Let’s face it – moving every three years, or more often, makes it difficult to have a network of baby sitters that you know and trust. Being near family is even less likely than finding a sitter. Throw in deployments, separations for schools, the stress and often long hours of our spouses’ work, then dating, or having alone time with your spouse, can be difficult. I can recall a fellow spouse sharing that the only date night her and her husband had for a year was the military ball – a once a year date!
So, what do you do when you are faced with these challenges? Yes, there is conversation over laundry and dishes, but that doesn’t always make for quality time. The tried and true hang out and watch television can provide distraction, but that doesn’t usually provide opportunities to connect with your spouse (especially if one of you wants to watch Die Hard and the other “When Calls the Heart”). Box subscriptions are currently all the rage – so why not make your own “dates in a box”? I gifted my spouse with a few that are ready and packed, at the ready to be pulled out when we lack the mental ability to be creative at that moment, and enable us to share a moment together.
A few of my favorite ideas for dates in a box:
- Hot cocoa and cookies – use this opportunity to brew a beverage together, share in a snack and chat – about something other than the kids or work – talk about your hopes and dreams. This may sound silly, but think about the last time you did that. Realizing how long it has been is what prompted me to make this an option.
- Card games – I got a book that listed different card games (some I didn’t even know existed!) and the rules, and put in two packs of cards. Card games enable conversation, and exploring a new card game will be fun!
- Any video game or level up pack – Does your spouse play Xbox or Playstation? Get a game that they have been eyeing (check out Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals if you want to find a good deal on one) and put it and a game-friendly snack in a box. Either join them in the game, or sit and watch as they play. This allows for relaxation and enjoyment while still conversing. Make sure it is a game that either you want to play along with, enjoy watching, or that they will actually converse during.
- “Bake-off” box – Adding a bake mix and anything you need for baking the item. For instance, bourbon peach cobbler is something I made my spouse very early in our marriage and it was appreciated and loved. I haven’t made it since because of both the time and effort it takes, and just life has happened. I bought canned peaches, bourbon and a pre-made shortbread crust so we could make a bourbon peach pie. It will be fun for us to make it together, reminisce on when I first made the pie and it will be a yummy treat to enjoy as just adults.
- “Movie box” – While this may not allow for as much conversation as the other options, it is a great option. When was the last time you watched a movie that didn’t involve trains or princesses? Redbox often has codes where you can rent for little or no money. Local libraries often have newer releases of movies as well and is a wealth of resources for free. Or, to make this a ready to go box, get a Redbox gift card and popcorn and your favorite movie snack and have it ready to go!
- Game night – pick up a board game that you played as a kid and haven’t picked up for your kids or yourself yet – this is another conversation starter. Maybe in picking up your favorite childhood game, your spouse will learn something about you – and you about them!
- Paint Night – Groupon often has deals for the new painting date night craze – but that means finding a sitter to watch the kiddos. Going out to paint is an awesome date, but if you can’t coordinate it, gather the supplies to do it at home! If you have a household like ours, then you already have the paintbrushes and paint – so pick up some canvases for yourselves (Michaels often has canvases on sale or has 40 – 50 percent off coupons almost weekly), find a youtube video of painting instructions (hello Bob Ross!) and viola – paint night in!
- Puzzles – if you have kids, you probably do these with your kids –but choose one that has little pieces (aka a challenge for the adults) and enjoy a few hours of concentration, fun and conversation
The important part of dating your spouse is that you spend quality time together… time that reinforces the bonds of your relationship and reminds both of you why you got married in the first place. It isn’t easy trekking around the world together but that is no reason why it shouldn’t be fun.
The list could go on and on thanks to Pinterest – above are just ideas I enjoy! Hope you can enjoy these with your spouse as well!
#milmomadventuretip – Michael’s offers a 15% military discount that you can utilize for arts supplies if you don’t have a coupon.