Last year when our third kiddo turned one, my husband and I felt like we finally had our heads above water. Having three kids in three years really knocked us down and one thing that really struggled was date night. It wasn’t only the physical exhaustion that got in the way of date night but also the financial cost. Babysitters, restaurants, movies, and experiences are expensive, and with my husband’s travel schedule always changing, I hated making plans and having to cancel them.
Most nights after we put the kids down we fall into bed like zombies and zone out on a show. Last summer we really hit a wall and felt a major disconnect in our marriage and Jon had the idea of a set, at home date night, once a week. Because at home date nights have been such an enjoyable part of our marriage, I wanted to share some of our favorite games, snacks, and ideas for TV free time with your spouse.
Choose a Day of the Week you Can Commit To
For the most part, Jon is in town on Monday evenings and because we have commitments later in the week and like to be social on the weekends, we knew it would be easy to commit. When the rest of the world is grieving the weekend being over, I love Mondays because I look forward to an intentional evening with my man.
Logistics for a Date Night at Home
We aim to get the kids in bed by 7/730 so we have at least two hours of solid time together before we wind down for bed. Depending on our activity, we are either upstairs in our room or down at the kitchen table. We finally have our patio set up with big comfy chairs and a gorgeous table so I envision more date nights happening al fresco.
Planning Date Night
We try to take turns planning date night in but also have some favorite games to fall back on if it has been a chaotic week and no one planned. Jon is really good at planning themed activities so he’ll buy a new game and make a dessert that has the same theme, etc. We eat dinner as a family around 5:30pm so date night in usually consists of dessert or a cocktail together but sometimes we use it as an opportunity to eat a nice meal without 3 little voices asking for a new condiment every 20 seconds.
Research Before the Date
I have a board on Pinterest where I keep ideas I find for date night in and when it is my turn, I can easily scroll for something that sounds fun! Pinterest has a ton of ideas and we love The Dating Divas website where they have literally 100’s of date night ideas, both at home and out.
Date Night Games
Jon and I have always been game people- board games, playing cards, charade type games, we love them all! Ever since making date night in a priority, we have our favorite two person games that are regular in the rotation. We keep forgetting to do this but my grandparents play two games a day (1 Cribbage, 1 Scrabble) and keep track of who wins. At the end of the month, whoever won the most days gets to choose a restaurant for dinner out!
- The Cat Game
- Sushi Go
- Exploding Kittens
- Cards– Gin Rummy, Scat, Poker, Spades, Speed
As much as we love laughing our way through Exploding Kittens or strategizing runs and melds in Rummikub, we also love mixing it up with games that foster emotional connection and deep conversations. You may be married to someone for 10 years and not know their biggest fears and dreams until you sit down and ask them point blank. Here are two games we have loved- New Year’s Eve Couples Game and 20 Questions Couples Game. TV is not an option and we usually filter through one of our favorite Pandora stations as we hang out. Some nights it isn’t a crazy new game, just talking through what’s on our hearts.
Treats for a Stay at Home Date
Date night isn’t complete without a treat in the Hart household. Jon is so good at coming up with clever or “pun-y” snack foods to go along with our game night but when it is my turn to plan, I choose the most decadent, chocolatey thing I can think of. I may not be able to make a fancy charcuterie board but I have been known to make a killer dessert board which happens often on Monday nights. Shutterfly and I teamed up to make a custom wooden cutting board (hello gorgeous) that we love using for date night in.
I had no idea Shutterfly offered cutting boards until this year. I love that this board will travel with us in and out of seasons of life, making memories as a couple. One of my favorites, a peanut butter and Nutella snacking board, is pictured above.