Is Date Night Really Necessary? + 50 Date Ideas
What’s the big deal with date night? With society’s ever-busy schedules, date nights are great ways for couples to reconnect throughout the week. Is date night really necessary for a good marriage? Well it depends on how you look at it. If you think “date night” means “going out on a date,” no it’s not necessary. If you see “date night” as intentional quality time as a couple, YES it is absolutely necessary.
You don’t have to go out or spend a lot of money to make your time a “real date.” The key is to just plan to spend time together, whether that means intentionally catching up on your favorite Amazon Prime series, or chatting about life for a few minutes of undivided phone-free attention before making out. I know a couple who rarely has “date night” but they schedule intentional time together every night and they’ve been married for 20 years. It’s all about planning time for each other.
Yes, There Is A Wrong Way To Do Date Night
During a difficult season of our marriage, date nights forced us to stay connected and in communication with each other until we learned how to love each other better. We learned during that time that there is a right and wrong way to do date night.
When my AMAZING mom-in-law moved in with us I avoided arguing with hubs in front of her. That was a recipe for disaster. I would bottle up all of my issues until when I knew we would be “alone” for date night. If we were low on funds and couldn’t go out that week, I would bottle it up until we could go out and then vent 2 or 3 weeks worth of issues. There were some months that we ended up arguing every single date night. My poor husband called it “Argument Night.”
Date Night Rules
We have learned A LOT since then — I stopped trying to act like a “quiet, submissive wife” in front of my mom-in-law, we got counseling from a pastor couple we trust, and we learned to discuss things in a timely and respectful way. Now we actually rarely go “out,” but because we have learned how to actually enjoy hanging out with each other, going “out” doesn’t matter — we have our set aside night for being together and sometimes we find extra time throughout the week. Praise Jesus!
Some “rules” for you if you’re trying to start a date night habit or stay consistent. I strongly recommend that on date night you don’t bring up tense topics if you can talk about it another time, try to avoid arguing, and don’t talk about finances. I also highly recommend that married couples end date night with sex just so that you have that guaranteed day to keep the fire alive no matter how busy life gets. #GetBusyNoMatterHowBusy 😏
50 Date Night Ideas For You
I also recommend having some different date night ideas ready so that your marriage is fresh and fun. My husband and I found hundreds of ideas for inspiration and came up with some of our own. Then we wrote them on strips of paper and put them in a jar. When we need an idea, we pick one out a couple of days before our date.
Below are 50 inexpensive date night ideas for you to try, from our very own date night jar.
1. Go to a playground
Bring out your inner child and play tag on the jungle gym. Race each other down the slide or see who can go highest on the swings.
2. Play video games
This is one thing that has helped me bond with my husband one the past couple of months. He loves video games and he searched for a while to find games that I like that I can play by myself and with him. My gateway video game was Overcooked on Xbox GamePass. Now when we’re feeling lazy, video game night is our go-to date night aside from “Netflix and Chill.”
3. Attend an open mic night
Fun fact about me: I am a spoken word poet, so I love open mic and poetry nights. Dimly lit café ambience, coffee, and art = a cozy night out. Bonus points for bringing your own poems to share!
4. Draw portraits of each other
Bonus points for drawing with your eyes closed!
5. Stargaze in the backyard
Bring out a blanket and some hot cocoa. Download the Sky Guide app to learn about the solar system together.
6. Quiz each other
Write questions for each other and share your answers. You can guess what the other is going to say to make it like a fun newlywed/not-so-newlywed game. Or you can ask deep open-ended questions about your dreams or fears or something.
7. His choice/her choice
One of you chooses what you’re going to do and the other goes along with it.
8. Cook a new recipe
This never works for my husband and I because I’m bossy in the kitchen, but maybe it’ll be a nice date for you guys.
9. Spa night
You can make your own spa treatments like homemade facials and scrubs or you can buy some inexpensive ones (think bath bombs). Try giving your hubby a mani/pedi. 😃
10. Make a special dessert to share
Hubs has always been a chocoholic and that rubbed off on me a few years into marriage, so we would go for brownies or mousse.
11. Make a playlist for each other
I made THE BEST playlist for my husband and I. He doesn’t have the widest array of love songs to choose from so I did it by myself and he doesn’t mind it. It features Marvin Gaye, Justin Timberlake, The Jacksons, Alicia Keys, and our favorite romantic folk duo JOHNNYSWIM, to name a few of the artists. The playlist makes the average night extra romantic. Well, at least it does for me, which makes it extra romantic for him. 😉
12. Local sports game
One of our favorite things to do as youth pastors is attend our student’s sporting events. Check out the college, high school, or even middle school games in your area and cheer on your local kids.
13. Go “house hunting”
Drive around an “upscale” area near you and “shop” for your dream house. When we used to live near an expensive city in New Jersey, we tried to find the houses of the celebrities who we knew lived in town. Or stay home and surf the internet for your dream home.
14. Take pictures of each other
Wear a favorite outfit and go out on the town to take pictures of each other. If you want you could develop them at a one-hour photo printing place near you.
15. Pick up desserts from a bakery and find a scenic place to eat them
I’m lucky to have a good friend who is a baker and her job is close to a trendy area with a carousel 😍
16. Make scavenger hunts for each other
Or treasure hunts. Or go geocaching. Or play hide and seek.
17. Share a banana split at an ice cream shop
Or buy what you need to make them at home.
18. Community play
Check out your local high school or college’s theater production or concert.
19. Go window shopping for furniture (or whatever)
Hit up an IKEA to window shop their couches, beds, home office furniture and wall art. Then enjoy the Swedish meatballs in the food court.
Attend a class together or look up some YouTube videos and practice at home! It’s tougher than it looks. Take it to the next level with a partner yoga or acro yoga class.
21. Read poetry together
Find poems online and share them with each other. You can pick a theme or style of poetry or just share ones you find that are interesting.
22. Watch YouTube videos all night
Or the videos that come up on your Facebook newsfeed or IGTV.
23. Play basketball
Find a court and play one on one, or join a pick-up game.
24. Write love letters and read them to each other.
I tend to write epic, poetic letters and my hubby tend to write short and sweet inside-jokes. Alternatively, rewrite or re-read your wedding vows 😍
25. Write out the story of how you met
Write separately from each point of view or write it together, including the “No, this is really how it happened” comments to make it even more interesting.
26. Ice Cream
Obviously we love ice cream in our household. Make it or buy it from a homemade ice cream shop! Or grab fro-yo, italian ices, or gelatosss.
27. Use snacks as poker chips
Chocolate, actual chips, little cookies… Endless possibilities. Strip poker is also a thing.
28. Visit the library
My husband and I are geeks so we can hang out at the library for hours and have the best time. We end up researching topics together ad trying to bring home all the resources we can to study together. And it’s way better on our wallet than spending all of our money at Barnes and Noble! 😩
29. Attend an art gallery
Support the local artist near you!
30. Mini Golf
Go be cute and competitive. Winner gets… you name it!
31. Buy surprise gifts for each other from the dollar store
Or you can be like my husband and I and skip the surprise part and just tell each other what you want LOL.
32. Buy dinner off the dollar menu
Or get the Kid’s Meal and play with the toys together. My hubby and I are cheesy like that. 😁
33. Go to a store pick outfits for each other to try on
If you check out your local thrift store you can purchase your findings for cheap!
34. Mad libs
Find some fun ones online and have some laughs.
35. Find a free or cheap online course and take it together
Search on YouTube, Udemy, etc.
36. Happy hour apps
At your local pub, Applebee’s or diner.
37. Root beer float date
Pick up a root beer + ice-cream from your supermarket and enjoy. Cream soda + cream is a creamsicle float. Orange soda + ice cream is a Dreamsicle float.
38. Go to an arcade
Gather your spare change and search for an old-fashioned arcade near you. Alternatively, find a comic book store near you.
39. Play chess
Use a board or play online or on your phone. Or play checkers or any other two-player board games you love.
40. Go to a sports bar to eat wings (or something) and watch sports
Dress to support your favorite team. (Go Cubs!)
41. Grab breakfast/dessert to watch the sunset/sunrise
You may have to prepare in advance to catch the sunrise in time, but just imagine, donuts + coffee + the sunrise!! 😍
42. Take a long walk on the beach
Cliché and adorable.
The closest one to us is 45 minutes away and definitely worth the ride.
44. Make art.
Paint, sculpt, draw, make a collage, etc.!
45. Book club
Read separately and discuss a book together. Or snuggle up and read a book aloud. We’ve been enjoying reading the whole Chronicles of Narnia series aloud together.
46. Work out together.
Hit the gym, watch an exercise video or find a written workout to follow together. We are definitely going to be trying this RPG (video game style) workout together ASAP!!!
47. Give each other massages
And let whatever happens happen after that! 😉
48. Volunteer together
Serve together at church, a soup kitchen, or another nonprofit you’re passionate about.
49. Plan a surprise for your kids together
We find so much happiness when we buy a small toy that our daughter will love and put it where she’ll see it when she wakes up, just because. Or you can plan something special to do as a family.
50. Bake a wedding cake together
This would be so much fun to do as an anniversary date! Then look at your wedding album or watch your wedding video.
I also wanted to shout-out my favorite website for when we want to do an extra special date night. The Dating Divas is a resource for couples (and families) to go on dates together. They have tons of adorable printables, plus challenges, calendars, and even courses. Be sure to check them out for inspiration or when you want to be extra creative!
Your turn: What is your favorite way to spend time with your husband? ⭐️
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Jesus-loving pastor’s wife & toddler mom who is writing here to help you “be a blessing” in your day-to-day life. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.