“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” In the classic movie, The Wizard of OZ, these magical words transported Dorothy back to her home in Kansas.
If you are like us, sheltering in place for the past several weeks may have left you muttering something like “Any place but home. Any place but home!”
So, if you are feeling stressed, anxious, worried, short on patience or frustrated with your spouse and children, we recommend going on a date with your spouse! That’s right going on a date with your spouse can actually help you de-stress and strengthen your marriage.
A report entitled The Date Night Opportunity, concluded that there are at least five ways date nights may foster stronger marriages: communication, novelty, eros, commitment, and de-stress. Here is a quick summary of those benefits:
Communication. By removing distractions, date nights afford couples the opportunity to discuss things that are important to them, deepen their understanding of one another and the relationship, and foster intimacy.
Novelty. Couples who engage in novel activities that are fun, active, or otherwise arousing—from hiking to dancing to travel to card games—enjoy higher levels of relationship quality.
Eros. Date nights allow couples to focus on their relationship, to share feelings, to engage in romantic activities with one another, and to try new things that may strengthen or rekindle that romantic spark and sustain the fires of love over the long haul.
Commitment. Date nights solidify commitment among couples by fostering a sense of togetherness, by allowing partners to signal to one another—as well as friends and family—that they take their relationship seriously.
De-stress. Stress is one of the biggest threats to a strong marriage. Stress related to work, finances, parenthood, or illness can prove corrosive to a relationship. Date nights help relieve stress by allowing couples time to enjoy each other apart from their pressing concerns and to extend emotional support to one another in times of trial.
There’s No Place Like Home
If you are convinced that you need to have a date, but feel frustrated because you can’t get out of the house, here are some ideas for fun, creative and inexpensive ways to date your mate right at home.
Prepare/Enrich, the folks who provide relationship assessments, developed the following “6 Cozy Dates for Quarantine:”
Create the ultimate movie/Netflix-binge experience. Well, let’s be real. We’ve probably all been doing our share of this lately. But think of how you could make it fun, special, or different. Maybe you make it a theme night, or randomly pick a movie and see who can write the funniest review to share after.
Give an in-depth lesson. Take turns teaching each other about one of your favorite subjects or hobbies. Keep in mind that the “learner’s” engagement is key to making this fun.
Have a picnic – whether it’s in your backyard or your bedroom. Cook or order in your favorite meal or build an appetizer tray from whatever is in your pantry. Make it feel special by dressing up a bit and playing some music for ambience.
Watch a sunrise or sunset. Grab some coffee or a nightcap and scope out a spot with a view (even if it’s just the bay window of your living room). Reflect on the day ahead or behind you after enjoying nature’s colorful show. Share three things you’re feeling thankful for.
Take a hike. In most areas, outdoor activities are still encouraged as long as you practice social distancing. Scout out a park or hiking/walking trails near you and throw on your comfy shoes. Enjoy the fresh air and each other’s company.
Exchange gifts. This probably sounds like an odd one, especially if you don’t have a gifting occasion coming up – although do you really need one? You’re probably not going to go out shopping for one either. Here’s where the fun comes in! Create a gift out of things you already have around the house, hiding in a closet, or a box of old memorabilia in the basement. The thought- and creativity- is what really counts here.
Here are “Six Date Night Ideas for Couples in Quarantine” from Unleash the Gospel published by the Archdiocese of Detroit:
Have a Dress-Up Night. Dress up, take pictures, and have a candlelit dinner. Follow it up with a relaxing activity together (stargazing, bonfire, watch your wedding video, flip through old photos together, etc.).
Have a Spa Night. Consider making your home a spa-like oasis for the evening. Light candles, put on relaxing music, and create a serene atmosphere in which to unwind. To have the ultimate spa experience: get in comfy robes, do face masks (yes, together!), soak your feet, offer foot or shoulder massages, and enjoy a glass of wine or beer.
Have Your Own Wine or Beer Tasting. Get an assortment of wines or beer and set up flights like you would for an actual tasting. To make it feel like a night out: get out actual wine glasses, set the table, make appetizers, light candles, and play music. You may want to do a blind taste to make it even more interesting. Write down the flavors you taste and compare your written notes to the bottle.
Make Your Own Dessert Night. Pick two different recipes to try together. Each of you can make one and then taste test to see which you like best.
Host a Virtual Double Date with Another Couple. Set a time to meet through a video conference platform. Have appetizers, drinks, and dinner. Arrange to cook the same food in both locations. Top off the evening with a game through a virtual hangout game.
Take a Virtual Dance Lesson. After a nice dinner, clear a space in your home to create a dance floor and pull up a dance lesson video on YouTube. There are a variety of options including ballroom dancing, swing, hip hop, salsa, and more. Spend the remainder of the evening practicing your new moves!
Here you will also find some tips for keeping kids occupied during your date night.
Finally, here is an idea from Witness to Love. They have developed a series of five short videos, along with discussion questions. You can watch the videos on your own or invite another couple or two to watch them with you and connect via Zoom, Skype or another videoconferencing platform to discuss the questions. For more information, visit: Be Light: A Marriage Renewal Date Night Series.
We are praying for all of you. May this time of sheltering in place draw you closer to Christ and to each other.
 The Date Night Opportunity, National Marriage Project 2012, 3.internet: http://nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/NMP-DateNight.pdf (accessed April 25, 2020).
 Ibid., 3-5
 Prepare/Enrich, internet: https://blog.prepare-enrich.com/2020/04/6-cozy-dates-for-quarantine/ (accessed April 25, 2020).
 Unleash the Gospel, internet: https://www.unleashthegospel.org/2020/04/6-date-night-ideas-for-couples-in-quarantine/ (accessed April 25, 2020).