Date Night on a Dime
by Deb DeArmond
June is often considered the wedding month when brides abound and love is in the air. But February is the month when even those not naturally wired for romance are encouraged to step up and declare their love for that special someone. Valentine’s Day is tough to forget and even harder to ignore. The mall shops, the jewelry store ads in the mailbox, and the never-ending barrage of advertising on radio and TV. It’s everywhere. I don’t know about you, but over the years, I’ve felt pressured to celebrate it big—as evidence of my affection for my hubby.
Knowing you are loved is important. But we can’t dismiss the joy and security that comes when we feel loved as well. Love and marriage is always a choice—one that benefits from a daily renewal of our commitment to one another. I’m not 25 anymore, but Ron still sees me as beautiful; he is still attracted to me. I trust his heart, if not always his eyes! I’m so glad it’s his heart he uses when he looks at me. I never wonder whether or not he truly loves me, needs me, and wants me. His pursuit speaks volumes, I feel his love, and it draws me to him time after time.
So what does it mean to engage in a pursuit? Merriam-Webster defines it like this: to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time. I want to capture my someone’s heart for a very long time. I want to be in love with Ron every day I draw breath. And I want him to be fully aware of it. I want him to feel it.
I will admit, it doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m a list maker, a busy girl, and I’m not necessarily wired for pursuit. So it’s a choice I want to make on a regular basis—even if I have to plan it. Spontaneity is overrated anyway.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it might be the right time to get intentional about celebrating your love, firing up the romance, and planning to pursue your loved one.
How to do that creatively, with the budget in mind is a challenge for many of us. Whether you are newlyweds counting your pennies, a family with expenses galore, or a retired couple on a fixed income, keeping your romance alive and healthy is a top priority. More important—it’s possible.
So here are seven ideas for date nights on a dime that won’t bust the budget! I’ve grouped them in three categories:
- The Great Outdoors
- Inside Job
- Home Sweet Home
The Great Outdoors
For those of us who spend our lives indoors with children each day or under the glare of fluorescent lights, time spent outdoors can be a great change of pace. Depending on the weather in your neck of the woods, here are some free (or nearly free) ideas.
- Breathe in the Beauty – Most large cities and many small towns boast a beautiful outdoor display of God’s creativity in the form of plants, flowers, and often, sculptural elements. Even in winter, these outdoor spaces provide an opportunity to break the routine, get some fresh air and talk as you explore together.
- Take a Hike! – Hike a national park or local trail. Discover a new neighborhood or a vintage downtown square. Check your local library (or Chamber of Commerce) for ideas in your area. The physical exercise is energizing and good for your heart, as well!
- Walk, Talk, and Eat! – Tired of your old go-to restaurants? Take a walking culinary tour that explores new locations and cuisines! Appetizers at the first stop, lunch or dinner at the next, and finally, linger over coffee with dessert at tour stop #3. Check your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Bureau for organized tours or create your own.
- Dive In! – Visit a local or nearby public aquarium, plan an afternoon or Saturday with your sweetheart. Walk slowly, taking time to appreciate God’s imagination through the variety of sea creatures we forget lurk beneath the surface.
- Get Physical – Ice-skating and roller-skating reminds us of date nights as teens. It’s still fun and can provide some comic relief as well—especially if it’s been a while. Bowling and racquetball are great choices for athletic types. Get the blood moving and see your energy revive.
- Get Cultured! – Pick a major museum or one specific to your interests. Within a few miles of my home I can explore the National Cowgirls Museum and a Civil War Museum. Unusual museums in every state can be found at http://yhoo.it/1HD38nx. Art Galleries vary from the grand masters to local talent and include paintings, sculpture, and collage. And don’t forget the theater! It doesn’t have to be Broadway to be a great date. Check the Sunday entertainment section of your paper for local venues.
- Fondue It Up – Usually a bit of a splurge, but great Valentine’s Day specials are featured at many national fondue restaurant chains. Or try it for lunch or the early bird special, which can save you as much as 40-50% off the price. It’s a leisurely, unhurried meal, providing great time for real conversation.
Home Sweet Home
For many, there’s no place like home. Romance starts in the kitchen, you know. Plan the meal, shop together, cook together, and clean it up as a twosome. Nothing quite as appealing as a man with soapy hands. After dinner, pick some discussion topics you’ve prepared in advance. Choose subjects that allow you to dream together and talk about things that can get lost in the shuffle of life.
- What drew you to one another when you first met?
- What qualities do you appreciate about your spouse?
- What one thing does your sweetheart do that you most admire or appreciate?
Make this the best (budget friendly) blowout ever!
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