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Monday, April 14, 2014

Rethink Date Night: Dinner and A Movie is a Lame Date and Fifteen Things to Do Instead

If I could give one piece of advice to couples- whether they're dating or engaged or married- on how to encourage deeper connections with one another, it would be this:

Rethink Date Night. 

We have several married friends who have made it a priority in their marriages to spend time dating one another. That's a great thing to do, for sure! But here's the thing... when I ask what they're planning on doing, the answer always seems the same- "Dinner and a Movie."

The same thing is true for my sister and her boyfriend of three years- they're going out on a Friday night? What are they doing? You guessed it! "Dinner and a Movie."

Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with going out for the good old D&M combo, but it's not really the best way to grow as a couple. There's no real experience to it.

If Zeke and I go out for dinner and a movie, a year from now, I may remember parts of the movie (unless I fell asleep during it... which is pretty likely...) or maybe some of our dinner conversation, but it won't be a date I'll clearly remember. I most likely won't learn anything about myself or about my husband.

It comes down to this- why do we do date nights? Are we just checking it off our to-do lists, or does date night actually have a purpose? For us, that purpose is to connect and grow as a couple. Watching a movie together doesn't really help us to do that. In short, dinner and a movie is really kind of lame.

Why not try something a little more... adventurous? Have an experience, not just a date.

1) Go for a walk or a bike ride or attempt to roller blade together (carefully.)

2) Drive out to a lake and go fishing (or kayaking or canoeing).

3) Learn something together- like a language or kickboxing or how to reupholster or ballroom dancing or flower arranging or fencing!

4) Go check out garage sales or thrift stores- cheap and interesting

5) Plan a road trip- figure out places you'd like to stop along the way, the things you'd like to see. Then actually do it!

6) Cook together, or try something completely new in the kitchen (The other day, Zeke bought a jerky shooter online... we broke out the dehydrator and learned how to make jerky!)

7) Do one of those guided painting classes

8) Make a list of places around your town that you'd like to visit (ours includes a Frisbee golf course and a tiny museum dedicated to... trains, I think?)

9) Visit a random town (we went on a weekend trip to Milwaukee)

10) Go swimming- even if it's winter. Go to the gym, or check out local hotels- lots of them will let you use the pool for cheap

11) Check out open house listings around your area and go dream about your future while checking out other people's houses

12) Play cards or get a group of friends together to play games

13) Go camping- even for just one night- and make s'mores. Because s'mores are always good. Or heck, just make s'mores in your backyard.

14) Have a stay-cation- check in to a hotel nearby (or just turn your house into a "hotel," or just don't worry about laundry and housework for a weekend) and spend a weekend pretending to be tourists

15) Farmers Markets! Get some sunshine, do a little walking, and pick up some sugar snap peas.

Of course, sometimes you're just gonna want to do dinner and a movie. And that's okay- we just need to remember to make some memories, too!

Linked up with Marriage Monday, MMandM, Titus 2 Tuesday, Wise Woman, and Wedded Wednesday.


  1. Good ideas....and great food for thought.............thank you for sharing this. :)

  2. Love it! We just discovered date idea #4 a couple of years ago by accident. Our twins were small, so we didn't want to take them with us (and our older boys were in school), so we found a babysitter. Since then, it's our favorite good-weather date! I also love swimming, although my husband isn't quite as fun. He's been waiting on me to try golf, which we have plans to do this summer. I think it's harder in the winter (in the Midwest) to find budget-friendly dates like the ones mentioned above. :)

    1. We're in Iowa- so I'm right there with you about it being hard to do stuff when the weather is nasty... which this year seems like it will be until August! Ugh. We do 14, 10, 11, and 6 the most during the winter. And of course, sometimes we just do dinner and a movie!

      I've never really golfed... unless you count mini-golf... but that sounds like a great date!

  3. We've done quite a few of these--and I think after three and a half years of living in the same spot we've explored just about everywhere within easy driving distance, which does make me excited for moving and having a whole new set of places to explore!

  4. Great post!

    I'm only 20, and the idea of dinner and a movie is already starting to bore me.


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