Date night has always been really important to me and my husband as an opportunity to reconnect, enjoy each other, and keep things spicy. But with the addition of our third child in 2020, plus Covid restrictions, and last year’s cancer treatment, we’ve had to get creative in our date nights. A couple of times a month, we plan an early bedtime for the kiddos and have a date night at home. And while we’ve recently enjoyed going out to dinner again more frequently, we have really come to enjoy date nights in.
One important part of this is to schedule the date night and intentionally plan what we are going to do. It seems simple but I notice a big difference in the vibe of a night where we are just hanging out at home after the kids go to bed, watching tv or talking about our day versus when we actually schedule our date night. I love when my husband adds to our shared calendar “date night” for a specific day of the week. There is something about going into it on purpose that really makes the time together feel like a special date, even though we aren’t going anywhere.
So what do we do for our at-home dates? Sometimes my husband makes us a cocktail and we pick out a movie to watch on the couch (verses just our regular tv show on the laptop in bed). We also enjoy ordering from one of our favorite restaurants: my pick is usually sushi or my husband loves to get ramen. One time this year we got margaritas and fajitas from our favorite nearby Mexican restaurant and watched a comedy sketch. Another fun idea is to play a board game together (with some extra rules if you feel so inclined!) For more inspiration, check out this great list!
But our favorite at-home date is cooking a steak dinner together. After the kids are asleep, we turn on some music, light candles, and cook. I have usually done some prep earlier in the day or while my husband is getting our daughters to bed to make things go a little quicker. We start with an appetizer for us to enjoy while cooking the rest of the meal: quick seared shishito peppers (I get them at Trader Joe’s) dipped in soy sauce or bacon wrapped dates are easy to put together and delicious. We like to do mashed or loaded potatoes and roasted asparagus or a simple green salad. My husband makes his perfect steaks while I throw together a peppercorn sauce. Since we started doing these date nights, my husband has researched the best ways to prepare steak at home and purchased a meat thermometer. He also filled out our bar cart so that it’s easy to mix up a drink. We don’t always have dessert, although my husband has been on a huge Crumbl cookie kick lately, but this last time I made the simple chocolate mouse from this recipe and topped it with toasted crushed hazelnuts and raspberries.
Many times we are wearing lounge clothes, but I also find it adds a touch of romance and fun to the evening if I put on makeup and a cute outfit. It helps me really engage with the idea that this is a date, albeit in our own home. We like to set the table, open some red wine, and linger over dinner with good conversation. I find that in these moments, as we take our time in the quiet of our home, eating a dinner we prepared together, we feel relaxed and at ease. This allows us to delve into a deeper conversation that may allude us in the normal day-to-day.
While I definitely still enjoy getting out of the house and having someone else prepare my meal, we always end these evenings feeling connected and, ahem, satisfied.