When it comes to romance, you don’t have to break the bank to nurture your relationship. Sure, it would be great if my husband and I could whisk off to Paris at a moments notice, but that’s never going to be our story. We are a blessed family, but we are not a financially rich family. Finding the time, energy, and funds to have fun in marriage can be a challenge. Below are some ideas to help you find romance in all the cheap places.
Before we get to the list, I would suggest making a few commitments:
- Commit to dating. Spending quality time together is not optional. Go on a date once a week. Whether you find a babysitter and go out, or stay in for a “date-at-eight” after the kids are in bed, you and your spouse need to spend kid-free time together.
- Commit to conversation. It’s perfectly fine to talk about your kids on a date, but don’t JUST talk about your kids. You and your spouse also need kid-free conversations. Talk about your goals, your God moments, your grateful moments, your happy moments, your favorite couple moments and your dreams. (Note: I did not include talking about your frustrations or complaints. Date nights are about reconnecting and having fun.)
- Commit to kindness. No fighting on date night. If you hate how he drives, you can’t complain about it on date night. If he hates how it takes you forever to get ready, he can’t complain about it on date night. No fighting means, NO FIGHTING. Be polite, be kind, and use the same manners on your date that you used when you were trying to impress one another.
Now it’s time for the list – 25 ways to be romantic when you’re on a budget:
- Is good babysitting too expensive for you? Organize a childcare swap with a friend. You keep your friend’s kids for free while they go on a date, and they do the same for you.
- Take advantage of a lingerie sale at least once a year. It might be fun to include this little outing as part of your date night.
- Use restaurant coupons. In my life, there is no shame in taking advantage of $2 Taco Tuesday Night at the Rum House in New Orleans.
- Plan stay-at-home dates. Got kids in pre-school? Use some vacation time to hang out while the kids are learning their ABCs. Not an option? No worries. Work together to get those babies in bed on time so the two of you can have a “date-at-eight.”
- Avoid wasting money on $12 greeting cards and give your honey a homemade card instead.
- Go to the dollar movie in your town. We like to ignore the movie and make-out like college students.
- Plan an at-home spa night and give each other full-body massages.
- Create a romantic playlist and enjoy a much-needed break from the musical offerings of the Wiggles and the Imagination Movers.
- Dance in the kitchen.
- Send a romantic text everyday.
- Cook a romantic meal together and eat it by candlelight once the kids are in bed.
- Keep a running list of why you are thankful for your spouse.
- Spend an evening test-driving new cars.
- Save money by eating dinner at home before you head out for a night on the town. Splurge on dessert.
- Get your money’s worth out of that bouncy house you rented for your kid’s birthday party by playing on it after the kids are in bed.
- Lie on a blanket in the backyard and watch shooting stars.
- Play a game together that has nothing to do with candy or ladders.
- Watch your wedding video.
- Take cute couple selfies and post them. #relationshipgoals
- Volunteer for something you are both passionate about.
- Snuggle together and watch a romantic comedy. No recliners allowed on date night unless you are both sitting in it!
- Toilet paper a friend’s house and blame it on another set of friends. (Note: Don’t blame it on the friends who are watching your kids. They have an alibi).
- Use a Groupon and try something new.
- Hold hands and walk down a sparkly street in your town.
- Get good use out of your zoo/aquarium membership by going without your kids.
If you and your husband feel more like roommates than lovers; if relational distance has become your norm and romance feels awkward; it’s time to give your marriage some attention. Healthy couples make time for fun. All you need is a little bit of bravery to push through the barriers, and before you know it, you’re test driving a convertible and singing, “Little Red Corvette,” at the top of your lungs.
Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived. Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo.