A guide on how to have a date night at home. It’s important to create space for intentional time with your partner. But that doesn’t mean that you always have to leave the house!
Between busy schedules, the difficulty of finding a trusted babysitter, and the general chaos of life, it can be hard to find the time to go out for a date night. However, it is so important in relationships to set aside intentional time together. Once we realized that date nights out of the house just weren’t going to work for this season of life, we established an at-home date night. It’s a few hours that we reserve once a week for each other.
My husband and I struggled with the idea of “date night” for years. In my head, it meant we needed to go out somewhere. I’m the extroverted spouse in our relationship. And in his head, we already spent plenty of time together. He’s the introverted one. After our second child was born we reached a point of frustration. I felt lonely and he felt a little smothered. We sat down and came up with a plan. Every Saturday night was reserved for “date night.” For at least two hours every Saturday, we’d spend intentional time together. No phones, no work, just us.
For a variety of reasons, a weekly babysitter is not a feasible option for us. Meaning that the vast majority of our date nights happen at home. I worried that date nights at home would get stale as time passed. But that has not been the case! I think it’s because the priority is intentional time together, not the activity. Too often dates become about where to eat or what movie to see. But that completely misses the point. I actually feel more fulfilled by intentional time at home than I do an evening out now.
How to Have a Date Night at Home
Be Intentional – Establish a Date and Time
The most important element of how to have a date night at home is to be intentional. This means making date night a priority on your schedule. Decide what night of the week works best for both of your schedules. Then pick a time. And write it down! This time is reserved specifically for date night activities. Treat it as you would making dinner reservations or buying movie tickets. The more special you treat this time together, the more special it will feel.
You should also establish how long you want the date to last. That way there are no hurt feelings or miscommunications. Intentional time doesn’t have to last all night. Sometimes just an hour together is more than enough to recharge your relationship. And it leaves an opportunity for individual self-care as well.
As I mentioned, my husband and I chose Saturday nights as our date night. After we put the kids to bed, we both wrap up any work or chores we had left. Then at 8 pm we meet up for our date. Most weeks our date night lasts for two hours. It’s plenty of time for a board game or a movie, but also leaves time for us to do something else before bed. Sometimes after a long day, or week, separate alone time is just as important as time together.
No Distractions – Phones and Devices are Banned
The biggest part of making date night at home intentional is removing distractions. Date night isn’t about multitasking. It’s just about the two of you. There shouldn’t be any texting or scrolling social media. If you went out to the movies, you wouldn’t be on your phone. So you shouldn’t be on it during date night at home either.
We have a no phones policy for date night. We leave our phones on silent in another room so we can just be together. It’s what makes “date night” different than any other night when we may be in the same room. Most nights we are together, but we are on our phones or computers. That is not intentional time together. And it’s definitely not a date.
Get Physical – Sit Together or Face Each Other
Sometimes the most significant part of a date night out is that you are either sitting next to each other or facing each other. Recreate that at home! If you decide to watch a movie for date night, sit next to each other. Snuggle! Physical touch helps couples communicate emotions. It also releases oxytocin in your body. Oxytocin helps decrease stress, increases calmness and helps people feel more connected. (source) Too often couples get comfortable on their separate parts of the couch and forget the importance of snuggling. The feelings from early love may fade, that’s natural. But you can get some of that magic back by just holding hands on the couch.
Facing each other is also an important aspect of a date. Just like you’d sit and face each other at dinner in a restaurant, face each other at home. Whether you are eating or playing a game, try sitting across from each other. Watch your partner’s face as they talk. It will help you feel more connected and ensure that you’re actually listening to each other.
Communicate – Reflect on the Week
Another key part of a successful date night at home is communication. You’re already looking at each other without distraction, now is the time to talk. When was the last time you asked your partner about their job? Or hobbies? Check in and be sure to really listen. So many times couples say they run out of things to talk about. But when was the last time you asked questions and really listened to each other.
For our date nights we always reflect on the past week and plan for the coming week. Simply communicating how our weeks went can help explain terse words or overreactions that may have happened during the week. It opens up the door for forgiveness and better communication. And talking about our plans for the coming week helps us to be on the same page with our schedules. Usually, date night helps us be better spouses during the week because we spent time actually paying attention and listening to each other.
No Canceling – Reschedule If Needed, But Never Cancel
Date night should be non-negotiable. Even if it is just a night at home watching a movie. It is a priority! That being said, life happens. We have bad weeks, kids get sick, friends we haven’t seen in awhile invite us out. It’s perfectly okay to ask your spouse to reschedule date night. But have an alternate day, time and activity prepared to offer when you do. Remember, the key to a date night at home is intentional time together!
Life is incredibly distracting. There’s always tasks to be done. And something is always vying for our attentions. We’re always preoccupied with what we could be doing. It may feel like we don’t have time for date night. But everyone has time for their partner. Taking a few hours each week to have intentional time with our significant other strengthens our relationships. In turn, this can reduce our stress and increase our feelings of being loved. All without leaving home.