If your dates — when you even have time for date night — have been a little “been there, done that,” these six ideas promise to put the “marvelous” back in your marriage. From Fun & Creative Dates for Married Couples: 52 Ways to Have Fun Together, by Howard Books
Leave your cares behind and sneak away to a bed-and-breakfast for a relaxing weekend of romance. Choose an inn that fits your personalities, whether it be a rustic cabin with a Western feel or an elegant Victorian inn with lots of charm and history. Many bed-and-breakfasts offer spa robes, afternoon tea, whirlpool tubs, and scrumptious desserts. Inquire about specifics when you make the reservation. Make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to be pampered.
- $$-$$$ A stay at a bed-and-breakfast tends to run slightly higher than a night at a hotel, but the quality amenities, gourmet homemade breakfasts, and personal touches far outweigh the slight difference in price.
Over the Top
- Check out the local restaurants and make a reservation for a romantic dinner.
- Plan a longer trip, finding interesting bed-and- breakfast inns to stay in on the way to your destination.
- Take a trip overseas and stay in a bed-and-breakfast or a castle.
Trip Down Memory Lane
What do you remember most about the day you and your sweetheart first met? How about your first date? For a fun, nostalgic date, see if you can re-create the moment you first met or your first date. See how much you can remember and try to get the details as close to the original as possible. Do you remember what you each were wearing? If you don’t have those same clothes anymore, see if you can find something similar. If you went out to eat or to a movie or ball game on your first date, try to arrange to sit in the same seats. Were other friends or family members involved in your meeting? Why not include them in the fun and see if they’d like to help you re-create the moment you met? Whether this date is simple or elaborate, have a great time refreshing your memories of an important milestone in your love story.
- $-$$$ The amount you spend on this date will depend on how elaborate you choose to get or on what you did on your first date. If you’ve moved away and can’t afford the traveling expenses to return to the original location, see if you can find someplace similar nearby.
Over the Top
- Re-create your proposal. To make the event even more special, you could surprise your loved one with a new wedding band or some other piece of jewelry.
- Go online to check the current status of locations you’d like to revisit, to order tickets to a movie or event, or to find specific items to make your reenactment more authentic.
The Great Cookie Hunt
See if you can find the best cookie in your city. Visit local bakeries, the cookie shop at your local mall — anyplace you can think of that makes good cookies. You’ll probably want to sample just a bite or two of each cookie, and then take the rest home to enjoy later so you don’t end your date early with an upset stomach! If you can’t agree on just one winner, you could each rank them from your favorite to least favorite and see which cookie shows up towards the top of each of your lists. This activity could be especially fun during the Christmas season, when there will be additional holiday selections to choose from; and you just may find the perfect treat to take to holiday parties.
- $ Cookies are usually a fairly inexpensive treat.
Over the Top
- See if you can come up with your own original cookie recipe and give it a sentimental name that has something to do with your love story.
- Spend the evening baking your recipe together.
- Key search words: bakeries, cookies, cookie recipes
Test-Drive Your Dream Car
When you hear the words dream car, what image springs to mind? If it’s the latest minivan with the perfect setup for your growing family, try thinking a little further — beyond what’s practical to something that’s just plain fun. What about the shiny sports car he’s dreamed of driving since he was a little boy? Or maybe the snazzy convertible she pictured herself in during her single days. Decide what it is you’re looking for, and then head to the car lot for a test-drive. Even if your dream car is destined to remain in the realm of fantasy, you can still have a great time checking out the car lots and sharing your dream with each other.
- $ A test drive won’t cost you anything, but if you’re prone to impulse buying, you may want to leave your checkbook and credit cards at home!
Over the Top
- Rent your dream car for the weekend and take it on a road trip, or rent it when you get to your destination and have a blast driving it around town.
- If your dream car is something you’d both honestly like to own someday, why not set up a separate savings account and start working toward that goal a little at a time?
- Get online to find a dealership in your area that carries your dream car.
- Most of the major auto manufacturers have websites where you can “build” a customized version of your dream car online.
- Key search words: dream car, dream car rentals
Sometimes the best plan is no plan at all. If you’re weary of having to stick to schedules and agendas, maybe a lazy day at home is in order. Spend the day in your pajamas. Do crossword puzzles together, read the paper or a book to each other, or watch your favorite movie. If it’s nice out, swing in a hammock together and sip some lemonade. One glass, two straws. Order in dinner. Do whatever helps you relax — those simple pleasures that a busy schedule rarely allows.
- $ If you’re like most people, you probably have plenty of unused lazy-day activities around the house, so your only expense should be food.
Over the Top
- Call a local spa and order “at home” massages for two. Now that’s relaxing!
- To remove yourself completely from the temptation to do anything but relax, rent a cabin in the woods for the weekend and spend a lazy weekend enjoying the beauty and solitude of nature.
- Key search words: crosswords, cabin rentals
Renovating the Nest
For a fun and memorable day that will have a lasting reward, try tackling a small project around the house together. Keep it simple, fun, and romantic — something that’s not too difficult and not already on a “to do” list. You could install a porch swing or add a splash of color and some decorative touches to your bedroom. Or, if you’re handy at woodworking, you could try something a little bigger, like building a gazebo in the backyard. Make it something you can enjoy together, and be sure to pick a project that won’t raise your stress level if you aren’t able to finish it as quickly as planned. Have fun working together, but take some breaks and relax together too. If you don’t finish in one day or one weekend, you’ll have your next date already planned! In the end, you’ll have something you’ll enjoy for years to come, and you can be proud to tell others you did it yourselves.
- $-$$$ Your budget will depend largely on what project you choose and how many of the necessary tools you already own.
What to Take
- Any necessary tools or supplies
- Wear old clothes. After all, you never know when a paint or water fight might break out!
Steps to Success
- Remember that your main goal is to have fun together.
- If you make a mistake, laugh about it together. Sometimes it’s the imperfections that give a piece its character.
Over the Top
- Build a natural habitat in your yard to attract wildlife such as birds and butterflies and beneficial insects.
Finger Foods Only
Prepare a meal made up entirely of finger foods, and have fun feeding each other. Menu selections could include shrimp cocktail, petite quiches, crackers, cheese cubes, grapes, fresh cherries, petit fours, and chocolate-covered strawberries. If you have a fireplace, you could even prepare some small kabobs and cook them over the fire, followed by roasted marshmallows or s’mores for dessert.
Another fun and romantic variation would be to feed each other fondue. Be creative! Set the scene for your dinner with dim lighting, candles, and romantic music. You may want to spread a blanket on the floor and eat picnic style or place your food on a tray and snuggle up on the sofa.
- $-$$ Of course, you may get quite elaborate with your menu if you wish, but simple fare can be just as enjoyable.
Over the Top
- If you don’t already have one, purchase an outdoor fire pit or chiminea for your backyard. Either prepare your dinner over it or feed each other by the light of it. Take some blankets or sleeping bags out with you so you can snuggle up and stargaze after you’re finished.
- Key search words: recipes, finger food recipes, fondue
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Perhaps best known for its gift-book division and bestselling Hugs series (selling over ten million), Howard Books has other numerous successes to its credit, including New York Times #1 bestseller Mistaken Identity and Rick Warren’s The Purpose of Christmas. Howard also published Fun & Creative Dates for Married Couples: 52 Ways to Enjoy Life Together! (© 2008 by DaveBordon and Associates, LLC).
- See the Table of Contents for Fun & Creative Dates for Married Couples: 52 Ways to Enjoy Life Together
- Learn more about the book