It’s Friday afternoon, the week has been BRUTAL–as in no breaks, extra pressure, unexpected deadlines, disasters, concerned emails and phone calls from teachers, and kids who seemed to have turned into wolves; and then my phone chirps. A text reminding me this evening is Date Night. Just to be sure, I check the family wall calendar. Sure enough and I think, “Oh for the love of God, not another thing!”  It meant more work, shaving my legs, feeding the kids supper ahead of time and ignoring my long LONG “to do” list.  

date nght

I felt sapped of energy, the idea of trying to emotionally connect with my husband on top of shaving my armpits made me want to crawl back under my pillows. As I laid there in my misery, a recap of this week flashed in my mind. The last scene to stood out as I  was me staring at my husband in his My Wife Rocks T-Shirt talking to a room full of moms. We had been guest speakers at a MOPS group where my husband bravely waded through the estrogen to share his take on what makes a good marriage when Chris stated, “Not only does a good marriage include frequent check ups, togetherness, and date nights but it also makes good parents.”

I wanted to be a good parent. I wanted my children and my husband to know marriage comes first, right?


Pushing back my bangs, I began planning this evenings meager date night. A pit stop at Panera Bread with the idea of cruising around town eating our favorite dessert or  going grocery shopping …or not. And that also meant shaving…

Four Reasons Why Parents Should Date

Putting your marriage first does make you a better parent. Why is date night so important to parents? We all have different reasons. That’s because no two parents are alike. There is one thing all parents have in common, though. They’re human beings. Everyone needs a break now and then. All work and no play makes Mom and Dad pretty dull. Even parents deserve a little down time. 

Here’s your date night pep talk and reasons why it actually makes you a better parent. 

Mom and Dad came first. I’m still not sure if it’s the chicken or the egg, but I think I’m safe to answer that we all started off as a couple first before the little one(s) showed up. Today’s world is filled with too many couples divorcing because (1) they are not emotionally invested anymore or because (2) the relationship centered around the kids who are now on their own and there is nothing in common for the couple. 

Remind yourself and your kids, marriage comes first. 

Mom and Dad have a relationship too. That’s right, you had a relationship outside of your kiddos and date nights give you a chance to socialize without interruptions, tantrums, epic stories about weird teachers, or discussing the ‘to do’ list. The better a mom and dad’s relationship is, the better more effective your parenting skills are. You are able to present a united front. You can’t be one the same page unless you’ve had a chance to visit about that page. 

Reminds you why you’re doing the parenting thing. Date night allows you and your spouse to get out of sweatpants to dress up. It gives you both a chance to look like real people again, you can look like the person your spouse fell in love with; when four a.m. rolls around, you’ll more likely have a grin on your face as you put baby back to bed because your heart’s be refueled. 

Date Night keeps the romance from burning out. Now that you’re both dressed up and looking like real people, you have the chance to talk and remember who it is you fell in love with. Your husband isn’t just the bread winner and disciplinarian, nor is he the guy that shouts from the living room during a touchdown, nor are you the chef, lunch maker, laundry folder and bottle warmer. Remind each other who you are and take every opportunity to be romantic on your date. 

Still aren’t sure about date night? I love this quote from Women Living Well. 

Here’s how I see it.  A good marriage is like an ice cream sundae.  The ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream are your love, respect, communication, intimacy, communion with God, laughter, winks, prayer, tender kisses hello and goodbye, day in and day out forgiveness and faithfulness. 

A date night – is the cherry on top!  Must you have a cherry on top of a sundae to have a great sundae?  I suppose it’s all in your perspective.  Some women might focus on the cherry that is missing and completely miss out on the winks, tender kisses, intimacy and myriad of other things that go into a great marriage on a daily basis!   ~Women Living Well

And if you have a meager budget or crazy schedules or haven’t the slightest clue what constitutes as a date, here is my post 102 Date Night Ideas from The Mom Initiative. Head over to The Mom Initiative for a printable list. 


102 Date Night Ideas

The focus of any date is to reconnect with your spouse, keep it simple! 


  1. Netflix night—watch movies or your favorite TV series on Netflix when the kids are in bed. Plan a movie marathon night. Order take out or make the perfect movie meal.
  2. Stargazing in the backyard.
  3. Bubble bath with glow sticks (trust me, the glow sticks are worth it and your husband will LOVE seeing the soft glow against your skin). :-)
  4. Board games: Monopoly, Twister, etc.
  5. Fondu—what can go wrong with chocolate?
  6. Camping indoors—complete with sleeping bags, tent, and a string of Christmas lights along with your favorite snacks.
  7. Picnic indoors.
  8. Picnic at your favorite park or in the backyard during lunch breaks if your schedules match up.
  9. Sushi night— Plan a take out night with your favorite food and eat it in bed.
  10. Do a crossword puzzles together.
  11. Go for a walk or jog. Because of my husband’s knee issues, he either rides his bike or one of our kids’ scooters.
  12. Go for a bike ride and watch the sunrise or sunset.
  13. Go fishing at sunset. Pack some sandwiches and chairs.
  14. Give each other back rubs or foot massages with warming gel.
  15. Visit a local winery for an afternoon or evening filled with taste testing wine while snacking on cheese and other complimentary snacks.
  16. Create a gourmet meal. This is one of our favorite nights. My husband can make anything taste like it came from a five star restaurant—even refried beans. Make sure to grab the candles and eat by candle light or by the fire place.
  17. Homemade pretzels. Here are the recipes: Vegan Soft Bites & Soft Pretzels. 
  18. Make homemade taffy. The pulling is a lot of fun. Old Time Taffy Recipe
  19. Go rock climbing. Make it challenge and whoever loses has to give a back rub.Try a new exercise DVD together at home.
  20. Dress up and visit open houses at homes for sale in your area. Chat about whether or not you like the back splash. 
  21. Midnight nacho run. If you have older kids, this one is so much fun.
  22. Have a facial night. Try making homemade facials. Believe it or not, some guys go for this, especially if it means he might see you naked. Facial Recipes
  23. Weekend alone in your home. Drop the kids off for an overnight at their friends’ homes or at grandmas.
  24. Morning or evening devotions together.
  25. Be a tourist in your own city. Look for travel guides and visit local attractions. Remember to take pictures.
  26. Facebook Romance. Often when I’m at work, Chris will send the lines of songs to romance me in private messages. You can also Facebook each other at home.
  27. Youtube Dancing. Learn your favorite dance at home. (Lift from the movie Dirty Dancing)
  28. Play Video Games.
  29. Card Games with stripping. :-)
  30. Take a shower together.
  31. Flea Market Browsing. I love this one; it often sparks my husband’s carpenter skills.
  32. Attend a college sports game, grab his favorite snack like popcorn or hotdogs.
  33. Create a drive in night. Grab your computer and watch movies in the car with your favorite snacks and cozy blankets. (DO NOT TURN ON YOUR CAR).
  34. Do activities at your local fun center: bowling, ice skating, horse shoe, or roller-skating.
  35. Play games together at the arcade.
  36. Go to the gym together. Many gyms have passes for trying the gym for the first time.
  37. Rocking climbing or try a new exercise together. Make it challenge and whoever loses has to give a back rub.
  38. Try a new exercise DVD together at home.
  39. Dress up and visit open houses at homes for sale in your area.
  40. Play Frisbee golf at the park.
  41. Play Frisbee golf in the backyard with laundry baskets after the kids are in bed.
  42. Do a home improvement project together.
  43. Make organizational projects to help with the clutter at home. DIY Pinterest Project. 
  44. Visit the local hardware store for ideas to remodel. You’ll get ideas for a new backsplash for the kitchen sink.
  45. Visit a furniture store, don’t forget the try the beds.
  46. Bake and decorate cookies together.
  47. Draw artsy portraits of each other with or without clothes.
  48. Take photos of each other for each other’s work desks.
  49. Create a memory book of your favorite dates for each of your kids. Include 10 building blocks you use for a good marriage.
  50. Wrap gifts while you watch your favorite holiday movie.
  51. Dessert night. Visit your favorite restaurant for dessert. Be sure to check the site for coupons.
  52. Dress up and order appetizers at a high end restaurant.
  53. Visit your local museums. Many are free or have times when you can visit for free.
  54. Attend a local concert in the park. Grab a blanket, chocolates and other snacks. Check your city’s community events.
  55. Go sledding without the kids, bring a mug of hot coca and share kisses in the car.
  56. Spend an afternoon picking fruit or vegetables at a local farm.
  57. Spend an evening planning a getaway trip and create a savings jar. Savings JAR DIY
  58. Take your guy to the gun range and learn how to shoot. Sounds like a strange date but it is a lot of fun.
  59. Plan a book review night. Read books like Love to Stay or Love and Respect.
  60. Hobby night. Your hobby may be knitting and his may be rocking the guitar, try teaching other.
  61. Hang out at the local library on a Saturday morning reading the newspapers or browsing for new books.
  62. Travel back in time. If you live close to where each other grew up, visit your childhood homes and neighborhoods. Grab a camera and take pictures of your grown up selves there.
  63. Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner in bed, lock the kids out until you’re finished with the meal.
  64. Roast marshmallows and make s’mores over your backyard fire pit or your kitchen stove.
  65. Play hide and seekwith post it notes. Plan to ahead to leave clues all over the house where your hubby can find you. Consider spicing it up by wearing one of his t-shirts or a new night gown (make SURE the kids are asleep.)
  66. Learn a new card game together for two. Card Games for Two. 
  67. Catch fire flies. Seriously! It is a lot of fun.
  68. Go horseback riding. Often you can find horse ranches outside city limits. Google to find one in your area.
  69. Pick out flowers or vegetables to plant.
  70. Go to a Drive-In Theater together. Make or purchase your favorite snacks (let him pick the movie).
  71. Run through the sprinklers or hang out in the kiddie pool—without the kids.
  72. Circle Maker night. If you’ve read the circle maker, you and your spouse can write out goals and prayers for each other, for each child, and as a family.
  73. Visit your local bookstore and browse CD’s and books or people watch—our favorite.
  74. Walk to your local coffee shop and share a scone and coffee.
  75. Go to open Mic night at your local coffee shop.
  76. Go to the carnival and state fair. Embrace the cheesiness and purchase cotton candy to eat while cuddling on the Farris Wheel.
  77. Visit your local car dealer and let him test drive his dream car.
  78. Visit a chocolate or cookie factory or ice cream shop. If they offer tours, plan to go on one.
  79. Prep meals together. Google your area to see if there is a business where you can prep freeze ahead meals or pick a couple of recipes to do at home.
  80. Invite another couple over for dinner.
  81. Visit the zoo and take a slow walk, taking in God’s creation.
  82. Take a class together. Many community colleges offer community education programs. Try a cooking class or pottery.
  83. Take a CPR class and practice on each other at home.
  84. Window shop downtown or at the mall. Pick out a new sexy night gown or bra.
  85. Go hiking.
  86. Camp overnight at your local recreational park. Either camp in your car or a tent by the lake.
  87. Save some cash and stay the night at a bed and breakfast in your area.
  88. House Sit at a friend’s house together.
  89. Surprise your guy with tickets to his favorite major league sport.
  90. Go to a local high school or college game. Go your local school’s website and print out the season’s schedules to put on your fridge for last minute date nights.
  91. Watch a play together at the local high school or Community Theater.
  92. Hunt Garage Sales. Grab his favorite on the go breakfast and hunt for home improvement items, décor, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
  93. Rent a tandem bike. Pack a few sandwiches or snacks and work together to get moving.
  94. Stay the night at a local hotel. Plan ahead and visit the hotel’s site for good deals.
  95. Visit a planetarium. See the stars without braving the cold by getting tickets to the planetarium (for extra privacy for make out sessions, go during off seasons).
  96. Volunteer at a local shelter together or another area of interest like Habitat for Humanity.
  97. Go with him on a business trip or vice versa. He might be gone all day but you’ll have a cozy hotel room to cuddle when he gets back. Order room service.
  98. Sign up for a 5K or try something more challenging like the Warrior Dash Train alone but also train together when your schedule’s allow.
  99. Go to a marriage retreat. This will take some planning and saving but it is SO worth it. Consider Family Life’s: Weekend to Remember.
  100. Dance in the kitchen. Load your Ipod with your favorite tunes and dance the night away.
  101. Go the dog park. If your man is a dog lover, he will love you for this one.
  102. Play Hooky. Send the kids to school and spend the day doing your favorite activity or stay in bed.

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4 thoughts on “No Really, Date Nights MAKE You a Better Parent (includes 102 date night ideas from The Mom Initiative)”

  1. I love this article, Heather. My husband and I are great fans of date nights. We began the habit when our children were high school age and have continued ever since. When we began taking care of my elderly father-in-law years ago, he was quite disgruntled about our Date Nights, faking sickness and arguing to try to keep us from going out without him. Finally one day, he whipped a twenty dollar bill out of his wallet and said, “This is for Date Night, and I’m coming, too.” I’ll always be grateful that my husband stood up for our need to be “just us 2,” a time to regenerate and celebrate!

    1. Sue, sorry for such as a late reply. I was in the Philippines. 🙂 I love your story too, it put a smile on my face to learn your father in law changed his attitude. 🙂

  2. {Melinda} This is great, Heather. I have 2 teens … you’d think Date Night would be easier, right? Wrong. We are so emotionally exhausted, as well as physically, that we hardly have the energy to speak some nights! This is an area that is too important — I know we need to push past the exhaustion. When we do, we’re always glad we did … and it does spill over into all other areas, too. 🙂

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