My least favorite question on date night is this: So, what do you want to do tonight?
My answer? I definitely do not want to waste time figuring out what to do.
Here are some of our favorite go-to ideas for when we don’t know what to do.
1. Homemade hot drinks. For five months before Dexter and I “started dating,” we went out on “non-dates” at coffee shops. We drank mochas and talked and talked and talked. Actually, Dexter talked and talked. I talked and listened. Luckily, I like to listen. We still love coffee shops, but have started having coffee-shop-inspired dates at home more often.
2. Watch a movie. I know it seems like a cop out, but I’m not a huge movie person. Movies at the theatre are so expensive, and at home I’d rather multi-task by doing the budget or folding socks while watching a movie. (I do better with sitcom-length shows.) However, my husband LOVES movies. To him, snuggling on the couch while watching a movie is heaven on Earth. Going to a movie at the theatre is even better. For years, I thought I needed to come up with something better, but I have finally realized that watching a movie blesses my husband more than a spotless house and a four-course meal.
3. Live music. In October, a British stranger Dexter met at work offered to put him on the guest list for the Los Campesinos–the band he worked for. We spontaneously stayed out late for a Wednesday night date, and had a lot of fun! We didn’t come away any more virtuous because of the lyrics, but the sound was good and British accents make everything better! We also got to see The Envy Corps for the first time–something that has been on Dexter’s wishlist for a long time. We’re lucky to live in a city with some great venues and live music for free all summer long, so this is an easy date for us to find. (Although, we’ve planned on going to several events but stayed home because we were so tired. We’re kinda lame.)
4. Take a class. Our local health food store offers cooking classes for about $15/person. They usually involve food that you get to eat, so it might even do double-duty as dinner out. Homemade pizza, homemade sushi rolls, and bacon are all themes that have caught my eye.
5. Make dinner or dessert. It’s amazing how a clean kitchen can stay clean when there are two grown-ups cooking together. We have a blast trying out new ingredients like spaghetti squash and brussels sprouts together in the kitchen! My advice is to keep whatever you’re making simple so you can still talk and avoid getting cranky about the details of meal preparation.
6. Photography. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to take interesting pictures. We followed our dogs around with a camera back in the day when 4.5 megapixels was impressive for an affordable camera. By the time we have kids, we’ll be photography pros! You could even start a photoblog to document your photo dates.7. Painting. Even if you’re not a painter, painting can be cathartic. Buy some canvases and paints when they’re on sale at the craft store. Look for colors that complement your home’s color scheme so you’ll end up with some affordable wall art. You don’t have to do still-life or anything complicated. Work together to use masking tape or stencils to make a simple, geometric painting. Or try something abstract. If you buy a small can of primer, you can always let an ugly painting dry and paint over it for a brand new start.
8. Take a walk. I’m still convincing Dexter that this one is a good idea–to give him credit, he does stand for 3-9 hours each day as part of his job. We always have good conversations when we go on walks, and I always come home feeling loved and encouraged.
10. Window shop. We need to leave the debit card and cash envelopes at home to keep this date economical. We have fun walking around Target, antique stores, or craft shows, pointing out home decor we like and discussing whether we could make something similar ourselves.