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9 must-try ideas for epic stay-at-home dates

Posted April 20

Build intimacy, enhance your relationship and have a blast with these at-home dates. (Deseret Photo)

Quality time with your spouse is vital your relationship. Time away from kids and responsibilities revitalizes your marriage, reconnects you and reminds you why you first fell in love. Many invest time and money in regular date nights for just these reasons.

But sometimes going out isn't an option. Perhaps you have young children and can’t find reliable childcare or your budget is tight and dinner and a movie out is not possible.

However, if you think the only dates that count are those that involve time away from home and lots of cash, think again.

Here are 9 creative and affordable stay-at-home dates anyone can do.

1. Eat a picnic by candlelight

Planning a simple candlelight picnic is a wonderful way to reconnect. Put your kids to bed a bit early and save dinner for after they are tucked away.

Get creative — almost any room in the house will do. Rotate through the bedroom, livingroom, backyard, porch and car; all are great spots for yummy food, candles, a blanket and pillows.

Talk and enjoy each other’s company, and you won’t even realize you are not in a crowded restaurant.

2. Read poetry

Poetry isn’t just for high school English class. Revisit some of your favorite romance poetry for inspiration. Check out books from the library or find poems online. Pick poems that move you or remind you of each other and read them out loud while you snack on your favorite treat.

Or, for a sweet twist, write love letters to each other and read those out loud.

Even if it feels a little awkward at first, you will find a groove and the meaningful conversation that follows will be worth it.

3. Cook a meal together

If you have kids, feed them a simple dinner and tuck them into bed or let them watch a movie.

Choose a recipe you’ve never made and prepare it together. This will take a bit of planning to make sure you have the right ingredients, but the simple joy of cooking something delicious together is a great bonding experience.

Make a habit of it. Select a different cuisine each week or month, or work your way through a cookbook you choose together. Whatever you decide, add the delight of teamwork and creativity to your relationship.

In the end, you will feed both your soul and your body.

4. Share a hobby

Many couples do not spend enough time cultivating shared interests. It’s important to have things you can do together that bring joy to you both.

The sky is the limit. Whether it is solving crossword puzzles, creating a scrapbook of your relationship, rebuilding a car together or researching genealogy, pick the activity together and share it with each other.

When you have a shared hobby, any ordinary day can turn into an opportunity for a date.

5. Read a book

Pick a book that is interesting to you both. Take turns once a week reading a chapter out loud to each other. Afterward, discuss it. You can even pair this date with the picnic idea suggested earlier.

This is another unique way to open up a meaningful conversation and reconnect.

6. Plan themed dates

Pick a theme and match everything in the date to it.

Say your theme is “casino.” Serve finger-foods and a few fun mixed drinks. Play a couple of rounds of cards together and end the night with a flick such as "Ocean’s Eleven."

Play up the fun and do a bit of decorating to make it even more special. There are so many creative ideas you could do — you could have a differently themed date every month.

For an added twist, take turns planning these themed dates to surprise each other.

7. Record your love story

This is such a sweet activity to do together, and it will be a keepsake you will both treasure, guaranteed.

It can be a scrapbook you work on together, a written account you both contribute to or a video where you interview each other and include pictures.

The goal is to remember your story and get creative making it last for future generations to enjoy.

8. Recreate your wedding day

This makes a fantastic anniversary date. Sit close together and watch your wedding video. Go through your wedding album or photos. Search online ahead of time for recipes you can use to re-create your wedding meal and cake.

Top off the evening with romantic slow dancing and be sure to include a dance to your special song.

9. Do a scavenger hunt

Create a list of items to find (the more outrageous and silly, the better). Together, search the listed items and take pictures with them for a photo album.

Be playful, be spontaneous and bring out your inner-child. You will probably laugh a lot on this date. Fun is a tried and proven way to bond.

Are your creative wheels turning? With a bit of thought, a small amount of effort and some intentional time, you can plan romantic, playful and intimate at-home dates that will enhance your relationship without the need for childcare or excess spending.

Make dating your love a priority — you will never regret the investment.

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