100+ great date ideasWritten by Focus on the Family Canada
What's inside this article
We’ve come up with some fun, romantic ways to spend time with your spouse. Check back often to see our new date ideas! And if you have any date suggestions of your own to share, we would love to hear from you! Email your tips to [email protected]!
With a potentially stormy fall and winter ahead of us, why not take the time to make sure you’re prepared? Use it as an excuse to have a little fun and, in addition to basic necessities, add a little extra, like a deck of cards or a book of crosswords.
Fun and creative
Do a photo scavenger hunt
Set aside some time to do a photo scavenger hunt together! You can each come up with five ideas (e.g., fun mailbox, trampoline, sign of spring, etc.) and then search together. If the sun is shining, think of ideas that are within walking distance of your house. If the weather is poor, pick items that can be found on a drive and bring along a warm drink. You can also theme it to Valentine’s Day and pick items such as something red, something pink, something heart-shaped, etc.
Take time apart
Many couples are spending a lot more time together (especially for spouses who are both working from home) so why not rethink your date night by giving each other alone time. You can each do a favourite activity, and then come together afterward to talk about this time of renewal.
Board game fun
With shorter days and colder weather upon us, and the pandemic keeping us inside even more, it can be difficult to come up with new ways to pass the time. Turn off your screens and dust off your collection of board games. You and your spouse can each pick your favourite, and turn it into a tournament. Have a game that lasts longer? Set it up and play it over the course of a few days.
Plan a dream vacation
Grab a coffee and go to your local bookstore's travel section. (Or check out your local library to bring books home and dream!) Take the time to learn about where your spouse would go and what they would want to do, and vice versa! Dreaming together is a fun opportunity to see another side of your spouse. And who knows, maybe you will get ideas for a real vacation!
Take turns choosing your date ideas
Do you and your spouse struggle agreeing on what you should do with your date night? Maybe you want to go rock climbing and they want to see a play. Or they’d like to do a pottery class and you’d rather try a new restaurant. Whatever it is, take turns! First let your spouse pick something they’d love to do that you’ve been dragging your feet on. Then next time, you get to pick and they get to try something new.
Annual service adventure
To help couples strengthen their spiritual connection, Greg Smalley suggests volunteering somewhere as a couple: “Actively pursuing an annual service adventure unifies you as teammates and stimulates forward movement in your marriage – and, in the process, blesses others through your marriage.”
Go on a thankfulness date
We live in a culture that is all about seeking more, wanting more, finding more. It can be difficult to slow down and think of everything that you’re grateful for – so why not set aside time to do just that? Go on a date with your spouse – be it out for dinner, coffee or even just a walk – and talk about everything you’re thankful for.
Start your own book club for two
Is one of your New Year's resolutions to read more? Put your best foot forward by choosing a book for you and your spouse to read together. Read the book each at your own pace and then turn your date night out into a book club for two! A quick search online will provide you with a list of questions to go through as you discuss the characters, theme and plot.
Make a list (and check it twice!)
Make a list of six things that make you feel energized and six things that deplete you of energy and swap with your spouse over dinner one evening. Then, when you sense they’re feeling stressed, encourage them to do more of what fills their tank to find balance in their life.
Take a personality test
This can be fun simple quiz you’ve found online or a more in-depth tests such as Myers-Briggs. Taking the time to go through and better understand yourself and each other will help you two connect. Plus it’s fun to keep learning!
Discover your spiritual temperaments
Set aside time to read the article “9 paths to spiritual intimacy” and figure out which temperament you and your spouse are – perhaps one of you is a naturalist and the other is a caregiver. Once you find out who you are, go out and encourage each other in your unique spiritual pathway.
Tackle a DIY project
Many of us have big plans for DIY projects but we never get around to them. With your spouse, pick one you’ve been meaning to do, gather supplies and get to work! Whether it’s an outdoor bench or a lamp, make your DIY a date night and have fun!
Plan a date you know they’d love
Is there an activity that your spouse loves to do that you maybe love a little less? Put your spouse first by planning a date night all about them. They’ll love the selflessness of your actions and you’ll love seeing the look on their face.
Go on a double date
If you're a younger couple who wants to learn from an older couple you admire, or you've been married for a while and want to help newlyweds who are starting out, go on a double date! Whether you're out for dinner or playing mini-golf, it can be a great opportunity to share some insights and learn from others.
Try something new
“Sometimes doing something new, exciting and unexpected can create more vivid memories than repeating the same thing year after year,” Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley write in Take the Date Night Challenge. So step outside of your normal dinner-and-a-movie routine and try something new!
Pictionary or charades
Think of words or situations that’ll help you and your honey recall positive memories. For example, draw the place where you got engaged, act out your first kiss or mime an inside joke. As you draw or act these memories, rejoice in the symbols, rituals and unifying meanings that make your marriage special.
Relationship drama can be fun when you’re acting an episode from your favourite TV show! Do an Internet search for a script from your series of choice, select characters and recreate a scene. Add costumes and props, too!
Duet? Do it!
Maybe you won’t win this season’s TV talent show, but you and your spouse can be superstars in your living room! Choose a favourite song and look up the lyrics online. Spend an evening at home learning to sing the song with your spouse. Sing with gusto, laughing as you squeak on the high notes. If you’re great singers, try squeaking anyway – aim for playfulness, not perfection! For a bigger challenge, attempt a two-part harmony.
Adopt an accent
French is the language of love, but you and your spouse can determine your own accents of amore! Commit to speaking in an accent for your entire date, and go to a restaurant or shopping mall where you know you’ll be heard by passersby! Whether your dialect of choice is romantic, quirky or completely made up, feigning an accent is playful and exciting!
Give each other $5 to spend, or to just pretend to spend. Look through online classifieds, such as Craigslist.ca or Kijiji.ca, and see who can find the best deal, worst rip-off or oddest buy!
Break a record
Bond with your spouse by breaking a Guinness World Record – or at least trying! It's easy to get started. Just visit Guinnessworldrecords.com and search for records that you think you have a shot at. Maybe you can eat the most grapes in one minute? Or spin a coin for the longest time?
Walk around your town visiting some not-so-typical tourist attractions. Unabashedly snap photos of random objects – the duller the better. That bench outside of the grocery store and the stain on the park trashcan are masterpieces! Sure, you’re a terrible tourist, but you and your spouse will have a blast spotting zany photo ops!
Forget your age
Date like you're from the generation older or younger than you actually are. Eat ice cream cones and rollerblade in the park for a date fit for teenagers. If you prefer senior-style fun, eat applesauce, play bingo and watch a black-and-white movie.
Real estate date
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!
"Happy 100 List"
Stay positive in your marriage by focusing on the good things in life. Ask your spouse to write a personal “Happy 100 List” of things that inspire their happiness. For example, they could list warm slippers or cheesy lasagna, morning coffee or midnight moonlight. As your husband or wife reads their list, take note of ways you can kindle their joy – you've 100 to choose from!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Play "First Words"
Want a glimpse into your spouse's mind? Make 20 or so slips of paper and write one word on each slip. You could write, for example, children, museum, free, music, career or talent. Take turns pulling a paper from the pile and reading it out loud so the listening spouse can respond with the first words that come to mind. Play as fast as you can!
Create a care package
Mail a care package to a friend or family member living across the country or across the street. On your date night, collect and prepare snacks, trinkets and notes to include in the package. You could do bit of shopping at the dollar store, or simply collect items from around your house to send. This small gift will bless the recipient, you and your spouse!
Have a decorating contest to see who makes the best-looking cupcake. Put your own spin on a classic recipe like chocolate chip cookies or a sandwich cake. Or tackle a complicated recipe you’ve never tried before like macarons. Browse your collection of cookbooks or look for a recipe online and get baking! Share the results with your family, friends and neighbours, or enjoy it yourself!
Enjoy a meal out on a budget
Is there a restaurant you and your spouse have been wanting to try but an entrée there would break the bank? Treat yourself to shared appetizers and dessert instead! You’ll still enjoy a special night out with your spouse, but you’ll save yourself money in the long-run.
Bake treats for your neighbours
This is the perfect time of year to bake up a storm, so why not combine that with getting to know your neighbours? Pick a favourite cookie, bread or cupcake recipe and have a fun baking session together! Then hand-deliver them to your neighbours and see the delight on their faces.
Go for brunch
Have you been wanting to try a new restaurant in town? Want to enjoy breakfast and coffee you didn’t make yourself? Treat your spouse to a mid-morning date by going out for brunch!
Bring your favourite restaurant home
Many restaurants have put out cookbooks, and you can borrow them from the local library for free. Pick a cookbook, choose a recipe and have fun! Buy new ingredients together, work through the recipe step-by-step and enjoy the result together.
Try pajamas and take-out
After you put the kids to bed, don’t start on chores and to-do list items you know you should get done. Instead, don some comfort clothes, order your favourite take-out food and enjoy the guilt-free simplicity of an evening in.
Cook up some comfort food
Now that fall is upon us, use the cold weather as an excuse to find a delicious recipe – either from your childhood or one that’s new to both of you – and enjoy some good, old-fashioned comfort food like a hearty stew or a classic pumpkin pie.
Cooking childhood recipes
What was a favourite meal or snack in your family or origin? Crêpes for breakfast? Cinnamon toast for a Friday night munch? Cook each other’s family favourites to reminisce and pay homage to the past – and enjoy some delicious eats while you’re at it!
Go on a progressive dinner
Mix up your dinner routine and patron three of your favourite restaurants in one night! Have appetizers at one restaurant, entrees at another and finish the night with dessert at a third. Feeling extra creative? Make it a multinational feast, beginning with sushi, then burritos and finishing with gelato.
Sundae fun day
Going out for ice cream with all the fixings can be expensive. As a money-savvy alternative, purchase a tub of ice cream from the grocery store and forage for toppings in the bulk bins! See who can be the most adventurous with their mix-ins and enjoy a bowl of custom ice cream with your sweetie.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
Make the most of your time together by going out just to talk. Dr. Greg Smalley suggests asking questions that open up discussion and help you learn more about one another at a heart level. Check out our heart-to-heart conversation starters for ideas such as, “What has been the most positive spiritual experience that we’ve shared as a couple?” or “What three things have you done in our marriage that you’re most proud of?”
Revisit your premarital training
If you still have your premarital booklets or even if you never had premarital training, take a step into the past knowing what you know now. Pull out your old answers or start anew! Go through the questions again and see how far you’ve come – or what you still need to work on.
Back to the future
Years from now, when you look back at this point in your marriage, what kind of memories will you have? Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg suggest going somewhere that’s special to you and your spouse and taking the time to talk about your memories – both good and bad. Then find out what you can do to make good ones now.
Go through each other’s phones, computers or photo albums together looking at pictures of your past. And while a picture may speak a thousand words, be sure to tell your spouse the story behind the snapshot. Spend the time learning about each other and sharing some laughs – and perhaps tears – along the way.
"I do" . . . again
Whether you've been hitched for two years or two decades, make a date to renew your wedding vows with your spouse! The ceremony doesn't have to be extravagant, but it should be special. Dress your best, play your favourite love song and choose a meaningful place to stand hand-in-hand with your spouse as you reaffirm your “I dos.” To take it one step further, frame and hang your vows to serve as a daily reminder of your promises to each other.
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.
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.
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.
Make a 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!
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!
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!
Find a new park
The social distancing measures still in place across the country limit our opportunities for date night ideas outside our homes, but going for a walk is still an option for many of us. Look around your neighbourhood for parks you’ve never visited or trails you’ve never explored – there’s sure to be something new you can enjoy!
Watch a final summer sunset
Have you taken the time this summer to watch the sunset with your spouse? Summer’s not over yet, so there’s still time to enjoy one last evening appreciating the beauty of God’s creation. Make an evening of it and pack a picnic, get take-out or sit on your porch to make it special.
Be a tourist in your own area
Is there somewhere nearby where you’ve always wanted to go? It can be easy for us to plan dream vacations to places far and wide, but enjoying something in our own backyard can be just as fun! Find something local and make a day of it.
Plan a garden
With the first day of spring nearly upon us, take a break from the winter chill by planning what your garden will look like. Take a stroll through a botanical garden, wander through a plant nursery or flip through gardening magazines to dream up your ideal spring garden.
Go to an outdoor event
With the summer in full swing, outdoor events are everywhere. From movie screenings to music festivals, farmer’s markets to fireworks, there’s no doubt something in your community you can get out and enjoy. Find a babysitter if you need to and enjoy the summer with your spouse!
Walk and talk
Now that the weather is warming up and the days are growing longer, take your conversation outside as you enjoy an evening stroll. Be sure to set aside any technological distractions and use this time to reconnect with your spouse as you walk around your neighbourhood.
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!
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.
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.
Break out and work out
Tired of being cooped up inside? Set aside some time, even during the week or on a weeknight, to enjoy the natural world around you and work out at the same time. Go for a brisk walk in a local park. Go for a run together on a summer evening and watch the sunset. Take a bike ride on that trail you’ve been meaning to try. Find something that works for both of you and make the most of the summer!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch a moon rise
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 moon rise.
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.
What’s old is new again
In light of the nostalgia that comes with transition from the past year into the new one, try to remember what the very first movie was that you watched with your spouse. Dust off that VHS (or buy it new) and take a stroll down memory lane for a date night in.
Something old, something new
Since we live in the age of the remake, why not combine a viewing of a recently remade movie with its original counterpart? Settle in with a bowl of popcorn and compare the two – laugh at the poor graphics of the original or the over-the-top graphics of the remake and enjoy an evening in with your spouse.
Drive-in movie night in your car
Download a movie on your device (or use a 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.
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 Pluggedin.ca for a review.
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.
Choose a DVD or Blu-ray film – one that you’ve seen before works best – and watch the special features with your spouse. The director’s commentary is particularly fascinating! Together, you’ll learn a lot about your chosen film and the film industry as a whole.
Go "sale-ing" – to yard sales!
Spend a few hours on a Saturday morning bonding and bargaining at garage sales! Just pack a pocketful of change and you’re ready for the hunt! Drive around looking for signs, or plan your route using a yard sale app or website. With a keen eye, you’ll find hobby or household supplies at a fraction of retail cost.
Cheer for a team, or both teams
Attend a local school or community sports game. If you aren’t huge sports fans, search online for a glossary of lingo and common cheers (e.g., “Good eye!” at a baseball game). Write a few phrases down and be the most enthusiastic fans at the event. Cheer for the same team, or for opposing teams to spark some friendly competition.
Tour open houses
Do an Internet search to find upcoming open houses. Map out the local listings and spend a morning or afternoon touring these homes as a couple. Imagine what it'd be like to live in each home. Point out which bedrooms the kids would be in and where you'd mount the TV in the living room. As you tour, gather interior design inspiration for your own home!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
Try an art class for beginners
Have you and your spouse been looking for a new hobby to do together? Why not try an art class? If you have no experience, don’t worry! There are many options for beginners at local art studios or even through your local recreation centre. Dive into a watercolour course together or try your hand at pottery. You may be surprised at how talented you are! Even if you’re not, though, you and your spouse will be making new memories and having a laugh together.
Go on a money date
Robbye Schroeder, author of Managing the Marriage Purse, recommends having a money date with your spouse where you talk about your budget and address any concerns. “The money dates [help] eliminate secret expenditures,” Shroeder says, while also creating accountability and teamwork.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Extend your summer
September is the perfect month to do something you talked about doing all summer but never got around to – especially because a lot of places get less busy when school is back in session. So go out and see that show, go to that museum, or do that hike you were meaning to do with your spouse!
Creative pumpkin-carving contest
Once you and your spouse have your pumpkins, the pumpkin-carving contest begins! But there’s only one rule: you can carve anything but a traditional jack-o’-lantern face. Do fun designs. Carve out a constellation. Recreate your house. Do anything out of the ordinary, but remember to have fun!
With a potentially stormy fall and winter ahead of us, why not take the time to make sure you’re prepared? Use it as an excuse to have a little fun and, in addition to basic necessities, add a little extra, like a deck of cards or a book of crosswords.
Fall photo shoot
Take advantage of the autumn palette for a fun fall photo shoot! Ask a friend or family member to take the pictures, head outdoors and pose away. Send your best snapshots to relatives with your Christmas greetings!
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.
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.
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.
Try a new snow sport
Whether or not you and your spouse enjoy the great outdoors, now is the perfect time to try a snow sport you've never done before! Skiing and snowboarding are classic options, but you can also look into snowshoeing, snow tubing or even dog sledding! If you're on a budget, you can probably find an outdoor skating rink in your area or simply bring a sled to a nearby hill!
Take a winter walk around your neighbourhood
As the weather gets colder, we tend to stay huddled indoors, but a brisk walk outside with your spouse is an easy way to get refreshed. Check out Christmas light displays – either in your neighbourhood or somewhere you know has the best decorations – and enjoy each other’s company.
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.
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.
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.
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!
© 2021 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.
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