Not too long ago, we enjoyed dinner with another married couple who we’ve known for a few years. During the course of our meal, we had some meaningful conversations about the importance of spending adult time alone with your spouse. They emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner in order for your marriage to last long term.

As they talked, we complained. We complained about not having the money to go out, not being able to afford a babysitter, and not having the time. At the end of the conversation, they told us that we were like many couples with young children and if we wanted our marriage to last long term, we needed to make time for each other. NO EXCUSES.  So that got me thinking about how we can spend time together and not need to spend a lot of money, or even leave the house.

I’m putting together an ongoing list of ideas for dating your spouse. Some will require a babysitter and some won’t.

Here’s the first ten

  • Forget dinner and a movie. Consider a morning matinee and lunch afterward.Evening movies tickets can cost $10 or more. Matinees are usually cheaper, you can sometimes find them for as low as $5.00. BUDGET TIP: Think about pairing up with another family to swap babysitting.  This is much easier to do during the daytime since bedtime routines won’t be affected… and we all know how rough that can be. 
  • See if one of your neighbors, that you know and trust, would be willing to watch your kids for just an hour so that you can take a quick trip out for dessert at your local frozen yogurt shop. I bet if you offered to watch their kids first, they’d be willing to reciprocate. If you’re uncomfortable watching them indoors, consider playing an outdoor game in the front yard while the parents are away. Remember, it’s only 60 minutes. You can handle it.
  • Candlelight dessert at home. Once the kids are asleep, light some candles, open a bottle of wine and pair it with your favorite dessert. BUDGET TIP: The grocery store usually sells individual slices of cake, pies, eclairs, and more. There’s no need to buy the whole pie for just the two of you, why not split a piece or two?
  • On the weekend, while the little kids are napping or older ones are watching tv (gasp),play a quick board game together to bring out your competitive, yet flirty side.
  • When the weather is nice, after the kids have gone to bed consider sitting outside on the porch sipping hot chocolate or apple cider together and just catch up on life, alone, away from the kids. Leave the budget talks, honey-do lists, inside; this time is to rekindle your interest in each other.
  • Ask grandma to babysit once a week so that you can take a dance class together. BUDGET TIP: Most cities offer community dance classes through their city programs. Google your city’s name and the phrase community dance class. You should be able to easily find the catalog of classes.
  • Watch a movie on the couch or in bed together after the kids go to sleep. Don’t forget to pick up some of your spouse’s favorite movie snacks!Try a new hobby or learn a new language together.
  • There are a variety of instructional videos available on YouTube. Pick a topic you’re both interested in and start learning together.
  • Next time you’re over at your in-law’s for dinner, ask them to watch the kids for fifteen minutes while you take a walk hand-in-hand together.
  • Take at least five minutes each day to just cuddle.How about you? What are some ways you like to date your spouse?