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One of the things that most couples choose to focus on for Date Your Mate Month is making date night more of a priority in their marriage. For some couples that means that they are finally going to put date night on the calendar, find a babysitter and go out. Other couples are looking to get out of their date night rut and experience new things together. And some couples aren't able to go out together on a regular basis and are looking for ways to be more intentional with the time that they have together at home at least one night a week.
Whatever your current circumstance, I'm guessing that there is at least one area of your date night routine that you'd like to improve. I know that even though we've gotten really good in our date night routines, there are some areas of our "married and dating each other" life that could use some work. As we put effort into relationship, we've found some great resources that have helped us and made that area of our marriage better. I thought I'd put together a post sharing all of our favorite resources so that you can use them to take your date nights to the next level too!
Planning Date Night
The first key to any date night is getting it on the calendar and taking care of the little details that need to be in place before you can successfully get out of the house together. These are our favorite resources to help you do that!
Prioritizing Date Night Ebook - I couldn't talk about date night and not mention my e-book, Prioritizing Date Night in Your Marriage. I wrote this book not only to give couples ideas for what to do for date night, but to help them get date night on the calendar and make it happen, no matter what their life situation might look like currently. In addition to the over 200 date night ideas, I included seven tips and suggestions for how to make date night happen on a more consistent basis in your marriage.
Date Crescent - We recently discovered this new company, Date Crescent and think it's a valuable resource, especially for couples looking for help getting date night planned. Whether you're having a hard time coming up with something to do on the day that you've got scheduled for date night, or just looking for something to change up your date night routine, you'll love Date Crescent! Click here to read more about our experience and the other ways we have found to use their services for date night.
Babysitter Binder - The Divas have thought of everything with this binder kit. It has the usual emergency information sheet along with a few other helpful sheets. I love the "about me" sheets that you can fill out for each child so that your sitter knows their favorite meals, books, foods and activities. I also think that the allergy chart for each kid is a really great idea, even though it doesn't get put to use in our binder. There's a page for listing house rules (no kids tricking babysitters into letting them do things they aren't supposed to do) and my very favorite part are the little cards you can put where you'll be for the night in case of a real emergency. You can go out on your date with peace of mind, knowing that your kids are in good hands.
Date Night Guide - If you're looking for a way to make your date nights even more of a success, you might love this date night guide from The Divas. They've put some great things into this kit including a questionnaire to help the two of you get on the same page with your expectations, date night surveys to help you decide what you want to do for date night and the ultimate planning guide.
If you're a planner like me, you'll love the planning guide portion of this kit. It breaks down the things that need to be done to follow through with date night into tasks and puts them in lists based on what needs to be done two weeks in advance, one week ahead, the day before and the day of date night. I think this is especially valuable for couples who put date night on the calendar but find that when that day arrives, they're missing details in their plan and can't make it happen after all. With the planning guide, you won't miss a single detail and you won't have any excuse to not go out on a date together.
Date Night Invites - If you love the date night guide, you'll love these invites to go with them. Asking your spouse out on a date is one simple thing you can do to bring a bit of spark back into your marriage. Even when you know that date night is coming up, if one of you is in charge of planning it, taking that extra step to invite your spouse out with you can make a big difference. The Divas have put together an entire kit of digital invites that cover a wide variety of date night activities. You can download and send them straight from your phone and the entire pack costs only $1! It's a seriously great way to up your date night game.
Date Night Ideas
After date night's on the calendar, the next step is to decide what to do. Some of our date night activities are planned well in advance, others we decide on the week of and some we don't figure out until we're about to walk out the door. The one thing that I regret from our early married days was not having a plan, because then we ended up doing the same thing every other night and there was nothing special about the occasion. Now we turn to these places any time we need help finding something to do that is fun and different from the norm.
Prioritizing Date Night Ebook - When I wrote my book, the thing that I spent the most time on was the date night ideas. There are over 200 of them to help keep date night fresh and fun throughout every stage of your marriage. I worked hard to include date night ideas that would fit any budget, time constraint or obstacle that might come up in your marriage. There are ideas for going out and some for staying in. We turn to the book often and you'll see us sharing the things we do on social media and in a few blog posts, like this indoor campout from earlier this year.
Movie Night - We love the classic dinner and a movie date as much as the next couple. This was our go to date night for many years of our marriage, and I wish that we'd made an effort to make those date nights more meaningful and maybe not to have them every single week or to pair them with a fun activity. After many years of marriage, a few disagreements over what movie to watch together, and a lot of compromises and trade offs for our movie dates, we put together a list of our date night favorites, the movies that we both agree on and that we both love whenever we watch them. Click here to check out that list and get five tips for making movie date nights more meaningful for your marriage.
Date Night In - I recently discovered and purchased this cookbook and fell in love. The book contains over 120 recipes and each recipe is put together in a meal with other recipes to make together for a great date night at home. Each date has a story to go with it, and the author tells those stories of date nights past in a really beautiful way. There are recipes for every season and different occasions. We're looking forward to many date nights from this gorgeous cookbook that I'm obsessed with.
Friday We're In Love - Camille and Jacob made a committment to each other in the beginning of their marriage that they would make weekly date night a regular thing. They've stuck to that promise and share lots of great date night ideas on their website. We love to browse their archives for fun ideas and things to look for in our area.
The Dating Divas - The Divas started when they realized that they needed to up their date night game after they got married. A group of women vowed to date their spouses on a greater level and shared their ideas through their website. We love to pull from their date night archives and take pieces of them to fit our date night needs. Sometimes we use the printables, sometimes we just use the activity ideas and make them our own. There are ideas for all sorts of date nights.'
A Year of Dates - One of the products that I love in The Diva Store is their Year of Date kits. They have two versions of the general date ideas, but they also have some themed binders for active and sports loving couples, couples who want to travel the world but don't have the budget, and more. Click here to check out their store for the year of dates products.
Making the Most of Date Night
The babysitter has things under control at home and you're off for your date night activity, now you have to be intentional about the time that you have together. You want date night to be beneficial for your marriage and strengthen your relationship. But you want to have fun and enjoy each other's company while doing it.
Set Rules for Date Night - One of the first things that we did when we decided that we were going to be serious about our date nights was to set some rules or guidelines. We set these to help us think more intentionally and set aside the every day habits we had that were coming between the two of us when we were out on a date. Click here to read more about why and how we set our date night guidelines and what some of those look like.
Conversation Starter Cards - This is one of my favorite products from The Dating Divas. It's a great way to increase our communication on date night and help us find things to talk about beyond our every day norm. The conversation starter pack includes over 250 conversation prompts in five different categories. I love to keep a small stack in my purse so we have them to pull out on date night, or when we're on a long car ride. Click here to grab yours.
We also love this book from One Extraordinary Marriage. It's a little bigger and less convenient to carry around than the conversation cards, but the prompts are great and not ones that I'd ever thought about before. The book was written with the idea of helping couples connect like they did when they first met and it definitely does that. You could take a photo on your phone of a few of the questions before you go out on a date or just make a mental note of a few.
Planning Date Night in Advance
I love having a few dates on our calendar in advance. It helps us when we're trying to book a babysitter, keeps us excited about date night, and ensures that we have something on the calendar. I currently have a babysitter booked for a date night seven months from now, call me crazy!
Year of Dates - Our friends Camille and Jacob at Friday We're in Love put together the greatest gift for each other for Christmas every year. I loved the 12 months of pre-planned, pre-paid dates that Camille put into a scrapbook for Jacob the first year they shared the idea. And then the next year she shared the gift of 12 dates, folder style and I loved it even more. I'm hoping to take a page from their book and put together a gift similar to this for our anniversary this year.
Group Dates - I've been wanting to put together regular group dates with our couple friends. It's nice to be able to get together and hang out when we can actually talk and enjoy each other's company fully, sans kids. Group dates allow us to socialize with others outside of church and work. It's also a great way to surround ourselves with other couples who are just as passionate about date night and creating a strong marriage relationship as we are. We love this Couples Date Night Group kit from The Divas and I plan on using it to get our group date nights going here in the next couple of months.
I think that about covers it!! Now you have no excuses to not put together a date night this month, even if your date night happens at home after the kids are in bed. These are all resources that have helped us and that we really love and some that we're currently using to make our date nights even better than they already are.