My husband and I were married for over 15 years before we added a child to our family. I struggled with infertility, which led us to adopt our beautiful daughter from South Korea.

And, while I’ll say that it was one of the best decisions of our lives, I can also say something I know all you parents out there already realize…

Kids change everything!

In life before kiddos (LBK), finding time for date nights is no big deal.

You’ve got lots of opportunity to go out, have a great time and enjoy the one-on-one time with your spouse.

Life after kids (LAK) is a whole different ballgame.

You end up wearing so many hats…

Taxi driver, boo-boo kisser, math tutor, short-order cook, maid, pet sitter and more.

Time together can fall by the wayside, fast. But, if you want to keep your marriage strong, you’ve got to put effort into it. After all, you and your husband were lover and friends before you were parents.

This is where regular date nights come in. Get a babysitter, leave your kids with your mom or your sister or let them stay at a friend’s house.

The key is to find time to reconnect to your spouse and keep the romance alive. Think of date nights not as living like you used to but building that relationship even deeper, with new and exciting ways of experiencing each other.

Date nights don’t have to be super extravagant or super cheap – the key is to make them memorable to you both. With that in mind, here are several ideas to get you both back in the groove…

  1. Turn your dining room into a dining destination– Claim your home for one evening and send the kiddos to grandma’s! Bring your favorite restaurant to your dining room. Add candlelight and soft music to amp up the romance and badda-bing! You’re back in the saddle.
  2. Have an in-home wine tasting – Pick up 3 – 4 bottles of wines to “taste test” together, complete with cheese, crackers, and fruit for an elegant evening for two. Just watch the number of glasses if grandma and grandpa like to drop the kids off early!
  3. Have a spa night – Book an in-home couple’s massage to relax and get rid of the stress of the week.
  4. Stargaze – Lay a blanket down in the backyard and count the stars together. It’s a great time to talk and reconnect.
  5. Cook – Make dinner/dessert together in the kitchen just the two of you. Even if the kids are in the family room, you can enjoy your one-on-one time.
  6. Check out the art scene – Go out to a play at a local theater or spend an afternoon at the museum. This is grown-up only time!
  7. Head out to the ball park, concert hall or other cultural event to feel young and in love again.
  8. Take an art class together – Even if you both think you’re terrible at it, you’ll enjoy the experience.
  9. Sneak off to a hotel – Even if you can only get away for a few hours, use the time to reconnect. Just remember… no napping!
  10. Be a kid again – Go to the local park and give those swings a try.
  11. Enjoy an evening dinner cruise – Whether you live near a lake or the ocean, a dinner cruise is a great, romantic way to enjoy the sunset.
  12. Take a stroll thru a botanical garden or local zoo – Hold hands, talk and have fun getting away.
  13. Take a tour at a vineyard or distillery – Daily tours are offered by most vineyards and distilleries and many provide tasting rooms. Call ahead to plan the best time to go.
  14. Go bowling, play tennis or mini golf – Whatever you enjoyed doing when you were dating, do it again. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you’re not fun anymore!
  15. House hunt or car shop just for fun – Share your dreams by driving around looking at houses you’d love to have or test drive your dream car. You’ll get insight into your spouse’s goals for the future and feel closer than ever.
  16. Head over to the batting cages – Whether you used to be a Little League MVP or never hit a ball in your life, taking a swing at the batting cages is fun for all ages.
4 creative ideas for dating

This isn’t about how much you spend but how well you can reconnect with the love of your life in today’s hectic world. Having a specific day and time and keeping it on the schedule is the key to lasting happiness and keeping the fires of your romance burning bright.

I’d love to hear your favorite date night ideas! Post them in the comments.

Want to plan some fun for the whole family? Check out our post on 15 Family Fun Night Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank.

And as always, I wish you a strong family, optimal health and smart incomes.

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