Light shows
- State fairs or carnivals
- Arcades or bumper boats
- Snow tubing
- Watch an event like Roller Derby or Jousting
One time we packed a grown up picnic (wine, fancy cheese and meats) and went to red butte gardens. We wandered through the peaceful areas then plonked down our blanket. We didn’t see another human the whole time which may or may not have led to some other adult activities also appropriate for date nights *wink wink*
- Cooking Classes – check your local deli or grocery stores
- Fitness Classes – try boxing, pickle ball or yoga
- Dance classes – Ballroom or country swing
- Local History – Cities offer walking tours and pamphlets of local attractions
- Unique Interest classes – scuba diving or glass blowing
- Curling- is a Winter Olympic sport we laughed at until we took a class. It was Hard and so much fun!
- “Airbnb experiences” Have you heard of these? Local people offer unique experiences that they outline before you purchase. We took a city tour with a comedian that made the history of the place hilarious and we also took an “underground” tour of urban street art by an actual artist who’s “Street tag” name remained unknown.
Creating on a date:
- Paint night
- How to plant a big planter pot from your local garden centre
- Custom Jewelry – we made rings from scratch with a metal worker in his small studio downtown
- Creating bathroom products- we chose scents for custom soaps and candles at a cute little store in Ogden
- Take part in a photo shoot- We did a couples boudoir shoot, so fun and liberating
Fancy Dress Up Dates:
Utah may be the least “fancy” place when it comes to dressing up so I suggest a few dates where you get the chance to do just that:
- A Charity Gala
- Holiday Parties
- Themed Events for Adults- Halloween isn’t just for kids
- Masquerade balls-
Again check your local listings and if you can’t find an event, create one and invite people.
Unique “something New” Special Dates:
- Hot air balloon ride
- Drive a race car on a track
- Jump out of a plane
- Go to a Rave or Festival
I could go on all day but I hope this list of ideas has gotten your cogs turning. I encourage you to not overthink the activity itself but just commit to spending that one on one, quality time with your partner in life. 25 years together is a long time and kids may come and grow but I can tell you that after years of, most nights activities, being dictated by kids events and needs, we found that one night a week to connect and grow our relationship is essential.
I now have tons of free nights to date my man and thank goodness, my relationship is in a place where I actually like him and still choose to hang out with him. Too many empty nesters realize too late, that their kids were the only thing they both enjoyed together and besides harassing their adult kids into producing little tiny balls of new entertainment, for them, they don’t have much going on together.
I encourage you to take pictures together on your dates also, as they make for a great “gift” idea when you get to the place where you no longer need a gift from your partner.