As parents of young, growing families, it's easy to become disconnected from one another and even harder to find the time to reconnect amidst busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists. Whether it’s the excuse that we're too tired, don't have the time, or that it just takes too much effort, I think that we can all agree that one thing that is essential in our marriages is true vulnerability and authenticity, and that begins with creating the right opportunity for intentional conversation. While date night isn’t the answer for finding this vulnerability, it’s a great place to start. Taking a break from the kids, work, and our iPhones gives us the chance to reconnect, but is dinner and a movie really the best route to go?
Here are 5 intentional date night ideas that we are loving this season that will help you fall back into intimacy.
- Take a class together – Not only do classes teach you something new, but you get to experience learning together. Whether it’s a cooking class, art, or music lessons, stimulating your minds together with something other than crunching numbers at work or coordinating the kids’ schedules can be a great way to grow as a couple and provides endless opportunities for conversation. And who knows, you may just learn something new to enjoy together for years to come!
- Take your date outdoors – Some of the best conversations happen out under the open skies. Grab your bikes and hit the nearest trails, shoot some hoops in the driveway, or grab your fishing poles and head to the lake for an afternoon. You will be surprised how quickly the hours pass by; your conversation will start about the beautiful weather you are enjoying and quickly move into deeper, more meaningful dialogue that both of you are needing from one another. Trust me, doing things outdoors together as a couple is a game changer!
- Cook a meal together – This is one of the harder ones to make happen, but it comes with so many rewards. Once your meal is planned and your ingredients bought, date night “in” is on. There’s no rush, take your time preparing your food and don’t forget to taste test along the way. Get dressed up and eat your dinner at your dinning room table by candlelight, or hop in your sweatpants and have a picnic on the floor. Either way you choose to go about it, cooking together and having dinner within the comfort of your own home is the perfect recipe for quiet conversation.
- Head back to the bedroom – Whether you drop the kids off at Grandma’s or you head to a hotel for an overnight date, this is one of the most important ways that we can be vulnerable and authentic with our spouses that leads to more conversation. Are you feeling disconnected from your spouse? Do you feel like the two of your aren’t communicating well? One of the first questions I would ask you is when the last time you were intimate was. If you have to struggle to remember, you may need to make a date night in the bedroom ASAP. Experiemnt with something new or stick with what’s been working. Plan it out or be surprising and spontaneous. Either way, being intentional to maintain a healthy sex life will inevitably change your vulnerability with one another for the better.
- Intentionally do something you know the other would love – This is one that we don’t often think about when planning date nights. But choosing something that you know your spouse would love can quickly become one of the best date nights you can have. For the last 5 years, my husband and I have grown to enjoy one another’s favorite hobbies as date night. I have learned to love working on his hobby truck over a PaPa John’s BBQ chicken pizza and he has learned to love getting Starbucks and going antique shopping. We have learned so much about one another by investing in the interests of the other and have loved the aspect of teaching each other something we are passionate about. Vulnerability comes out so easily when our passions are incorporated in our conversations. But we can’t do that unless we give our spouses the chance to talk about them.
So the next time you’re planning a date night with your spouse, remember to think outside the box to get inside the vulnerable conversations. Because when we meet one another with authenticity and passion, joy is sure to follow suit. So fall in love with these intentional date nights and watch the joy in your marriage grow.
This article was originally published on From Blacktop to Dirt Road.