We’ve said it before, we will say it again: Never stop dating your spouse.
Paul and I are big believers in date nights and spending money on fancy dinners regularly, or mini vacations, in order to unplug, reconnect, and keep us “dating” in marriage. Our favorite date nights include going out to eat at new restaurants, we are unashamed foodies, and grabbing Sprinkles Cupcakes afterward. (They may or may not know our names at Sprinkles.)
A few favorites: Sugar Bacon in McKinney, HG Sply Co., PF Changs (We often do take-out from here), Fireside Pies (!!!!), Mi Cocina
We have more faves, but these are some solid “regulars”.
Sometimes we have months that don’t allow us the room for dinner date nights, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop dating. DON’T STOP BECAUSE MONEY IS TIGHT. As of late, it feels like all we are ever doing is adding things to our “Must Buy” list. I keep saying things are going to finally stop dying on us… but I am still waiting for that day to come. On Saturday, we found one of our brand new tires had popped from a 3 inch nail, and after spilling red wine all over the OTHER sofa cushion on Monday (if you recall, this happened about three months ago, too), I looked at Paul and asked what the heck he thinks God is trying to teach us. He said “contentment.” All aboard the conviction train, I was immediately humbled and thought to myself “crap.” I can want so much, I want to replace our lumpy sofa, finally get a second car again, a home, whatever- the list goes on. Bottom line, we just can’t afford it right now and I have to be okay with living simply. God is bigger than what I think will make our lives more “comfortable” or “easy”- whatever that even means. And trust me, just because I am saying all this doesn’t mean my heart has had a full miraculous transformation. Yet. But, admitting and repenting is the first step to healing and contentment with what is set before you. So read this and hear me, and now hold me accountable. 😉
All this to say, Paul and I have become masters of figuring out easy, cheap (or FREE) date nights when we are on a tight budget, and we wanted to share a few with you.
1. Game Night In
Board games, wine, a favorite movie, a blanket tent. Be children together! This is such a fun way to be goofy and childish with your spouse. Make homemade pizza and popcorn for the ultimate throwback date.
2. Walk Around Town + Ice Cream
Paul and I are lucky since moving to McKinney to have an AWESOME downtown square. It’s a real deal, ole timey square, and it feels a little like taking a step back in time when you’re there. We love going downtown, sometimes even bringing Presley doodle along with us, just to walk around and grab ice cream cones. This is such a cheap date, but you get to people watch together and day dream. Ask one another intentional questions. What’s a praise from the week? What’s something you’re struggling with? How is your heart doing?
3. House Looking
This one is something I think I got from my parents, but I love it. Sometimes when Paul and I can’t do a date night, I ask him to just go for a drive. We will go look at houses, areas of the town that maybe we would want to purchase a home or land in the near future. It helps us keep our focus on WHY we are saving up money and keeps our eye on the end goal. It’s so fun to day dream together, and I always feel closer to Paul when we look at homes and plan out the future together. It doesn’t cost money to call a realtor and look at the inside of cute houses for sale either. 😉 I dare you to go look at a mansion WAY out of your budget just because.
4. Go Play a Sport Together
Paul is REALLY into basketball. He isn’t very good (shhh don’t tell him I said that) but he does really enjoy shooting hoops. A good way for us to connect and have fun together is going to play some kind of sport together like shooting hoops, kicking a soccer ball, or throwing a frisbee. Then, of course, I always want a Braums Twist following a good sweat, which is <$2. WINNING.
5. Just Grab a Drink OR COFFEE
Find a place in town that is known for having good beers on tap, an extensive wine list, or great mixed drinks. Going to just grab drinks is easily just a $20 date, and gets you out of the house, talking, people watching, and having fun.
If drinks aren’t your thing, go out for coffee in the morning. Paul and I recently have gotten into going out to breakfast together at a local diner in McKinney on the square. We get eggs, toast, and coffee for about $10 each, and it’s a good way to start our day. It’s also been the ONLY time we have as of late to be together since we often have opposite schedules or both work late nights a lot of the time.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter WHAT you are doing, but you have to fight for one another. Fight for time together and fight to be on one another’s teams. I get it, sometimes it is hard to be intentional just because of sheer exhaustion. Be exhausted together, though. Figure out what energizes you and keeps you diving deeper into relationship with each other. Likewise, try not to fight over finances. (HA.) We will be the first to say it can be hard. Keep an end goal in mind, though. Talk often about your debt or things you need to pay off, and keep your eye on the prize. Heck, hang up a picture of a dream home on your fridge to keep you focused. You will one day pay off school, that car, that credit card, whatever it might be for you. Being faithful with what you have and the circumstances you’re in, though, will in the end work out in your favor.
What do YOU do for date nights? I would love to hear!
xo- Han + Paul
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah