Every relationship expert will tell you that one of the keys to keeping a relationship alive is to keep dating your other half even after you settle down. They’ll tell you to have a date night set aside at least every 1 to 2 weeks where the two of you just spend time together connecting and keeping the spark alive.
Pretty much every couple sees the wisdom in this but putting it into practice is tough especially when you work and have kids. In this pandemic situation, it’s even tougher. We’re restricted on where we can go. The home is full. Privacy is a thing of the past and there’s a limit on the number places we can go.
Rather than giving in to the obstacles, it’s time to get creative. If you can’t go out, come up with at home activities. If you have kids, work around them. Start your date when the kids go to bed; pop them in front of a movie, put them to bed earlier with a bribe. If you have older kids, just ask them to give you some space. I get it. I have a 10, 16 and 20 year old at home. We had to get used to this when we first moved to the Cayman Islands. We had no family, friends or help.
Below we offer 10 ideas. Simple but fun.
Play a card or board game
It’s time to pull out the dominoes. Nothing like a little friendly competition to get you interacting and laughing with one another. Or maybe you could learn a new game. I’ve always had this notion of playing poker in a smoky bar like in the days of The Godfather.
Create an “at home” book store
One of our all time favourite to do is browse book stores. We used to spend hours in there finding books and then sitting in book store café enjoying a coffee, a treat and browsing through the books in our basket.
Recreate the bookstore. Grab a new book even it’s a book on Kindle, make a coffee or a tea, get your favourite cookie or chocolate and sip on your drinks reading your books. Use the time to chat.
Read to each other
Think Louisa Alcott’s Little Women and the sisters all sitting around the fire reading aloud to each other. Find a good book and read to each other stopping to discuss what you are reading. I’ve been enjoying sharing The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowicz. It’s a fantastic business book and a lot of it applies to our own current situation. Find something that you’ll both enjoy and benefit from.
Have a strategy session
On the back of reading together, have a strategy session. It could be a strategy session on anything, your work, business, finances, family, goals. It’s up to you to set the agenda. Not sure about setting the agenda, do this.
Grab a pen and paper. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Do a brain dump and write down all of the things that you’d like to chat about. When the buzzer sounds, stop. Now pick the one issue that sticks out. If you can’t identify one, close your eyes and touch the paper. Whichever thing your finger lands on, that’s the subject you’ll talk about.
Each of you should have a top subject to discuss.
Have fun. Having one of these sessions radically changed my business plan.
When you are done, discard the list. Things change with time. You can do this exercise again and again.
Have a backyard picnic
Have a backyard picnic or set up a small barbeque. Light some candles. If you don’t have a garden, pull 2 chairs up outside the front door. I remember back to my dating days where we’d sit outside on park benches or even just on a wall.
I love to light a fire and sit by a mini bonfire watching the flames and chatting. How nice if you get to open a bottle of wine too and enjoy the surroundings. My husband likes to educate me on the star constellations. It’s all great but I usually don’t have my glasses on so can’t see anything.
Watch a movie in the garden
Set up the laptop and watch a movie in the garden cozying under a blanket or sitting in front of that bonfire.
If you aren’t much of a movie buff, you could always listen to a radio show. I love listening to Desert Island Discs and The Archers. I will also admit that I like listening to informative shows too and just bought myself a subscription to www.realvision.tv
Have a bath
Fill the bath with milk and rose petals and luxuriate together. Okay, this is a bit of wishful romcom thinking. This is my idea of a date with myself but putting it out there for any of you who fancy the idea of squishing into the bath with your other half.
My preference would be him in the other room watching TV and me luxuriating in that bath. I would so appreciate him for giving me the space. Okay, this didn’t quite fit with the brief.
Go for a walk
My husband and I have been walking twice a day during lockdown. I can’t say that this is something that we will keep in our schedule if we start going back into the office but I do plan to keep the walk at least for a short time in the evenings even if it is just walking up and down outside our home. Sometimes we just walk in silence, decompressing. Other times we chat about whatever is on our minds. There is definitely a lot less bickering (or at least I think so).
Work out together
My husband and I met when we were both in the British Army. Part of our dates was usually a trip to the gym. This has stayed part of our lives to this date. It’s a great way to help each other and you get to stay fit and healthy too. If you’re anything like my husband and I, you’ll enjoy the competition.
Here’s one of our workouts. He’s camera shy so you you only get a little clip of him but he’s working away in the background but I’m trouncing him hahaha.
It doesn’t need to be endorphin boosting weight lifting and running. You could enjoy a stretch session or even Yoga Nidra. Nidra is fantastic. You can just lie back and relax.
Have a tasting party
You could do it “91/2 Weeks” Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke style. That was a good movie! Or you can just lay out drinks and nibbles and have some fun. Grab a bottle of nice wine and some liquors. Add to that olives, charcuterie, hot peppers, crackers, cheese and mini donuts. Is your mouth watering now?
Good luck. It’s tough when you can’t get out but you can still have fun.