Last night was a big night for me, ladies! Months ago, my husband surprised me with tickets to see Ray LaMontagne in concert (a definite bucket list item) and the night finally arrived! Ah, that soulful voice.
Prior to the concert, I spoke with a friend while I was getting ready for the show, when she remarked that she hadn’t been out with her husband in months. Curious, but not wanting to pry, I asked if they planned date nights at home. She said no, never. When I pressed her, she said she felt as though a date night at home didn’t really constitute a date. I was taken aback by this, because some of my best dates with Alan have been in the comfort of our home and organized by one or both of us. And more to the point, planning something special – even if it’s small and seemingly mundane – helps us stay connected when going out just isn’t possible.
Throughout my single years, I never thought continuing to date would be difficult when I got married. Perhaps it’s because I never thought about the conflicting schedules, the household budget, babysitters and the sheer exhaustion that can weigh you down at the end of the day when you have littles at home. But that’s exactly why I think a fun couples night at home is needed. In fact, I hesitate to even use the word date, because it implies an event or activity. I’m simply referring to small, intentional, quality moments of reconnection with your spouse. Nothing grand and over-the-top romantic (unless you’re into that sort of thing), but just a brief moment of the night spent together when you’re not vegged out in front of the tv or simply co-existing in the same room while playing on your iPhones.
When I was pregnant with our daughter, I knew our lives were about to change and that date nights away from home would be few and far between. So I made a list of 24 “at home” activities we could indulge in to keep our relationship fresh and exciting. When we realize that we haven’t spent enough quality time together in a given period, there are a few ways we break our routine and make time as a couple once Lorelai goes down for the night. Bear in mind, these are specific to the activities we enjoy doing together, which might not work for you. But you get the idea.
Trash talk over a game of chess
I am a moderately competitive person (oh, and by moderately, I mean exceedingly) while Alan is almost infuriatingly nonchalant and carefree. So when he kicks my ass at chess almost every time we play, his happy-go-lucky attitude coupled with my raw need to win can make for a fun night of talking trash, cunning attempts at outmaneuvering each other and relaxation (him, not me) in true nerd style.
Read aloud to one another
Alan and I have very different interests when it comes to books, but every once in awhile, we come across a piece of literature that we both find appealing or that one of us simply wants to share with the other. So we cozy up and take turns reading aloud. Yes, we are that couple.
Put on a record and dance
I prefer Michael Buble or the wedding waltzes we tried so hard to master. He prefers Irish pub music. The end result is always the same – a dance party that involves one or both of us looking foolish.
Cocktails outside on the back porch
Sometimes just getting outside of the house and sitting together under the stars is the best relaxation at the end of a long day.
So if you’re beginning to feel like quality time with your spouse is lacking, look no further than your own home. A brief 20-minute activity that fosters laughter and intimacy can be the jolt you need to maintain your strong connection.
What are some of the ways you sneak in quality time with your significant other?