If you’re like most couples, you might have found yourself chained to the same old, same old. And that same old, same old is usually dinner and a movie. At home. In your PJs. Maybe you get fancy and order out. But probably not.
The repetition is comforting and friendly. And really, at the end of a crazy busy week, it’s really nice to be able to crash with your favorite person and just be.
But it can also feel stifling and a little (OK, OK, – a lot) boring after some time. It can feel…stagnant.
And that’s never a good place for a relationship to be.
Remember when you didn’t just let Netflix roll until its Box of Shame popped up and mockingly asked if you were still watching. (Why, yes, yes you still were.)
Remember when romance was fun and exciting?
Remember when you looked forward to Friday night – and not just because you could sleep in on Saturday?
It’s time to be that gal or guy again. It’s time to nurture your relationship and brush away some of the dust and cobwebs.
This week is the week that you and your lover will create a date night schedule and budget as part of NextGen MilSpouse’s You Got This: 52 Challenges to Make 2016 Your Bitch.
Week 5 Challenge: Date Night Schedule and Budget
Challenge Details: Your relationship is important. It needs to be taken care of. And yes, going on a date is actually important to the health of your relationship. This week, create a monthly date night budget for you and your main squeeze. Create a list of activities you’d like to do together, price them out and figure out what you can make work for your budget. Then, go have fun and reignite some passion.
Your Deadline: February 8
Bonus points if you snap a photo of you and your spouse working on your date night budget, schedule or list of date night ideas. Don’t forget to post it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #2016IsMyBitch.
Not sure exactly how to get this ball rolling? That’s OK. Let’s go through it together.
- Going on a date is about fun. It’s about excitement. It’s about shared experiences. Sit down with your partner and write out a list of fun activities that you’d love to do together. Have you wanted to go rock climbing? Listen to a band at your favorite bar? Learn how to cook together? Maybe there’s a new restaurant that you’re dying to try. Maybe there’s a festival in your town that you’d love to check out. Whatever the activities are, write them down and have fun imagining all of the cool stuff you two can do together.
- Time to look at your actual budget now. How much can you (safely) allocate to your date night budget every month? If you’ve got kids and need a babysitter, don’t forget that you’ll need to figure that into your budget too. There might be incidentals you want to watch out for too – candy or popcorn at a movie theater, taxes and tip at a restaurant, that extra beer at a hockey game.
- Based on the money you have allocated for your date night budget and the kind of activities you want to try out, plan out your budget for the month. Break it down by cost so that you know there’s enough in your budget for each activity. Set it up so that it makes sense to you and your partner and so it’s not a burden on your family. After all, you won’t have a good time on the date if you’re feeling financial pressure because of it.
- Set some dates. Really. I know you live with him (or her) but ask your partner to get out their calendar and put those date nights into both of your calendars so that they’re “real.” I don’t know about your family, but in mine, if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. Putting it on both of your calendars also puts the date night on your radars. It makes it important. It makes it something to look forward to. It’ll be a lot harder to push it off until “another time.”
- Go have fun and feel good knowing that the money you’re spending on the date night has been set aside and budgeted for.
Need some creative solutions?
Seek out free or discounted opportunities in your community (both on- and off-base). If you live in an area with a university or public museums and parks, that’s always a great place to start. Don’t forget to take advantage of military appreciation programs (like Blue Star Museums) or buy discounted tickets at your base’s ITT office.
When it comes to the costs of a babysitter, maybe you can alternate child care duties and date night fun with another trusted couple. Or inquire about the Give Parents a Break nights at your military installation’s child development center and youth center.