5 Date Night Ideas for Couples Stuck in a Rut

IMG_1564After 16 years of marriage, my wife and I have noticed that it has become easy to fall into a rut with the time we spend together. For example, since the kids came along we have had begun doing the “grocery store date”, which involved going out for dinner, then going grocery shopping. This date pattern came about for fairly obvious reasons. It’s easier to go to the grocery store without the kids. If we already have a babysitter, why not have an easy night of buying groceries? On the plus side, it meets the basic requirement of spending time alone together.  The problem is that this outing isn’t particularly exciting and is really just doing home maintenance without the kids along. Dating your spouse should be about enjoying each other’s company and spending quality time together, unfortunately its easy for it to devolve into an obligation or routine.Because of this, we have put effort into coming up with new and novel activities to engage in on date nights that shift us out of our rut. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • First to pick up their phone loses- This one isn’t as much a game as a strategy for enjoying the evening. Cell phones have invaded so much of our interaction and demand a great deal of attention that it is easy to sit across from each other, surf the net, and never talk. This activity is aimed at curtailing this trend. It starts with a bet. Both partners select the stakes and the first to pick up their phone for any reason loses. Some decent stakes include: breakfast in bed for the winner, loser plans the next date, or the winner gets to sleep in while the loser takes care of the kids in the morning. It’s best to be creative and friendly with this. It’s also smart to set a special ringtone for the babysitter to prevent missing emergency calls.
  • Book Store Gift Shopping- One of my favorite date night games involves a visit to Barnes and Nobles with $30. Each of us takes half and spends 20 minutes picking out a book for the other. The book can’t be an obvious choice, but should 1480537_10151792771816835_1306916336_nreflect something that you think your spouse might find interesting, something that is a sort of project or activity work on together, or anything else that might spark conversation. Afterward we spend time talking about why we picked the book we picked and our reactions to the book we received. The important part of this game is spending time talking about it afterward and sharing reasons for picking the book. It can be adapted to other settings if you aren’t a reader. The game can be played in a mall or almost anywhere else.
  • Playing Games at Denny’s- This one may sound silly, but we have done it on more than a few occasions and find that it makes for a fun evening. You go to a restaurant that would generally expect patrons to sit for a little while, like Denny’s, Perkins, Tim Hortons, or a coffee shop. (We did this at a sports bar once.) Once seated you start a game. We have played dominoes, scrabble, and cards, though these are not your only options. Pick a game you both enjoy playing. It’s kind of neat to sit and play a game while being waited on. It’s particularly great to play a game without little hands grabbing the pieces or asking to help you play your side. If you tip well, most waitresses won’t mind if you sit for a while.
  • Walking- Early this year, my wife and I had a small window to go out. We visited a local restaurant. After the meal, we were at a loss as to what to do next because we live in a very rural area, with somewhat limited options for outings. I called a friend who owns some land on the river near our town. He directed us to a trail that ended at a cliff overlooking an island on the river. We walked a few miles along the trail, enjoyed the view, held hands, talked, and spent no money. Walking in parks, along trails, even through your neighborhood provides an opportunity to spend time together and just talk. Bring dessert or a picnic for dinner as well to enhance the outing.
  • Questions- Take turns asking questions. This may sound corny, but it provides conversation starters and can lead to knowing each other more intimately. Questions can be on any subject and should be answered to the best of your ability. Some questions I remember asking include: Best time we ever had together? Most memorable date? Favorite gift you’ve gotten from me? Really, the point of this is just to ask each other’s thoughts and feelings on different issues.
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29 thoughts on “5 Date Night Ideas for Couples Stuck in a Rut

  1. Great ideas… I especially love the Barnes and Noble date. Thanks for sharing these!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your idea of a bookstore gift shopping date. My husband and I of 31 years both love books. Our favorite date is to go walking on nature trails.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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    • patchingcracks says:

      We are very much book people. The book store game has 2 big plusses. We get more books (which is always awesome) and we get to see a bit of the other’s perception, which is also great.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We used to do ‘fix day’ where we, for a day were ‘obliged’ to help eachother with stuff we did not like or could not deal with. Very important: without complaining, no slacking, no negativity. And we would turn it round and have a fix day for the other. Not really a date, but it patches cracks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • patchingcracks says:

      That is an awesome idea! I’m probably stealing it. I think dates can be almost anything you do to spend time together. I prefer things like this that feed the relationship.

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  4. Codi says:

    I’m definitely wanting to give the bookstore date a try!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great ideas and while at Barnes and Noble check out the book “you and me forever” Francis Chan! AMAZING marriage book of a whole other caliber!

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    • patchingcracks says:

      Actually, I’m about finished with it. Will be posting a review later in the week. It is one of the best marriage books I’ve ever read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isn’t it though? That is so cool you read it! we are in the middle of it!

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      • patchingcracks says:

        It is terrific. Hoping to have a review written by Friday. I am planning on ordering a dozen copies to pass around to the folks in our church. Really inspiring.

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  6. Trevor says:

    Cool stuff! I really like the game idea. Gonna try that one soon! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. atimetoshare says:

    Great ideas. We need to keep thinking of fun things to do together.

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    • patchingcracks says:

      It’s really an intentional effort that has to take place. It’s way too easy to fall into the same-old-same-old or what is easiest. Thanks for commenting and reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. eurlog says:

    Really enjoyed perusing your blog. Great thougths!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Debbie M. says:

    Hiking is our favorite go to “date.” An added perk is that exercise is tucked into the date. Hiking has enables us to experience views that take your breath away, share trail stories that we laugh about years later, set hiking goals and overcome challenges, and simply enjoy God’s creation by getting away from the ever present to-do list. All hallmarks of a good date for this old married couple!

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    • patchingcracks says:

      We really love hiking! One of the best things about living in Montana is the abundance of parks and wilderness areas for hiking. It’s tougher with little kids, so its often just a date night activity. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  10. My husband and I went on a date this past weekend, and my problem was using my cell phone. We will definitely try the “first to pick up the cell phone” game the next time. I think I’ll do better with stakes involved. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Love the game night at Denny’s! Great.

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  12. Nice post! Like others, I totally like the Book store idea. I shall give it a try.

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  13. Fun, fun, fun…especially playing cards at Denny’s. I’m away from home right now. Let’s see what happens when I get back.

    Liked by 1 person

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