37 at home date night in ideas for married couples (non-TV activities). Find romantic date ideas for married couples.
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Date night in ideas that you'll *actually* have time to use?
A year or two ago, my husband and I felt huge time constraints. We had an infant, and felt like there was no time or energy to plan things to do on a home date.
I wanted to find out where the heck all of my time was going to (as if the answer wasn't crawling around, babbling in front of me…hint – our 1-year old baby), and if it went to places that were actually a priority.
Like continuing to date my husband, even when our date nights would be at home.
I used the free time-tracking app, Toggl, to account for almost every minute of my day for three whole weeks.
I even tracked our couple's time, but in two different ways:
- couple's time with television
- couple's time without television
The learning made it all worth it. One of the biggest nuggets that came out of this?
Was seeing how much time my husband and I spend together, in front of the television.
The results were…well, bad.
I mean, we have our shows together that I just adore. But I had no idea that this was basically our only couple's “activity” we were doing together when we finally put our little guy to sleep each night.
Once I showed the results to my husband, it put us on a mission to get more couple time together, at home, that doesn't involve a television (even just in the background).
Meaning, we needed to come up with some pretty awesome, and cheap, at-home date nights plus non-TV activities for couples to do.
Importance of Date Night for Married Couples
I cannot stress enough the importance of date night for married couples.
Consistent date nights.
Around the same time that I did that toggl accounting of my time and discovered the enormous amount of television intruding on our couple's time, we went through a free online marriage class to enhance our marriage relationship.
The HUGE takeaway for both of us: we need to plan date nights in our marriage.
So, we decided to plan a date night every single week, and take turns with who was in charge of it. And to make it part of our married life together.
That was about two years ago, and I can't tell you the difference it's made in our relationship, and in each of us.
Twice a month, I get to just “show up” to date night with my husband, and twice a month he gets to come home from work to a planned evening together.
Just the act of coming up with little surprises for at-home date night for one another has reaffirmed our love.
So, what do date nights at our home look like?
But First, How Date Nights Work in Our Household
We're in a season of life where most of our date nights are fit in at home after the baby has gone to sleep (we probably get a babysitter just once every other month).
And, we're both kind of exhausted.
Still, we've placed a huge importance on date nights in our household and in our relationship — no matter if we have an 8-month old, a 2-year old, or whatever.
We set the following parameters:
- Divvied Up Responsibility: Our weekly date nights are on a rotating schedule. Every first week my husband is responsible for setting it up, and every other week I’m responsible for setting it up.
- Got Flexible on What’s Considered a Date: We’re not prepared to find a babysitter every week. Even if we were, I’m not sure we’d like to leave the home that often with the little guy (though as he’s getting into toddlerhood…we’re getting more comfortable with the idea?). So, we decided that date nights could be either in the home (almost 90% of the time, that's what happens), or out of the home. Whatever the person chooses.
- Chose a Consistent Date + Time: We also decided some general ground rules for date nights. Our date night will be on Thursdays, starting after the youngin’ goes to sleep. Which is pretty much like clockwork at 7:30 p.m. (what a blessing!).
We have over two years of experience with coming up with cheap, at-home date nights, so I'm sharing some of our favorites with you!
Date Night In Ideas After Kids Go to Bed
Date nights look…different after kid(dos) come along.
Sure, we could get a babysitter once a week and make things proper by going out on the town. Truth be told, we probably DO get a family or friend to babysit for us about once a month to do just that.
But doing this every week for the first 22 months of our child’s life? It just wasn’t in the cards for us. There’s sleeping schedules, sleep deprivation, feeling comfortable with leaving your baby at night with someone (did I mention, your FIRST baby?), etc.
So, while we’ve had some hellacious-ly fun dates out on the town since baby was born, the majority of our weekly at home date nights for married couples (that's us!) have been in the comfort of our own home (er, well, at least in the comfort of within baby-monitor-distance. You’ll see more info on that below).
With the help of ideas from others, we’ve managed to come up with some really unique ways to create an experience that feels just like we’d been out on the town.
Yes, you can have exciting dates at home!
I’d like to pass those along to you in your quest to keep the intimacy + romance + fun alive with your partner.
Romantic date ideas for married couples at home:
These make the perfect date night ideas for married couples looking to build more intimacy into their lives.
Because we don't just want to keep the spark alive…we want to build the spark to be even bigger, right?
1. Download a Spicy Bedroom App and Get to Gettin'
There are several free, and really spicy relationship apps you can use after the kids go to bed (and a few? Well, they're best for day-long foreplay when the two of you are apart).
Try out one of these relationship apps for couples:
- Ultimate Intimacy App: Free for both iOS and Android.
- Desire App: Free for both iOS and Android.
- Honi App: Free for iOS.
Psst: you'll definitely want to check out my article on the best marriage apps for couples.
2. Love is Art Body Painting
You cannot believe the look of surprise on my husband’s face when I presented him with this Love is Art kit (once he figured out what it is we were actually about to do).
That’s right – you get naked (or in swimsuits – whatever you prefer), and you create a canvas work of art! Instantly a memory we’ll always cherish and definitely something we’ll never forget.
Did I mention we might actually frame this and hang it above our bed (maybe for an anniversary gift)? It’ll be an awesome inside reminder of our relationship.
3. Spend the Night in a DIFFERENT Room
One of the best night ideas for couples is to just spend the night in a different room.
Got a guest room? Or an office you hardly use + an air mattress you only break out for the guests? Make this fun date night special by spending the night at a “hotel” in your own home (a romantic getaway…at home!).
Breakfast in bed? Why, yes, pleassssseee.
Our own twist for this – we actually built a fire in our fireplace, and laid out blankets/pillows in front of it on Christmas Eve for our date night. That is a cherished memory we’ll always have (nope…I’m not sharing any of the other details!).
4. Get Date Night Delivered to Your Front Door
How much easier (and, more interesting) would it be to plan at home date nights if someone else planned the whole thing out, boxed it up, and shipped it to your front door?
We're parents of a little one, and we simply just haven't had time to always plan weekly date night at home for each other.
SO, we started “outsourcing” one date night a month by getting a date night subscription box delivered to our front door!
You can read all about our date night box reviews here, but I'll share our favorite one here (#1 pick!): Crated with Love (use this link and coupon code “FRUGAL” to get $5 off).
5. Create a Cheaper Version of the Game of Love
The Game of Love – a really saucy, but totally fun date idea for couples – usually costs $55. But this woman has a way for you to make it yourself for much less (she calls it the Between-the-Sheets Game).
Hint: dollar stores bed sheets will work just fine for this!
Psst: you'll also want to check my article out on our review of several well-known date night box reviews. Boy do those add fun to at-home date nights, without you having to do the planning!
6. Paint with a Twist (At-Home Version)
Painting with a Twist is a really fun night out where couples go to little art studios, listen to music, drink wine, and learn how to paint a painting. However, it typically costs around $35/per person (so $70, plus the cost of a babysitter!).
You can create your own, at-home version, by buying the supplies at stores like Michael’s (don’t forget to look for a 40% off coupon to their store), and then painting along with YouTube artist tutorials.
7. Create a Graffiti Wall
Ever just wanted to do some graffiti…you know, the kind that easily gets cleaned up?
Could be a fun release of stress, artistic expression, and whatever else!
You’ll need paints (who says you can’t use up all those old paint cans and spray bottles in your garage? We have about a bazillion from all the paint jobs we’ve done over the years), a way to protect your wall (I’ve got a tarp we used to use for our wood pile out back that will work perfectly), and paper or a cloth canvas.
Move your furniture and anything else that could be spattered away from the wall – I would do several feet away – and hang both the protective layer as well as your “canvas”. Don’t forget to protect the floor! You could use trash bags, or anything else that will keep the paint from bleeding through.
Then…have some FUN with painting a huge graffiti mural with your partner!
Best part is? You can roll the whole thing up and trash it before the kids wake up the next morning.
8. Do a Couple’s Yoga Session
Do you want to get a bit…physical with your partner during your date? How about a rockin’ partner yoga session? From the comfort of your own home, you can mess up and giggle your way through without any weird looks.
Hint: don’t have yoga mats? Just use towels.
9. Have a Couple’s Massage Date Night
This guy, Denis, is the MAN to go to for couple’s massage tutorials and tips. I’m a member of his email list AND his FB group (he’s not currently accepting new members), and I can’t get enough of his techniques!
His videos are not only entertaining, but you’ll pick up enough massage tips to make this night pleasurable for you both. (Hint: he sells an almond massage oil called Melt – the only ingredient is almond – and I bought us a set to use on our couple’s massage date night!).
Fast forward to my personal pick for videos to check out (warning: he has lengthy intros to his videos – keep watching!):
- Neck massage tutorial for couples (10:35)
- Scalp massage tutorial (8:19)
10. Star Gaze in an Inflatable Pool
Several years ago, I came upon this awesome, quirky idea on Pinterest: to use your child’s inflatable pool as a star-gazing venue for you + your beau.
I can officially say, it’s a really cool idea!
Take yours up a notch with this free printable date night under the stars.
For us? It was surprising my husband with the blankets and pillows already set up, snuggling under a star-studded sky (yes, we were both surprised by how many we could see, even though we’re in the city), and listening to the bugs chirp. Just wonderful.
Here are 17 more backyard date night ideas for couples.
Pssst: Yes, these are all tested by me and my spouse, Paul, over the last two years. Boy did we have some fun! A note on the ones that took place outside – you need to just be within comfortable distance from your baby so that you can hear them and/or check on them in case something’s wrong. This could be by opening a window near their bedroom so you would hear them cry, or using a baby monitor with a decent distance, or checking in on them every so often by opening the back door to your house and seeing if you hear a peep. It’s all up to your comfort level!
11. Host a Chocolate Bar Tasting for Dessert
Over the course of several afternoons, I took our little guy on a date-night mission: we went to several stores to source exotic and indulgent chocolates of all kinds for a date night.
Honestly, the act of sourcing chocolates I would never normally think about buying because of the high price tags felt really good (Hint: the place where there was the most selection? Whole Foods.). Total cost was just $15.86 (I somehow walked into a Buy-1-Bar, Get-2nd-Bar-Half-Off sale).
I chose 6 bars to correspond with The Dating Divas’ FREE Chocolate Tasting Date Night Setup:
- Divine Dark Chocolate with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt: This one ended up being our favorite!
- Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate: This one was wayyyyy too bitter for both of us.
- Theo Chocolate Organic Chili Dark Bar: We both enjoyed the bit of heat; however, it tasted of cumin to us (even though that’s not on the ingredient list).
- Endangered Rain Forest Dark Chocolate (72%) with Forest Mint: Yummy.
- Divine White Chocolate Bar: Paul really liked this one, I thought it was okay.
- Endangered Tiger Species Natural Dark Chocolate (72%) with Espresso Beans: This was our second favorite!
Why was this seemingly simple date night successful? Because it brought a new experience – tasting various chocolates from around the world – right into our living room. It was engaging, and sparked conversations + playful debates. Did I mention it took care of dessert as well?
Psssst: Living in a small town? Definitely check out my small town date ideas article, in addition to this one.
12. Have Drive-In Movie…in Your Driveway
You heard me right. We had a right and proper drive-in movie…in our driveway.
And let me tell you, it made all the difference. We really felt like we were getting “away”, even though the baby was soundly sleeping just half a house away from us.
Pssst: add these awesome Cuddle Car Date free printables to your own date night!
How we set up this date:
- Charge Up Your Laptop: I charged up my laptop + then propped it on Paul’s car dashboard (his car is the one that doesn’t house the car seat).
- Get Some Theater Candies from the Store: During my bi-weekly grocery trip, I picked up several of our favorite boxed theater candies.
- Add a New Movie to Your Netflix Queue: I made sure to add a new movie we would have loved to see in theater pre-baby to the top of our queue (we’re theater buffs), and sent back the last movie to give plenty of time for it to arrive.
- Get Out the Blankets: I grabbed some blankets from our living room to make the back seat of his car cozy.
- Figure Out How to Hear the Baby: We’re lucky in that our baby's window overhangs directly over the driveway. I opened it for the date night so that we’d hear the baby if he cried. Fortunately, it’s been 6 months since he cried in the middle of the night (WOW is that nice to be able to say; it was a tough first sixteen months!), but just in case, it made us feel more comfortable to be able to hear him.
13. Hold a Solar Eclipse, Two-Part Date
This one was a blast to set up and keep secret (though offering emoji clues throughout the week) from Paul.
I scouted out free, NASA-Approved solar eclipse glasses from a library in Houston, and actually found several pairs!
Then I rolled through the movie rolodex in my mind. The only movie I can remember seeing that has a solar eclipse in it is Dolores Claiborne, by Stephen King. We both happen to be King fans, so it was perfect.
Here’s how I set this up:
- Got the Solar Eclipse Glasses: I got my butt in gear about a week before the eclipse happened and felt lucky I still found these!
- Added the Movie to Our Netflix Queue: I made sure to add the new movie to the top of the queue a week ahead of time, then send back one of the DVDs we had.
- Setup Movie Night for the Night Before the Eclipse: The eclipse was on a Monday, so we actually had the “dinner and a movie” on Sunday night after our son went to sleep.
- Stash a Pair of Glasses + an Eclipse Schedule Printout in his Lunch Bag: So the super-surprise, Part II of this date was actually experiencing this solar eclipse “together” …even though he was going to be at work. I printed out a schedule of when it would hit Houston, wrapped the glasses and put them in his lunch bag with a note for him to open it at the time the eclipse would begin, and also told him we’d be watching it together. Fortunately for us, the eclipse began when our son naturally took his nap anyway (I’d have to duct tape those safe solar glasses to his head to have him not rip them off).
What an awesome (emphasis on the “awe”) experience this was for us. Even though we weren’t together for the entire part of it, it really brought us closer. Reminds me of those long distance date nights he and I used to have when he was living in Japan and I was living in Florida.
14. Have Tea and Crumpets…On the Bedroom Floor
I had never in my life had an indoor picnic.
But after cleaning out the tea portion of our cupboards and stumbling upon tea I had purchased while in London, I decided tea + crumpets (or, rather, finger foods) was just the ticket!
Pssssst: a round of strip poker may or may not have followed. We’ll never tell.
Here’s how I set this up:
- Made Finger Foods: I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Garden Spread Finger Sandwiches (these were the hit of the night!), Giada’s recipe for Mini Frittatas, and Six Sister’s Stuff’s Gingerbread Cookie Cups.
- Made a House Tea: Paul surprised me on my first Mother’s Day by taking me to a tea house. The waitress actually told me their secret to their house tea: brew it in orange juice. Inspired by this, I picked out vanilla chai-spiced tea bags and brewed them in some apple cider I had frozen from last season. Can I just say, delicioso?
- Cleaned Off the Floor: You can imagine (or you might not have to) the clutter that comes with a 22-month old. Stuff everywhere! So, I cleared our bedroom floor of everything. As Paul was finishing up in the bathroom, I snuck in and put a blanket down. Then I told him to sit on it and the date night would come to him.
- Put Out the Spread: I put the tea pot + tea cups on the blanket, plus each of the foods. We had ourselves a lovely, finger food-feast.
- *Ahem* the Activity: And if you’re up for the strip poker? Now would be the time to introduce it to your partner.
15. Wedding Album Date Night
Get out your wedding album and/or video. Stop off at your local bakery or cupcake boutique, and pick out the most wedding-day-looking cupcakes you can find.
Serve them up for your spouse while you both look through your wedding photos and watch the day again, together.
Reading through these date nights so far, you may have noticed something: these are all dates I set up for my husband. Don’t worry – his specialty seems to be in setting up on-the-town dates outside of the house (complete with finding us a babysitter). I’m a lucky girl for that! My specialty seems to be creating really unique experiences at home. What can I say?
We work well as a team.
Now, we'll move onto fun printable games for couples and other dating activities.
Psst: these are awesome at home date ideas to set up for when you have your money quickie meetings — you know, where you do things like set up a couple's budget app on each of your phones? That's a super-quick way to get on the same page about finances.
16. Have Deep Conversations with Life Sutra Cards
After skipping several weeks of date nights due to moving for my husband's job, we decided to jump back into our schedule with this deck of Life Sutra Couple Connect cards created by licensed psychologist, Dr. Tania Sharma.
Which was the perfect thing, because we both felt like we hadn't really talked to each other for awhile. You know, like really talked, beyond just logistics of getting through our day.
These cards were SUCH a great conversation starter for some deep topics (and some fun ones!) that we haven't talked about for a long time…or ever.
We got questions like:
- “What specific feedback have I given you that has made you a better person in the past 12 months?”
- Sparkling moment activity
- “What do you absolutely love or hate about my decision making style, and why?”
We learned a few new things about each other (which is pretty cool, since we just celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary!), like how we each have comforted the other in the past year that was touching, and where we each fantasize about vacationing to, and something fun we both like to do in bed.
Did I mention that these cards were truly gorgeous? The outside of them look like gold! Could be a great date night gift idea for a couple or long distance relationship gift for a couple you know.
Psst: here's my review of the best conversation starters for married couples.
17. Pioneer Woman Merc + Bakery Date Night
This year marks our 13th wedding anniversary. Not only that, but 7 years without spending one single night alone (haha! – since having our little guy).
I thought I’d surprise my husband with a two-night trip to the Pioneer Woman’s bed and breakfast to enjoy her culinary delights and small-town atmosphere together.
To pull this off, we were going to drop off our little guy to my Aunt’s and Uncle’s, then drive the four hours there.
Unfortunately, my husband’s job didn’t allow…so, I got crafty.
I was watching the Pioneer Woman’s cooking show, and she featured four recipes directly from her Mercantile store in town.
I bought all the ingredients for each three of these recipes (skipped the veggie quesadillas, since I thought that would be a second main dish), and served my husband by candlelight (after we got our little guy in bed).
I let him know these were straight from the Merc’s menu, and that I had tried to surprise him.
He was so touched by the story, and we both loved the food. Success!
Fun Printable Games for Couples – Dating Activities
Looking for the best fun printable games couples can play for an at-home date night? I’ve curated my top-hit list of MUST-DO’s.
1. Intimate Recipe Game for Couples
Can I just tell you how flipping excited my husband was when I whipped out this intimate recipe game for couples…and he got to pick out what he wanted from my non-mentionables drawer for me to wear? Lawdy, me, that was a fun night.
Hint: It’s even more fun when you let your spouse pick something out for you earlier in the day or while the kids are still awake. Build that anticipation for date night!
2. Spouse Scattergories
Get to know your spouse better and have a few laughs with this free, printable Spouse Scattergories game. It's got tons of questions for you both to try out, plus printable letters so that you randomly choose one. All you'll need is a timer.
With a Twist, Please: Use the blank answer sheets to craft your own 12 questions for a personalized round. You can, *ahem*, come up with anything you're curious about or think would be hilarious.
3. All-About-Us Charades Printable Game
How about you guys act out facts about your relationship in a game of charades? Use these free printables to bring some giggle-fests to your date night.
4. Couple’s Truth or Dare Deck of Cards
Print out this free game of couple’s truth or dare and play a round…do you dare?
Psst: looking for more fun and physical challenges? Here's my article on 41 relationship challenges for couples to do at home.
5. Play Escape Room in a Box
Escape rooms are pretty awesome – my husband and I did one together about a year ago – but did you know you can create that kind of experience at home?
There are several escape-room-in-a-box options that will really spice things up.
- Free Escape Room Printables: I just love these! You’ll find audio files for the missions by downloading the free iPhone app or free android app, and you’ll need to get some materials together before your actual date night (like scissors, pens, single-sided printed copies of the free missions, etc.). Solve puzzles, decipher morse codes, and deactivate bombs – all while working together.
- Free Love Escape Room Printables: The Dating Divas have done it again, with their free printables to set up your own escape room in your home! (Hint: you might also want to check out their CSI: Love Edition free printables, which is kind of like an escape room).
- Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment: Go beyond just paper puzzles and into the realm of physical puzzles (with locks) with this cool escape room in a box! A mad scientist is on the loose, and you’ve got to solve 19 puzzles together or else…you turn into werewolves (that mad scientist sounds cranky! He probably just couldn’t get his kids to sleep…). Did I mention, you have just one hour to accomplish this? No setup required! (Do you have Alexa? You can sync it up, and Alexa can actually host your game plus provide hints, just like you’re in a real Escape Room).
Cheap Date Night In Ideas at Home – Stay at Home Date Ideas for Couples
Perhaps you're looking for not only date night ideas that are at home out of convenience (it's a lot to find a sitter), but you also want the fun activities to be cheap, too.
I totally get you!
That's why each of these ideas listed below is with that in mind.
Psst: you'll definitely want to check out my article on free date night ideas for married couples, and free summer date ideas.
Date Night Plan #1: Mini Wine/Beer Tasting
Pick up those hotel-like small bottles of wine and single bottles of beer you can get in liquor stores so that you can get a large variety without breaking the bank. Then pick up an assortment of finger foods, or have fondue night (cheese + wine = yum!).
With a Twist, Please: Go to your local warehouse-type alcohol store, and pick small wine bottles and single beers from each of the countries you've visited as a couple together. Not stepped outside of the great ol' US together? Choose beers and wines from states you've visited, or even local breweries and vineyards. Then, hold your own wine tasting!
Date Night Plan #2: Impromptu Photo Sesh
Ready for giggles? Ready to see your beau in a whole new light? Target your loved one through a lens. Try different backgrounds (don't be afraid to hang some sheets!), try different yard locations, try lots of different things.
Funny selfies? Totally acceptable.
With a Twist, Please: Why not make a private photobook of your photo sesh together? You know, for your eyes only? Or just print a few out and include them in their lunch bag one day. What a lovely way to commemorate a fun evening.
Date Night Plan #3: Pokemon Go Hunting
Wait…I didn't say screen-free, right;)? Download the Pokémon Go app on your smart phone over your lunch hour (one that you actually take!), play around with it for a few minutes. Better yet, find someone under 4′ tall − they'll likely be able to show you how to play it.
And if you have a really little one? You can venture away from your backyard by taking them on a walk with you in the stroller while you guys get your hunt on.
With a Twist, Please: Make this competitive by having both of you download the app on each of your phones and seeing who can capture the most Pokémon in a set amount of time.
Date Night Plan #4: Cook a New Recipe Together
My husband loves to cook just as much as I do (here are fun meals couples can cook together). It's rare when we're both in the kitchen together (usually the other person is wrangling our 22-month old or decompressing for a few minutes after a long day).
Make a point to research a new recipe or meal, gather the ingredients during your next grocery shopping trip, and work on it together in the kitchen. Oh, and music is key here. So, create a mixed CD or load up your MP3s and have those playing in the background.
With a Twist, Please: Each choose a few recipes you've been dying to try, then set up a tasting station for one another a la The Taste.
Date Night Plan #5: Read Aloud to One Another (Double Points for Kids' Books)
Have you ever read aloud to one another? Paul and I love doing this.
We sit in the library and read excerpts from what we're reading that we think the other person would find shocking or interesting, or we read a chapter or two together.
With a Twist, Please: What's even more fun than reading out loud to each other? Reading a kids' book to your spouse. I know, sounds crazy. But it's comforting and the pictures are lovely. Share one you find particularly endearing from your own childhood and your spouse will learn something new about you as well.
Date Night Plan #6: Backyard Picnic
Sometimes just changing things up with new scenery to look at makes it feel special. So choose your meal for the night, but instead of eating at the dining room table or in front of the tube, dedicate an area out back where the two of you can eat.
Use a blanket, a picnic table, or really whatever you've got. You could even wait until the stars come out (especially helpful if your little ones don't go to sleep until it's dark). We find that just going outside on our back patio after putting our baby down gives us enough separation from him to feel like we're alone.
With a Twist, Please: Tent it up. Pitch your tent in the backyard and spend the night somewhere new! Got a baby? Set up some monitors so you can completely disconnect from the house but still have your ear out in case they need you.
Date Night Plan #7: Midnight Backyard Picnic
The next time there’s an amazing event happening in the skies at night (eclipses, shooting stars, meteor showers, aurora borealis sighting, etc.), *actually* set an alarm or stay up to witness it.
Prep your food + picnic area ahead of time so that you can sleepily grab a box or plate from the fridge, a couple of drinks, and lay outside at 2:00 in the morning.
If nothing else, this will be one the two of you won’t forget!
Bonus: Use these free moonlight picnic printables to bring everything to life (there’s even an invitation!).
Date Night Plan #8: Take-Out Sushi + Marie Kondo’s Netflix Episode
Okay…so an occasional TV-oriented date night IS going to slip in on this list😊.
I was blown away when my husband watched our kiddo, sent me to our favorite take-out sushi place to pick up dinner, put our little guy to sleep, and I got to come home to eat sushi + watch Marie Kondo on Netflix with him.
What a fun date night (which had particular significance for us, as we met one another in Japan).
Date Night Plan #9: Cultural Date Night
Alright…my husband and I might be geeks, but we totally have these cultural at home date nights together. What does that mean?
It usually starts off with one of us getting interested in a culture or area of the world. For a while, we were really into Russia, then it was India, and eventually the Nordic region. Read more about it in my article on creative date night ideas for married couples.
How do you make a date night home special?
There are several tricks to keep date nights at home just as exciting as ones where you get a sitter and go out on the town.
- Get a Bedtime Schedule: First of all, you’ve got to have a bedtime schedule with your kids. You don’t want to plan something out, only to have your kids thwart all those good efforts! Take some time to consider how to get the kiddos off to bed in time for both of you to actually get 1-2 hours together.
- Schedule in a Little Prep Time: Whoever is in charge of date night has got to set aside time to prep for the date night. It will go much more smoothly and will make your partner feel SPECIAL when they see you didn’t haphazardly pull something together in the 3 minutes while the kids were going to the potty for the last time (fortunately for you, the options above make this pretty easy to pull off).
- Make Some “Engaging” Food: Date night food should be different than regular night food. What do I mean by selecting “engaging” food? I mean choosing recipes and food displays that will ADD to the specialness of your night. For example:
- Fondue (try cheddar-beer fondue, or traditional Swiss)
- Build-Your-Own-Food-Bar (baked potato, ice-cream sundaes, chili, etc.)
- Outdoor fire/bonfire food (from simple camping hot dogs to foil packets)
- Table of tapas (lots of tapas ideas here)
- Table of appetizers (a few of our favorites include Jalapeno Poppers, Cranberry Pepper Jelly Dip)
- Pull-apart foods (like these Pesto Cheese Bombs, or Pull-Apart Pizza Bread)
- Make it and forget it (Crockpot meals have been a huge budget saver for our family − a few of our favorites include this Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, and this Hoisin Ginger Beef)
Psssst: Don't want to wait until after the kiddos go to sleep? Try out this idea for Babysitter in a Bag to keep them occupied. While this particular article is about leaving this Babysitter in a Bag for your ACTUAL babysitter to use, what you can do instead is to create a similar bag but ONLY bring it out on nights that you're carving out time for you + your spouse. That way there's some novelty to keep them more interested.
Come back to this list of cheap date nights for married couples and mix'n'match to keep things spicy + interesting. And please tell me about your own date night in ideas below! We're always looking for new at home date nights for married couples to keep things interesting.
Amanda L Grossman
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Wednesday 9th of November 2022
These are great! I have been compiling an ideas list for our newly installed date nights- there are some great additions here 😄
Amanda L Grossman
Thursday 17th of November 2022
What an awesome idea - making a list ahead of time. A little prep goes a long way.
Saturday 2nd of October 2021
I love how you decided the responsibility of planning your date nights! This is something my husband and I should do. You have great ideas here.
Amanda L Grossman
Tuesday 5th of October 2021
Aw, thanks so much, Marilyn! It truly made a difference for both of us -- it's so fun to have someone else plan a date night for you. Then it's even more fun to plan one for them.
Saturday 21st of August 2021
Great ideas. But did you actually do number 7 with spray paint in the house? Please don't ☹ those fumes add up FAST and they are dangerous
Sunday 26th of July 2020
Hi!! Thank you so much for these ideas. I love that these are doable at home, after baby has been put to sleep. For me and my husband, our love language is quality time and things change so much after a baby..so this is definitely something we need to work on. Thank you again for these ideas :-) we already tried the painting with a twist and had so much fun. This may sound weird haha, but can you elaborate on how to make your tea from # 14? It sounds great, but I have never made anything but sweet tea and I’m not sure how to make it. Is the cider and tea served cold? Like an ice drink or warm? Do I just make tea and combine it with the cider after?
Amanda L Grossman
Tuesday 28th of July 2020
Hi Lulu! I'm so excited you guys tried out the painting with a twist:). And yes - these were lifesavers (and really awesome memories) for my husband and I to still work on our relationship and have fun together after a little one came along.
For the tea, the crazy thing is - you literally replace any water you would use with orange juice. You boil a pot of orange juice, and steep the tea in that! How creative, right? Tasted amazing. They served it to us hot. It would probably also taste great cold.
What I did was take the apple cider, boil it, and steep the vanilla chai tea bags in it. Then, I served it hot.
Hope that helps, and thanks so much for sharing how you've enjoyed these date nights! Makes my day:).
Tuesday 29th of November 2016
Pokémon Go hunting is a fun date night adventure. Technology has really enabled people to travel to new places and do new things. Thank you for this list of fun things to do.
Amanda L Grossman
Thursday 1st of December 2016
It can be fun for sure! You're welcome:).