One of our top marriage goals is spending quality time together on date nights, but we don’t have the budget or babysitters to always go out. At Home Date Nights are a reality for us which doesn’t sound exciting, but they are consistently some of our favorite nights together!! So I’m sharing a ton of great stay at home date ideas that we love!
I am going to be very honest with all of you – our first year of marriage was a little rough for my husband and I in the romance department. It’s not that we were fighting or upset with each other; it was just a challenging year. I was fighting migraines almost every day for 6 months, Bryan was adjusting to a new job that was extremely short staffed which meant a LOT of night hours for him, and I started my business. So basically, there was a lot going on that date night at home or out was not on our list of priorities.
We learned a lot from that year about what not to do. We started setting marriage goals and carving out time together has consistently stayed at the top of that list. But when we started, we didn’t have the budget for date nights out. Now, we still don’t have the budget but we also don’t have the free time or the babysitters. Stay At Home Date Nights after Liam goes to bed is the easiest way for us to reconnect, talk about more than a quick run down of our days or schedule logistics, and have fun!
Yes, our date nights at home really are fun, or casual, or romantic, or memorable! Date nights in seem to have a bad reputation but I’m a big supporter. It’s not that I don’t still like to get dressed up and go to an amazing restaurant or see a Broadway show. It just means that I have an amazing time with my husband at home and it’s good for our marriage.
I remember my brother-in-law telling me a few years ago that every night is date night before kids, but I didn’t agree then and I still don’t. When Bryan is playing video games and I am blogging, that’s not a date. When I am crafting in my bedroom and he’s downstairs, that’s not a date. And when we look back and realized we ate while watching TV every night and can’t remember an actual conversation, we are not dating! At least not the types of dates I want.
It’s really easy to be two ship passing in the night, so I’m sharing some of our favorite date night ideas at home. I will be adding to this post as we move forward and I’ll be adding supporting posts to the blog as well, like recipes for two, favorite date spots in Chicago, and more! All intended to help you put dating your partner at the top of your marriage goals list!
14 DAYS OF LOVE
If you really need a push to reconnect, consider doing a challenge like 14 Days of Love. When we first took up this challenge, we did a date night at home every single day for the first 14 days of February. Since, we have also done the 14 Days of Love challenge during an entire month, committing to having 14 date nights in during that particular month. If you’re schedules are busy, this is a much easier entry point to the challenge because you can skip days if needed.
Any of the date ideas below could work for the 14 days challenge. All you need to do is choose which dates to include and how you want to choose throughout the month. You could schedule them out in advance or you could be spontaneous, writing them on popsicle sticks or slips of paper, placing them in a mason jar, and choosing at random.
AT HOME MOVIE NIGHTS
We love movies in this house, so while movie nights are not the best date ideas for reconnecting and communication, they are still fun!
- New Movie Rental: Since having Liam, we don’t get to the movie theatre as often so it’s really exciting when movies we wanted to see are finally out to rent. Treat it like a night at the theatre though! Buy popcorn and boxed candy and sit watching it together without any cell phones out!
- Double Feature: Each of you pick a movie you want to watch for the night under a chosen theme. The theme could include movies the other hasn’t seen, favorite childhood pic, movie that reminds you of the other, movies that make you cry, movies that make you laugh, movies you individually have seen the most amount of times! The options are endless!
- Choose Your Favorite Actor: We sometimes like to do a series of movie nights over a month or so, choosing a particular actor that we enjoy but haven’t necessarily seen all their movies. For some of the classic actors, you end up with some really fun oldies.
COUPLE GAME NIGHTS
Games are big in this house! They are a fun way to use your brain and an interesting test of personalities. Game nights are probably our number one way of truly connecting. So here are a few different types of games nights we have for date night in:
- Board Game Night – This is our most frequent at home date night, especially since we’ve slowly acquired a great collection of 2 player board games. If you are worried about either one of your being competative, you’ll want to check out our list because we share lots of cooperative games (meaning you are on the same team, winning and losing together.) They’re perfect date night games!
- Video Game Night – It’s getting harder and harder these days to find great video games to play as a couple, but here are our favorite 2 player video games.
- The Not So Newlywed Game – A FREE printable couple’s game that I have made and provided for you all. It’s fun to challenge one another to see who has the best memory and who really knows the other one best. Plus, it’s always a nice walk down memory lane for us. Perfect for laughs and reconnecting.
- Couples Scattegories – Scattegories is one of my favorite all time games, so it made sense for me to make a FREE printable couple’s game for all of you!
SPECIAL FOOD AND DRINK AT HOME DATE IDEAS
Who doesn’t love food? Let’s be honest, my husband and I plan most of our days around our meals and eating time, so it makes sense that we have date nights at home spent mostly in the kitchen – or at least on the couch with the tasty treats.
- Wine and Cheese Night: Wine and cheese is a classic pairing for a reason! Granted, this is a date night I’m probably more excited about than my husband, but we have found a few red wines that he really loves that are fairly inexpensive, especially Alamos Malbec and Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Flights Night or Tasting Night: Challenge yourself to try a few completely new things of the same kind. For example, try 5 new red wines with a wine flight or pick at 3 new ciders for a cider flight. If you don’t drink alcohol, you can still do the same concept with food, like a chocolate tasting night. The idea is that you are trying something new together and evaluating them all to decide which you like the best!
- Dress Up For Dinner Night: While we usually strive for at least snappy casual for at home date nights, every once in awhile we dress to the nines. Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy to match, thought it definitely can be. There is something kind of fun about eating nachos, burgers, or chicken wings in a fancy dress and heals though.
- Cook Together a New Meal: While my husband is not a cook, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun in the kitchen together. Pick out an entirely new meal that sounds good to both of you and give it a try! If one of you isn’t a cook aficionado, let the measure ingredients and keep your cooking wine glass full. It’s a nice change of pace to cook leisurely and enjoy the experience together rather than look at it as the annoying task it normally is every night. Plus it’s always good to try new things together.
THEMED STAY AT HOME DATE IDEAS
The options are really endless here, and I am hoping to tackle an entire theme night post in the future here, but here are a few fun suggestions:
- Italian Night: Whip up toasted ravioli for appetizers and your favorite Italian dish like Lasagna Rolls or baked spaghetti. You’ll definitely want to end dinner with homemade cannolis. Light some candles and play some Italian music. If you’re up for watching a movie, consider Italian Job, Roman Holiday, or Life is Beautiful.
- Mexican Night: For dinner make easy chicken enchiladas or have some fun with nachos and don’t forget the margaritas!
- Breakfast for Dinner Night: Who doesn’t love eating breakfast all day long? Whip up a batch of homemade Lemon Blueberry Donuts and a pretty breakfast gallette or a batch of Churro Pancakes. The options are limitless! For entertainment, I vote for the Breakfast Club or Breakfast at Tiffanys!
CHEAP ROMANTIC DATE NIGHT IDEAS
- Love Letters: We all need a reminder sometimes of why we are loved. Plan ahead to have letters ready before date night begins or cozy up on the couch together with your favorite cocktail and write the letters at the same time. Then, either read them to each other out loud or exchange them at the same time. I recommend reading them out loud. It can feel a little embarrassing, even if you’ve been together a long time, but it also means a lot more to hear the words.
- Massage Night: I’m not talking about a quick shoulder rub while the tv is on. I’m talking about going all out for a Massage Night at home. Put out Christmas Lights and/or light a bunch of candles, buy some massage oil, maybe consider some lavender essential oil for relaxation and go full out in your effort!
- Reminisce Over Old Photos: We have an anniversary journal that we’ve been keeping that works perfectly for a stroll down memory lane together over cocktails and appetizers. It’s a chance to reconnect through your story together. We’ve also done this by plugging in our external hard drive with family photos and letting the computer auto populate a slideshow, looking through other photo albums, and even browsing a box of loose photos.
- Stargazing: Take a blanket outside to your yard with a little picnic and do some star gazing. SKYVIEW is a free app that will help you identify constellations.
- Power Outage Night: Turn off all the nights, put away devices and do everything by candle light. You could even go flameless candles if you prefer! It would be a great night to play a Couple’s Question Game, like Couples Tabletopics or Uncommon Questions.
CRAFTY AT HOME DATE IDEAS
- Anniversary Journal or Scrapbook: Take time together to go down memory lane and put together a scrapbook that celebrates your story! Our Anniversary Journal is a really special keepsake for us and something I’m excited to show our kids when they’re older.
- Wine and Paint Night at Home: I found this kit for a wine and paint night at home and am now obsessed! Bryan actually enjoys painting, which is the only art or craft he can say that about, so we are totally getting this for a coming date night!
- Make Mugs for Each Other: In terms of crafting difficulty, decorating mugs is on the easy side. Each sit on different sides of the table so you can chat and laugh together without necessarily showing the other one what you are designing. I think the surprise is part of the fun! I haven’t posted couples mugs on the blog yet, but you can check out this painted mug project I shared for all the instructions of how to decorate a DIY mug yourself!
OTHER ACTIVITIES FOR AT HOME DATE NIGHTS
- Compare Personality Tests: Spend the night doing personality tests like Myers Briggs or Strengths. Tests that were focused on providing us insight to how we operate and why, which is a great couple activity. We talked a lot about how the answers made sense and shed some light onto our marital conflict and we also talked about why we thought some answers didn’t match or make sense, too.
- Compare Online Quizzes: Spend a couple hours over cocktails and appetizers filling out silly online quizzes, like which Game of Thrones character we are or which Hogwarts House we’d be sorted into (Griffindor!). They were totally silly and mostly pointless, but we had so much fun and liked challenging one another on our answers. We ended up learning a lot about each other, so I think this might be a repeat in our near future.
- A Year in Review: We both went to school for education fields, so we’re trained to spend time doing reflection and we like to bring that skill to our marriage, too. I created a marriage Year in Review Worksheet for you all, too, if you’re interested. It’s a quick sheet (not hard!), but it gives you a chance to talk about the good and bad of the year before and make goals for the coming one.
- Read Together: Whether you are reading the same book or two different ones, we love taking time to brew cups of coffee or tea, cuddle up on the couch together, and read. It’s a nice opportunity to be physically close and snuggle and to unplug from technology (unless you are holding an e-reader). You could even go old school and take turns reading the book out loud to one another! Plus, we love chatting about our books afterwards like a mini book club.
- Learn an Instrument or Language Together: Decide on a challenge you want to tackle together as a couple and do it! For an instrument, you could hire an instructor to come to your house or you can try a more budget friendly option with the Coach Guitar App!