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14 Things for Couples to Do Besides Watch TV (at Night)

Stuck in a TV-watching rut with your honey? Pick one of these things for couples to do besides watch TV tonight.

I never thought I would write an article about things for couples to do besides watch TV.

couple with arm around each other on couch, no TV, text overlay "nice activities for couples besides TV"

I mean, who are these couples out there doing nothing but watching TV together, anyway?

<meekly raises hand>.

That was us – at least it was a few years ago.

And I only realized it after I spent three weeks tracking how often my husband and I were spending “quality time” together in front of the tube using the toggl app (nerdy, I know – but I was tracking my time for business anyway, and decided to add that as a category to track).

Let me tell you – it was eye-opening when I saw the numbers.

It turns out that our routine of putting our two-year-old down for the night, then decompressing to dinner and a movie or show together had become about the only thing we were doing together as a couple.

<sigh>. Does this describe you guys?

Boy, am I thankful I can share how to bust through the night TV rut.

Things for Couples to Do Besides Watch TV

What can a couple do instead of watching TV at night?

Turns out, a whole lot.

My own husband and I have explored tons of these – snag one to try next week, tomorrow, or even tonight.

Hint: another way to bust through the TV rut is to make a new rule. We started out with “TV-free Wednesdays”, and went from there.

1. Unwind together Over Tabletop Nachos

Stick with me here – I know it’s weird-sounding, but I promise you that introducing engaging, fun food is a conversation starter in and of itself. It’s like it promotes a different kind of interaction between people, which is exactly what you’re looking for when trying to ditch watching TV together!

Here’s how this can go:

  • Nacho Course #1: Tabletop nachos (seriously – I love how these nachos take over the entire center portion of the table)
  • Nacho Course #2: Apple nachos for dessert

Face each other. Eat the nachos. Watch your conversation unfold.

Hint: you could add in this Dollar Tree Hot Cocoa Bar!

2. Play the Between-the-Sheets Board Game


Have you ever heard of the in-the-sheets board game (I’ll let you just check that out for a minute…but come back for more, k?)?

You can literally create this yourself from some fabric pens and dollar store sheets.

Trust me when I say that it’ll be a heck of a lot easier to turn the TV off for this activity.

Psst: want more ideas like this one? Check out these 37 at home date night ideas for married couples.

3. Play Poker with Something Fun on the Line

My husband just loves Poker and probably hasn’t played it in over a decade. Do you know how thrilled he’d be for me to say we’re shutting the TV off tonight and playing Poker (oh yeah, and there are prizes)?

Here’s a Poker cheat sheet you can print out to help if you’re more of a newbie (like me).

Psst: make this even more fun by texting him during the day with what you’re putting on the line, and ask him to come up with something as well. Like, dishes for a week, next eating-out-pick…or something else.

4. Listen to a Crime Podcast Together

You could say this is still consuming too much together, but podcasts really do seem to be different from watching something.

Perhaps it’s because, with just audio, we’re looking at each other more while listening. Or our frequent pausing to talk about a truth-bomb they just dropped.

Just give it a try and report back on what you noticed is different for the two of you when it comes to listening to audio together vs. the TV.

A few to try:

P.S. You might also want to check out these 11 free horror audio books. Or even get your free trial with audible (3 free audiobooks are yours to keep!) and check out their crime section together.

5. Enjoy Hot Chocolate + a Fire

You might feel a little edgy thinking about the TV being off and having nothing to look at it. Well, problem solved: make a fire (indoor or outdoor)!

And add some hot chocolate to the mix.

Something lovely to look at + something yummy to drink = a good time together.

Hot Cocoa Ideas:

Psst: Want to make this even more entertaining? Get these fire colorant packets – you just throw them on the fire.

6. Go on a Sunset Drive Together

When I was a little girl, our whole family would pile into the car on a few Sundays a year and we’d go for long drives together.

My Dad purposefully enjoyed getting lost and then finding his way home. We discovered some fun things! And no, there were no screens in the car (thankfully, they weren’t built-in at that time). 

This can work for families or couples. And if you’re a family with young kids? Well, consider buckling them into their car seats and letting them fall asleep so that the two of you can get some talking time together.

Psst: our little guy almost never slept in the car, so this wasn’t available to us – but I’ve heard lots of babies and toddlers fall asleep in cars. Take advantage if that describes yours!

7. Do a Couple’s Bible Study Together

My husband and I have only ever gone through two couple’s bible studies together – and they’ve each been so useful and bonding for us.

  • One: This is a couple’s devotions book I actually picked up at a thrift store, and it’s been a great addition to our bedside table to squeeze in a reading/short talk at night before bed. It’s got 52 prompts and passages.
  • 40 Days of Prayer: This one was so good, that I bought it for a few couples in our own lives to go through, too! Hint: it’s not just for couples – but we did it together, and it really brought us closer. Here’s the workbook, and the videos that go along with each section are on free on YouTube.

You can choose your own bible study to do together, and then decide how you want to do it.

For example, you could:

  • Each read the chapter/passage of the week, then come together in a coffee shop (what a great coffee shop date!) or in your living room after the kids go to bed to talk about it together.
  • Watch the video (if there is one) on your own, then come together to talk through the discussion questions, or to talk through what you’ve watched.
  • Do the whole thing together, where you create quiet space and time to read it out loud and then talk about things together.

These can be truly life and relationship-changing.  

8. Get Creative with Your Back Patio and Yard

Maybe you guys have children at home and you can’t really go anywhere (which is likely why you’ve found yourself in a TV rut to begin with – that’s what happened to us).

You need to find creative ways to use your back patio and yard.

Put the kids to bed, then use one of these backyard date night ideas to get some couple’s time away from the kids (but within hearing distance).

A few of my favorites:

  • Tiki-Torch Dessert Together
  • Midnight Swim
  • Fire Pit Ghost Stories

9. Have a Money Meeting

Ermmm…you’re on a money site, so I’m going to throw this one in.

Do you have money meetings with your spouse – where you go through the current state of your finances, any upcoming spending questions/ideas/needs, and money goal-setting?

They can be kinda fun if you structure them right. Heck, you can even end them with one of the money movies I outline here – because at least you were engaged in talking about something before the TV went on, right? Baby steps, people.

Here are 14 topics for your next money meeting with your spouse, 7 financial exercises for couples, plus a marriage financial planning worksheet.

10. Bake Something “Impossible” Together

You know all those Pinterest fails out there – when someone tries to recreate a Pinterest-worthy thing and it turns out looking like their grandmother sat on it?

Choosing a pie-in-the-sky recipe to try together is actually pretty fun. Because you’re likely going to fail at it, and that’s okay. The journey of baking it together and laughing at the missteps and the result is what will keep the two of you entertained for an hour or two.

11. Conduct a Blind Taste Test

Get some blindfolds (or a tee shirt – whatever you’ve got to wrap around their eyes), and this free printable.

Set up a blind taste test for each other.

This means each of you will be in charge of choosing one category, and then shopping for what you need to surprise the other with.

Categories could be:

  • Chocolates
  • Jelly Belly Beans
  • Cheeses
  • Apple varieties
  • Different flavors of candy
  • Chip flavors
  • Milks
  • Exotic fruits
  • Etc.

12. Write a Dream Letter Together

When was the last time you and your partner actually dreamed together?

I can tell you that for us, it’s been like three years (I’ll share more, below).

That’s why I’m having my husband and I write a letter together about our dreams for the next 5 or 10 years.

When we’re finished writing this together, we’ll seal it in an envelope, and put an agreed-upon date on it to open back up. Then, we’ll put it in our scrapbook or some other place where we can stumble upon it sometime.

Things to write about and think about:

  • Where do we want to travel to together
  • Changes we’re hoping to make to our lives
  • What we think our lives will look like 5 or 10 years from now
  • What we want for our child’s future
  • 5 things on our minds right now (this will be fun to read 5 or 10 years from now)
  • Etc.

Don’t gloss over this one, thinking that it isn’t that “cool”. Trust me – this can be powerful for both of you.

The last time we did this was 3 years ago, and we came up with three big goals we wanted to accomplish in the next 5 years. So far, we’ve accomplished two of them (and we’re close to the third):

  • sell our home (check!)
  • get Paul into a job that is a bridge job to what he truly wants to be doing in life (check!)
  • move to the Northeast (working on!)

Very powerful.

Extra Credit: you can create a vision board together, too.

13. Complete a Service Project Together

Fewer things can make people feel bonded than completing service projects together.

Lucky for you, there are tons of volunteer-from-home opportunities that are completely free and will make a difference in someone’s life.

Also, here are kindness challenges for adults.

14. Hold a Month-Long Board Game Tournament

Something that can bring the two of you together, consistently (and screen-free), over a whole month? Is by choosing a board game and doing a month-long tournament together.

Print out a free tracker, pick your game, and schedule the same night each week for the next four weeks where you’ll compete.

Could be:

  • Oldies like Scrabble, Monopoly, or Scattergories
  • One of these free printable board games for adults
  • Something newer (confession: I’m not on the up-and-up with newer board games – please comment below with some of your favorites!)

Remember to actually pick one of these things for couples to do besides watch TV, and DO IT. Tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or choose one night next week – schedule it in your calendar, turn the TV off, and enjoy one another in a different way. You won't be sorry.

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.