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8 great stay-at-home dates
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8 great stay-at-home dates

Date night doesn't always have to mean getting dressed up and going out. Sometimes it's more convenient to stay home, like when you have a very young baby or a limited budget. You can have memorable and romantic date nights in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a good idea and a little preparation. This article provides 8 ideas for stellar stay-at-home date nights. You'll need to pick a time, invite your spouse and prepare for fun and romance.

Don't forget to make a plan to occupy the children, if you have them. Send them to grandma and grandpa's house for a sleepover, or begin your date right after an early bedtime. Putting on a movie in another room may work, but it's nice to have uninterrupted time together. Once the kids are happily distracted (or sleeping), you can focus on each other.

Game night. For a date night game night, find a few 2-player games and plenty of snacks. You can have a game tournament, where you play one round of several games, or spend all night playing one game. Sometimes my husband and I like to play for a silly prize like one week without dishes or an extra hour of sleep on the weekend. Remember that competition should always be fun, and playing games should leave you feeling happy.

Movie. This is the most common stay-at-home date night idea, but it's also very successful. If you're bored of mainstream movies, try a documentary, independent or foreign film or your own home movies. Make movie night popcorn with special snacks like gourmet sodas, flavored popcorn and your favorite sweet treat. Sit next to each other and snuggle as you enjoy your flick.

Memory lane. It's fun to play “remember when” every once in a while. After several years of marriage, I know I've forgotten a lot of the details of our early years together. Browse through photo albums and home videos and reminisce about previous places you've lived, and how your marriage and family have changed over time. If you want to be extra creative, you could try to re-create a date or experience in your home, like a great meal you ate together. After you spend time remembering, take a few minutes to look forward and make new plans for the future.

Picnic in the backyard. On a nice warm evening, surprise your spouse with a backyard picnic. Make all the food beforehand, and set up a blanket or cozy table and chairs. Enjoy eating and relaxing together. Add in lawn games like croquet, badminton and bocce ball as an after-dinner activity. Make your night extra romantic by considering the lighting. If you start your picnic late enough, you can end the evening watching the stars come out while relaxing – my husband and I choose to stargaze from our hammock.

Lock the door. I can always feel when my husband and I haven't had enough intimate time together. When those times occur, I send the kids to bed early and lock the door. Relaxing in a bath or shower, giving each other massages, talking in bed and enjoying sex are all great things to do when the door is locked. These times, whether prepared or spontaneous, really show your partner how much you love and cherish them. Don't be afraid to lock the door.

Chef and sous chef. When my husband cooks, I tease him by calling him “Chef.” He usually chooses to cook complicated dishes that take more time than family meals allow. I like to play sous chef and help him create delicious dishes. Then we sit down together and enjoy the great food. We don't clean up right away, but even that part of a stay-at-home date night can be fun. Make your cooking date special by adding in a bubbly beverage, choosing dishes that are new and by working together.

Project night. If your home fix-it list is as long as mine, you might need to turn date night into project night. It's actually a good idea. My husband and I always enjoy working together, and with kids out of the way you might actually get a few things done. Make a list of projects that need to be done around the house, and get supplies beforehand. You will feel satisfied when you get some jobs done, and working as a team will bring you closer together. If you have time, relax after the jobs are done and celebrate your accomplishments.

At-home spa. When life gets stressful or you want make your spouse feel relaxed, plan an at-home spa night. Make a body scrub to use in the shower. Study up on how to give a manicure or pedicure. Read a few tips on giving a great foot rub. I would love a nice massage from my husband, and he might tolerate a manly manicure. Have fun taking care of each other at your very own spa.

Continue dating throughout marriage to nurture your relationship and enjoy being together. Next time it’s date night, try one of these ideas. Here are more ideas on creating and maintaining marital bliss.

Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.