If you’ve been feeling like date nights demand a little more energy than you or your partner are willing or capable of exerting lately, let’s find a compromise. Maybe dinner and a movie (and a sitter and the high cost of restaurants and movies and pizzas for the kids and, oh yeah, the sitter) are a little too much right now. We hear you.
Listen, don’t try to tell us that TV bingeing is date-night enough. It’s not. You and I both know that bingeing is an extremely effective (and enjoyable) form of escapism, and when you and your partner are that deeply lost in, let’s face it, basically mediocre prestige fiction, you’re neglecting each other in a deep way. And definitely this kind of escapism is both essential to the survival of a marriage or partnership, but so is departing from it from time to time to get real with each other.
So try these four date night alternatives to the old dinner-and-a-movie routine. Put the kids to bed early and dive in.
Come on! Have an indoor picnic.
Put out a blanket. Get a little picnic basket. Fill it with cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, nuts and crusty bread. You can read poems to each other or you can do that fun thing where you hang a sheet up on the wall and project an old movie on it. Just like the drive-in, but with better sound and fewer kids making out in cars all around you.
Boardgames can be cool, guys
Boardgames are having something of a renaissance lately. If you haven’t been following that, it’s time to get your Settlers of Catan, Lost Cities, and “Walking Dead” Trivial Pursuit on. If you’re one of those couples that gets too competitive, consider one of those play-against-the-deck games, like Hanabi.
Bubble baths are even cooler
Go all out. Rose petals. Bath bombs. Sensual oils. Be silly, get sudsy, get clean. It doesn’t have to be about “ya know,” you know. Relaxing together can do wonders for your health—emotionally and physically. And, possibly the No. 1 benefit here, you’ll be forced to talk to each other because here in the bath there are terrifyingly few distractions. Gadgets are in peril near a tub, so your S.O. can’t start checking her texts right when you’re about to bring up something you’ve been meaning to bring up for a while. And there’s no game or song to fill the quiet moment, either. Honestly, it kind of seems like all couples should do a good turn or two in the tub like every week.
Listen to records together
God, remember that time you two scream-sang “Mr. Jones” at the top of your lungs during that one car ride back from Vermont? If the tunes go nostalgic enough, all your inhibitions disappear. Take turns playing your faves, tell each other all your same stories. Oh, it’s so fun.