Sometimes life gets away from you. Maybe your boss is piling on the extra tasks before a big deadline, or maybe you’ve run into some unexpected household expenses. At times it can seem impossible to have any time or energy left over to connect with your partner.
Yet it’s when you’re feeling the most stressed out that you need to hit the pause button and find some time for romance.
It’s time to bring back date night.
Luckily, you don’t have to break open that piggy bank to have a wonderful evening with your partner. Whether it’s your second date or your twenty-second anniversary, you can schedule some quality time together at home. With a dash of creativity, you can make it something truly special.
Set the Date
Just because you’re having date night at home doesn’t mean that you should leave the planning to the last minute. On the contrary, you want to give yourself enough time to plan a great theme and get everything in order. If you need to get a babysitter (definitely recommended!), that requires some advanced planning, too.
Once you’ve chosen the night, make sure it gets onto your partner’s calendar. To signal just how special the night will be, send an invitation instead of a text. A handwritten note left on a pillow, a card dropped in a lunch bag, or even a cute Evite will set the tone — and pique your sweetheart’s interest in what you have planned!
Choose a Theme
If there’s one potential drawback to having date night at home, it’s that you might be tempted to slip into your hum-drum routine and turn in early. Now that you’ve raised the expectations with a real invitation, you have incentive to up your game. The easiest way to ensure that your date night is more than just Netflix and takeout is to plan the evening around a theme. It makes the planning fun and gives you the opportunity to transform your living space with a few carefully chosen decorations.
Consider these themes for inspiration:
If you’re longing for a getaway, plan a date that whisks your partner away to that special locale — at least in your imagination. Whether you want to go to Paris or Portugal, Milan or Mexico, you can plan a meal and activities that provide a taste of your favorite place. For the meal, hit the Internet and find recipes that highlight your destination’s cuisine. If you have a high degree of difficulty or don’t enjoy cooking, see about having the meal catered for some really authentic flavor. Light some candles, dim the lights, and add a playlist of local tunes to set the mood.
Though you could always watch a movie set in your favorite locale, a more engaging activity is to work together to plan that big trip for real. Bring out a collection of brochures, get a giant map ready, and start making a list of all the places you want to go. Whether this is fantasy vacation planning or the night that you actually pull the trigger on those plane tickets to Europe, there’s nothing like dreaming about far-off lands to get the conversation started.
This relaxing theme could be just what the doctor ordered for sleep-deprived parents of babies and toddlers. The dress code is PJs, of course, but other details are still well-planned. Instead of greasy delivery pizza, make your own French bread pizzas together. These are fun and easy to make, and you can set up a buffet of gourmet toppings like cured Kalamata olives, goat cheese, prosciutto, fresh herbs, or any fancy favorite. Pop open a nice bottle of Chianti or Malbec to go with your masterpieces.
When you’re done eating, it’s perfectly acceptable to center the rest of this date around a movie at home. Choose a romantic flick like “Truly, Madly, Deeply” or something funny like a Hepburn and Tracy classic. Get your living room ready by having plenty of plump pillows and blankets spread on the couch for ultra-cozy seating. A fluffy robe or cushy slippers make a great gift to go along with this theme, too!
What could be sweeter than a chocolate-themed date night? Plan your dinner and drinks around one of the world’s most romantic ingredients: Start with a chocolate martini, then move on to a delicious chocolate mole chicken dinner. For dessert, the sky’s the limit! Anything from a fluffy chocolate mousse to chocolate fondue will be the perfect finishing touch.
For some more interactive fun, try running your own candy shop together. You can melt chocolate chips and pour it into decorative candy molds, or you can dip pretzel rods into chocolate and sprinkle them with nuts and colored sugar. The most romantic choice? Chocolate-covered strawberries.
Some Final Advice
Any theme or dinner at home can be made into a dynamite date night. In addition to some great food and drinks, the most important thing is to spend time together. So turn off those phones and put away the laptop. Light some candles, turn on your favorite music, and enjoy each other’s company for the evening. What could be more romantic than that?