One of the common practices I use when working with couples is to assign a date night.  My expectation is that it happens at least one time weekly and that each person takes turns planning the date.  Some common boundaries are that they treat it as if they weren’t married and they need to woo the other person again.  Each also has to agree to try what the other has planned, and last but not least is that discussion on the date cannot be about kids or problems.

A common concern when given this assignment is “We can’t afford to add another cost to our budget?”  My answer is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot if you use creativity.  For creativity to work both partners have to be on board to accept new ideas and it has to be “All about the ‘woo’” and not trying to impress one another with cost.

Following are five ideas of how to be creative and keep it about the ‘woo’ and not the cost.

  1. Fancy meal out – converts into making a dinner at home but with candles and ambiance.  Make the other’s favorite meal or your favorite meal.  Treat it as if you are at a restaurant and not in your own kitchen.  Dress up for the occasion as if it is a date and NO CHILDREN ALLOWED.  If you don’t have a smarriage - Date Night on a Budgettrong support system to take the kids for the evening, try trading off with another couple versus paying for child care. You might even put the kids to bed early and have your adult supper afterwards.
  2. Rock concert – converts into his or her favorite band on CD or YouTube.  Can be done at home or outside.  Turn down the lights, play the music, dance, and focus on being together.
  3. Movie night – again can convert into being at home.  It is important for the person planning the date to pick the movie ahead of time.  Dress up as if you are going out.  Make sure popcorn, pop, or whatever candy your spouse would want is present.
  4. Bring out all those board games you have and do a game night just for two. Put some music on in the background, put your cell phones away, and enjoy a fun night with your spouse.
  5. Grab a blanket and head outside to cuddle up together and watch the sunset and then stargaze and pick out constellations. There are Apps available to help find constellations.

The entire point is to make the other spouse feel special and cherished.  It doesn’t have to be a whole night but an hour or less that is spent trying to create a special feeling for your spouse.  I’m sure others could be even more creative with limited resources but the most important part is to ‘woo’!

Karen Gotto, LMHC

Individual, Couples, and Family Therapist with offices in Jefferson and Carroll Iowa.

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