Whether you’re on the house hunt, or comfortably settled in your home, perusing real estate listings with your spouse is free, fun and a great way to spark conversation! From home or a coffee shop, search online real estate websites such as Realtor.ca. Browse a variety of price ranges and property sizes, and brainstorm your plans and preferences for the architecture, interior design and landscaping of your dream home!
Break out and work out
Tired of being cooped up inside all winter? The next time you have a weekend with good weather, take advantage of the outdoors together. Do anything from a picnic or a bike ride to bird watching or a photo shoot at a public garden. Have fun creating new memories as you celebrate spring’s arrival.
Back to the dating days
Think back to some of the earliest dates you went on with your spouse. Set aside an afternoon, evening or an entire day to recreate these memories. Want to go an extra mile? Bring along a camera and then compare the pictures to the ones you took on those first dates, and celebrate how far you’ve come in your relationship.
A tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t still go out for dinner. Lay an old sheet down on your backyard or deck, place a couple couch cushions on top of it and then top it off with a comforter. Make dinner ahead of time and go enjoy a meal on your cushy make-shift restaurant booth. You can even light candles to create a romantic atmosphere.
Dates that support your resolution(s)
Are two of your resolutions to go on more adventures and save money? Plan a date night using online coupon sites like Groupon, Dealfind or LivingSocial. Look for discounts to local restaurants, art studios, dance classes or live entertainment. You’ll save money, create memories and discover more about the area where you and your spouse live.
Creative chatter around the Christmas tree
As you’re setting up your Christmas tree this year, share some of your favourite family traditions with each other. Can’t think of a tradition? Tell your spouse about your most memorable Christmas as a child.
Wireless date night
Go out on a dinner date and turn your phones to silent. Don't check your phones until you leave the restaurant. Enjoy a distraction-free date and get to know your spouse even better. Need conversation starters? Check out our list of heart-to-heart questions.
Drive-in movie night in your car
Pick a movie, charge your laptop or portable DVD player, pack some blankets and snacks and drive to a favourite park. Enjoy a movie night in the comfort of your own car.
Serve up some love
Does your church facilitate regular outreach opportunities? Sign up to serve as a couple, extend the love of Christ to others and rekindle your love for one another.
Encouragement via driftwood
Find a flat piece of scrap wood and use a permanent marker to write out your favourite Bible verses. Take it to a nearby beach, river or lake and toss it in the water. This may be of great encouragement to whoever finds it later on.
Remember how fun it was to go down a slide as a kid or see how high you could swing? Fill two travel mugs with your favourite warm beverage, find a nearby park with a playground and let loose your inner child! Share your childhood playground memories with each other. You may learn something new about your spouse!
Quick road trip
Road trips don't always have to be extravagant. Drive to a nearby neighbourhood. When you get to an intersection, one of you will say "straight," "left" or "right." At the next intersection, the other person will decide. Continue for as long as you like. Enjoy this time exploring your surroundings and creating memories as a couple.
Pick a new restaurant
Do an Internet search of restaurants in or near your neighbourhood. Try some place neither of you have eaten at before. This is a fun way to explore different cuisines – you may even find a new favourite!
Travel vicariously through film
Do you and your spouse have a favourite travel destination? Still planning a dream vacation? Find a movie set in the country or city of your choice, make some classic movie snacks and travel vicariously through the film. If it’s a movie you haven’t seen, check out Pluggedinonline.ca for a review.
Write questions from our Heart-to-Heart list on small strips of paper and put them in an envelope. Keep the envelope in your car and pull them out to read while you are your spouse are running errands together. Who said a trip to the grocery store can’t be romantic?
Make a 2011 time capsule
Fill a glass jar with objects that represent your year with your spouse. Items can include ticket stubs from a favourite movie, restaurant receipts from memorable dates or photos from a vacation. Bury it in your yard and then dig it up the following year. This is a fun way to relive your shared memories each year!
Thrift store makeover
Go to a local thrift store and pick out a piece of furniture (bookcase, end table, picture frame, etc.). Next, buy a can of spray paint to match your find to your house’s style. Sand down the surface of your purchase, paint it and let it dry. You’ll then have a new piece of decor that looks good as new – and it costs next to nothing!
Dinner date via garage sale
Gather up some stuff that you’ve had for ages but rarely use – kitchen supplies, chairs, lamps, books and movies. Have a Saturday garage sale and use whatever money you make to go out for dinner that night – even if just for a fast-food dining experience.
Geocaching uses your handheld GPS device or smartphone and turns the world into one giant treasure hunt. This adventurous date idea gives you a chance to enjoy the spring weather. Visit geocaching.com to get started.
Make fast food romantic
The next time you and your spouse dine under the golden arches, bring a tablecloth and a candle. This bold move shows off your creativity and adds an element of fun and romance to your otherwise ordinary date.
Plant a garden
Doing a creative task together helps couples grow closer. Create a backyard garden or, if you live in an apartment, a container garden. Enjoy the creative process of shopping for seeds or plants and working the soil.
Go off Broadway . . . even further
Forget expensive Broadway tickets, or even Off Broadway shows. Instead, support Off Off Broadway: your local community theatre. You’ll find the classic shows you both love, plus modern plays, and all at a wallet-friendly price.
Be a city nomad
Buy a day pass for the bus and take the public transit around your city with your spouse. You’ll see sights and sounds that you wouldn’t ordinarily notice while speeding through in your car. Jump off whenever you see something that catches your fancy. You never know what you’ll discover – or rediscover!
Four festive fall ideas
As the air takes on a crisp nip, celebrate God's handiwork in the changing seasons with four fun ideas perfect for the start of fall.
- Head to a pumpkin farm and pick out a couple pumpkins to carve together. It’s budget-friendly and lets you show off your creative side. For example, each of you could carve a scene from one of your first dates, or enscribe a scripture that reflects a quality you see in your spouse. Remember to save the seeds, which make for an easy snack. Scatter the seeds in a single layer onto a baking sheet and roast them in an oven set to 75 C for 15 minutes.
- Make a corn cob bird feeder, then spend an afternoon together as birds flock to your backyard. The birds will appreciate the gesture as natural food sources dwindle. To make a feeder, eat all the corn off of the cob and let it dry for a day or two. Spread peanut butter on the cob, then stick bird seeds into the peanut butter. Hang it from a tall tree branch or the eaves of your roof.
- Explore a corn maze. The sense of adventure can be a great bonding experience. If you have older children, the twisting corridors of the maze can also be entertaining for them while giving mom and dad some alone time.
- Build a friendly scarecrow with each other. It can lend a festive, fun look to your front yard or patio. Stuff old clothes with hay or straw, available for free or at a low cost at many farms, feed stores and hobby outlets. Tie the ends of the garments shut with twine. For a head, use a small pumpkin or a pillow case.
September is the last month of summer. Take advantage of the warm evenings before we enter the crisp days of fall. Pack up a blanket, some hot chocolate and snacks and take your spouse to a nearby park or open hill to watch a moonrise. This month’s full moon takes place on September 23, though the lunar orb will be shining brightly in the days leading up to it.
Christmas in . . . August?
Why wait until December to bless your spouse with a special gift? Catch him by surprise with an early “Christmas gift”! You don’t need to spend a lot of money to treat your sweetheart to an unexpected surprise – even something small is bound to impress! Or, plan a day together when you can both exchange gifts, celebrate each other and thank the Saviour for His ever-constant love!
A trip down memory lane
Help your spouse get to know you even better by sharing with her some of your favourite spots from the past and the memories that you associate with them. If you live in the same town where you grew up, bring her to your favourite childhood haunts – whether a pond, playground or corner store. Other ideas include: your favourite highschool hangouts, a walk through your college or university campus, the special place you used to go to spend quiet time with God, and so on.
Spice it up!
If you’re bored of your recipe repertoire at home, take this opportunity to learn how to make new and exciting dishes with your spouse. Try community centre cooking classes that offer different ethnic foods and spend each week learning something new to try at home with your spouse. Learning a new skill, plus having the added bonus of tasting the outcome of your efforts, can spice up your weekly routine – and your relationship!
Remember the early days when you and your spouse were first dating? Recreate the excitement of your first encounter with a date pretending you don’t know each other. For example, set a time and place with your date for your “chance” encounter. On the big night, dress to impress before you head out. When at your meeting location, keep an eye out for your love and be ready with some smooth (or corny) pick-up lines. Then, spend the evening flirting and getting to know each other all over again!
Are both of you passionate about a similar cause? For your next date, try volunteering together to reinforce your parallel interests and to give back to your community. For example, serve at your local soup kitchen, get involved in an outreach ministry or help organize a community event. You’ll not only expand your local involvement, you’ll find your marriage stronger because of the impact you’re both making together!
Blast to the past
Who knew that looking at old junk could be so fun? Spend the day with your date at a flea market or antique store, and see what kinds of unique and funny items you can find. It’s a great way to learn something new about your spouse: You’ll never know what stories they may have about an old antique or toy from their parents’ childhood.
A picnic full of memories
This year, treat your Valentine to a carpet picnic . . . in your living room! Instead of making an extravagant meal, separately buy each other’s favourite appetizers and finger foods. Try to pick foods that hold certain memories about them – like a flavour you had on your first date or the time your wife was pregnant and craved only salt and vinegar chips. At home, serve the items on little plates on a blanket laid out on the floor. Light candles while you dine, and share memories of your life together according to the food you bought!
Silly snow scenes
After a fresh snowfall of packing snow, try a creative date with your love by making snow scenes in a field or park. Pack a thermos full of hot chocolate, get bundled up, and head outside for some silly fun! Instead of building the traditional snowman, create a scene that tells a funny story or choose a scene from a favourite book or play. Whether or not you possess artistic skills, you’ll get to admire your collaborative handiwork with a cup of hot cocoa in the end.
Surprise date adventures
Keep your spouse guessing by turning date night into a surprise adventure. To begin, make a set of cards (either decorated and written by hand or done on the computer) with one activity listed on each. For example, one could list a movie, and the others could list a restaurant, a dessert café, or a stop by his or her favourite store to pick out a small treat. Each card would then be sealed in an envelope. Present the envelopes to your date and have them choose one out of your hand. Whatever they pick, do it! Repeat the process until all the date options have been chosen.
Fall can often be dreary as the rain moves in. Break up the midday gloom with a lunch date with your spouse. If you’re fortunate enough to live close by your spouse’s workplace, take them out to a cozy café or restaurant. But instead of treating it merely as lunch, treat your outing as a date – meaning, get dressed up a little, flirt with each other and avoid talking about what needs to get done at home. Why wait until evening to reconnect with your love, when you can do it at noon?
Picks of the season
Fall is here – and so are the apples and pumpkins! During the crisp, autumn months, take your spouse on an apple- or pumpkin-picking date. Experience together the many sights, smells and flavours of the various varieties, as many places offer tasting samples. You’ll both learn a thing or two about fall produce and you might come home with plenty of cider, pies and other tasty goodies to enjoy with your love.
When was the last time you and your spouse shared a good laugh? Plan a comedy-themed date with the goal to laugh all evening. Before your date, ask your love to collect silly jokes and think of funny childhood memories to share at dinner. For more laughs during your meal, play the straight-faced game – see who can hold their serious expression without laughing first. Try it multiple times: Winner gets a big bite off the other’s plate! If you don’t care about the other diners watching your silliness, sit side-by-side so you can take photos of yourselves making the goofiest faces. Top off the evening with a side-splitting time at a local improv show.
Follow the stars
On a clear, summer night, take your love on a stargazing adventure. Start by picking a big, bright star, and follow it on foot while holding hands and talking. At any point, stop for ice cream or dessert, at a park, or anything you come across along the way. Follow your star until you can’t follow it anymore, then pick another star to follow. For a surprise, take your spouse to a different neighbourhood or part of town, and use this activity to explore it together!
Flirty fun-park romance
Book the babysitter now: You’re taking your spouse to the amusement park! Especially at night with the lights aglow, family fun parks can be a perfect place for a summer date. For romance with a view, snuggle up on a fairground classic, the Ferris wheel. For greater thrills, brave the roller coasters or dare the spin of the Gravitron together! Spark up your old flirty ways while chasing each other in bumper cars, riding the merry-go-round and laughing your way through the house of mirrors. And don’t forget the cotton candy, mini-donuts, Whack-a-mole and the impossible-to-win stuffed prizes. With this much fun, you might not want to tell the kids where you’re going!
For a simple and economical date, take your spouse to a farmer’s market, flea market or antique shop with only five dollars each. Together, scour the stalls for the perfect five-dollar gift for each other. Unusual or quirky items make good gifts, as do market foods, used CDs, jewellery, books, records and small antique items. And be sure to be sneaky and buy your gift when your mate isn’t looking so you can unveil your treats for each other together.
Give your love some tender care by planning a relaxing massage date. To create your at-home spa, set up a quiet room with candles, flowers and light, classical music. Fill the room with a light scent, preferably an essential oil burning in an infuser. Then, have your spouse lie on the bed with fresh sheets, and begin with a head and neck rub, followed by a back massage. Be sure to take your time and ask your spouse what pressure they prefer and what spots need the most attention. If you want help with your massage skills, there are plenty of books available to give you tips. But don’t worry! Whether you know how to give a perfect massage, giving a gift of loving touch is a surefire way to convey love and care to your mate.
With the snow melting and flowers now appearing, take your loved one on a date to your local botanical gardens, parks or plant nurseries. Trade the dreariness of winter for the colourful offerings of spring’s first blooms. If visiting a botanical garden, find out what is growing there beforehand and ask your date to learn the names of the flowers. Then, during your date, see who can identify the most plants. Or if you plan to visit a nursery, take a few seedlings home with you and plant them together in your garden to enjoy.
The more the merrier
A double date with a twist! Have the husbands become one date-planning team and the wives become another. With your date-planning partner, collaborate your ideas for a super-secret creative date for your spouses. Who knows what new and exciting ideas you’ll come up when you brainstorm date ideas with a friend? Throw in a little friendly competition by setting the expectation that each team should try to outdo the other on their turns to impress! This way, your double dates might just get better and better each time!
A Valentine’s surprise
Are you looking for a creative Valentine’s date idea beyond just a dinner and a movie? Add some excitement to your special night by planning a surprise scavenger hunt for your love. Before leaving for work in the morning, give him or her the first clue, and tell them not to open it until they get home or until a certain time. Then, plant their favourite treats, special gifts and love notes around the house stashed with the next clues, which will eventually indicate the restaurant where you’ll be waiting with flowers.
Hop on, hop off the bus
When the weather outside is frightful and going out by car provides a challenge, try a low-key date using the public transit in your city or town. Rapid transit, buses or tram cars are an excellent alternative to driving and allow for more focussed conversation without the distractions of traffic. When it’s not rush hour, you’ll be more likely to find a double seat to yourselves. Hop on a route you’ve never taken before or explore an area of town you don’t visit often. And since no one is driving (or back-seat driving), you can both kick back and enjoy the sights as someone else takes care of dodging traffic. If there’s a street you know with lots of places to eat and things to see, add spontaneity to your date by getting off any time there’s a place either of you want visit. Then, take the time to explore the area before hopping back on the bus and discovering your next venue.
During the Christmas season, the streets are usually decked with lovely decorations. What better time than now to try a creative photography date with your spouse? Armed with a digital camera and bundled in warm clothes, set off together to one of your favourite spots in town. But instead of shooting photos of each other in standard poses, find items you think describe the other person or select an abstract theme (like “irreplaceable,” or “hope”). For example, if you choose to describe your wife, you might take a picture of a glittering ornament, one of her favourite things, or even a collection of your wife’s facial expressions – just for fun. Be creative and think outside the box! Afterwards, find a cozy café, and get to know your mate’s creative side as you share your images over a steamy cup of hot chocolate.
For a simple date, cozy up with your spouse at your local library. But instead of going your separate ways to find a book for yourselves, both of you will choose ones you think the other would enjoy. Mix it up! Choose your favourite books, ones you enjoyed as a child (like picture books and young readers) or even books you’ve never read before. Reading something new helps spark new ideas, new thoughts and reactions. You never know: your husband may end up loving your favourite, Pride and Prejudice (albeit, secretly), and your wife may come to share your childhood love for The Hobbit. Whether you end up loving or disliking a book, both of you will have engaged in sharing yourselves with each other. It may be a great way to sharpen your minds, but it also provides a chance for you to flex those communication and imagination muscles.
Being harvest season, fall offers plenty of options for a great date with your spouse. Crisp, cool weather is the perfect temperature for a bike ride through leaf-covered paths or a stroll through a wooded area bursting with bright red, yellow and orange trees. Or, take a drive out of town for a mini-getaway to explore the countryside while keeping the destination a secret from your spouse. Places to visit could be an apple orchard or festival where you can sample local varieties and fresh apple cider. Another idea is to drop by a fall fair, which usually showcases local livestock, produce, baking and crafts. Better yet, sample the cooking contest entries and taste some of the best apple pie, home-made preserves, pies and breads in the county. Afterwards, hop on a hayride with your spouse to enjoy life and each other at a slower pace. Whatever you choose to do for your fall date, you’ll find plenty to see, taste and do during this season of harvest abundance.
A movie under the stars
In today’s multi-screen movie theatres, it’s next to impossible to avoid the gaggles of teens and crowds of parents with young kids. Instead of facing the bustle of an evening film showing, try a drive-in theatre where you and your spouse can experience the big screen from the privacy of your own car. Even if you don’t have bench seats, you can still cuddle up in your vehicle under cozy blankets. If you own a station wagon or SUV, take advantage of your trunk space by turning it into your own romantic theatre seating. Back your car into your spot, pop open the trunk (while turning off all inside lights) and lay down blankets and pillows. The same can be done with a hatchless truck. Or, bring lawn chairs to prop by your car and have a true outdoor movie-watching experience. Either way, watching a movie under the stars can refresh your indoor theatre routine and give you ample excuse to stay up late and snuggle.
Shall we dance?
Great for double dates or just the two of you, dancing lessons can be a lot of fun and inexpensive. By nature, dancing is a romantic activity where you can spend plenty of time in close proximity with your spouse while establishing a connection in your movements. Formal dancing lessons can cost more, but many community centres offer informal drop-in lessons for beginners wanting to learn more traditional folk dances, such as Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lee”) dancing, square or line dancing. Some locations even offer drop-in beginner lessons for slightly more complicated dances like swing and salsa dancing. Even if you feel insecure about your coordination, taking your loved one dancing is a creative way to interact with your spouse, hone your verbal and non-verbal communication skills and have fun. Like marriage, dancing requires both of you to learn your individual roles, which you must then learn to use together in performing the dance. Most importantly, success in dancing relies on attentively listening to your partner’s physical cues and verbal instructions. These are definitely useful skills to practice and apply to marriage! Remember, it’s not about how coordinated you are, but how much fun you have in the process together.
Take your spouse on a berry-picking date and delight in God’s artistry and provision. In the summer, many types of berries can be found growing wild in almost every city and provincial park. Most summer berries thrive well in exposed, sunny places like fields. You’re almost certain to find them living happily along riverbanks and abandoned train tracks. For your date, bring plastic containers and long-sleeved clothing you don’t mind getting stained and ripped. Gloves are also a good idea to protect you from raspberry and blackberry thorns. While you’re enjoying all this wonderful fruit, try to find the juiciest, sweetest berries, and give them to your loved one to enjoy. Or, have a contest to see who can pick the most berries or find the biggest one. Then, take your fruit home and eat them fresh with ice cream or on their own. Remember, while it may be tempting to pick all you can of this free fruit, don’t go overboard; leave some for others – including the wildlife – to enjoy.
With great summer weather comes outdoor festivals, providing creative options for a date with your spouse. Many towns and cities often hold different cultural events during the summer, like jazz and folk festivals, fireworks shows, ethnic celebrations, free outdoor concerts or movies under the stars. Some cities even hold summer night markets where street vendors sell food and interesting knick-knacks for a bargain. Of course, events will vary according to where you live. Start by doing an Internet search for what’s happening in your area, then make plans with your spouse to experience some new festivities together. Bring a blanket or your walking shoes, and enjoy what your town has to offer under the long summer sun.
Row, row, row a boat
One of the great things about summer is that the evenings stay bright. Take your spouse for an evening paddle in a canoe, paddle boat or double kayak. Many lakeside and seaside marinas rent boats by the hour and provide all you need, from life jackets to paddles, for your water adventure. Pack a snack and choose a destination where you can enjoy your time together at a park or on an island or isolated beach. If it’s warm enough, go for a swim or just enjoy the solitude of your location together.
A day at the zoo
Who says the zoo is just for kids? Consider taking your spouse on a date to your local zoo for a picnic and to pick out your favourite animals. With plenty of walking paths and exotic animals to see, the zoo offers a great place for you and your spouse to marvel at God’s creativity. Petting zoos can be great fun for adults, too. These are typically smaller and offer up-close opportunities to interact with the animals. Going to the zoo may seem like child’s play, but sometimes that’s what it takes to help couples release the pressures of everyday life and to have fun! Go ahead, monkey around!
Surprise your spouse with a different kind of picnic. Gather your loved one’s favourite foods, and even some unusual or uncommon foods – ones that your spouse may never have tried (but which you think he’ll enjoy). Find a quiet place, such as a park, the beach or even your backyard, and blindfold your spouse. Make sure he can’t peek! Then, feed him a piece of food and have him describe what kinds of flavours, textures and memories he experiences. Don’t let him guess what the food is until he’s shared his observations. Your spouse’s different reactions, comments and guesses provide opportunities for great dialogue and conversation (especially if your spouse thinks an olive tastes like fish and reminds him of an eyeball). With the new foods, you get to know your spouse better, and while feeding him his favourites, you’ll remind him that he’s worth being known and loved. To spice things up, take turns eating and feeding.