Being married for 10 years can have its challenges especially when it comes to avoiding predictability. For many of us the real issue is carving out the time. Finding a moment just for ourselves is difficult enough which is why it's so easy to fall into patterned behavior with our significant others. To be honest, for a long time my husband and I didn't do much more then go out to diner, see a movie or veg out on the couch. We started to notice that our work week resembled our weekends in terms of routine. Tell me if this sounds familiar, one of us would walk the dog, cook and eat dinner, eventually making our way to the couch to partake in a marathon of DVR. Don't get me wrong I'm a self-proclaimed television lover and proud of it but even I was getting frustrated with myself and my husband. I decided that if I wanted a break from the monotony I needed to get creative. So I challenged my husband to find something for us to do that didn't involve dinner, a movie or television. In return, I would come up with my own ideas and each week we would do one of them. What I learned was even a simple idea that didn't involve going out could be a fun way to change it up. It was also important that we stayed within budget so that we could continue this couples trend indefinitely. Remember to think outside the box and don't be afraid to try something new. Here are a few of my suggestions for couples dates that have become our staples. We try to add new ideas every few months or whatever something that interests us comes up. Please feel free to share some of your ideas. I'd love to hear them:
1. A night of music
Find a local restaurant or bar that has live music. Many cities have small venues popping up that cater to all types of musical tastes. Try searching Facebook events and use the filters to find music near you. My favorite thing to do is find a restaurant that has a piano player or jazz singer and order a drink at the bar. It keeps the cost down but creates a super romantic atmosphere. I'll often follow my favorite places on Facebook so that I get weekly event updates.
When was the last time you went bowling? I promise it's not just for kids birthdays. It's one of those activities that always brings out my competitive side. The atmosphere of a bowling alley lends itself to having fun. Often we end up teasing each other over who bowls better or who can't bowl at all. It's one of those overlooked date options that we end up doing more times than I'd like to admit.
3. Have a picnic
Why not wrap up that dinner and take it outside. Grab a blanket, some silverware and eat dinner while watching a sunset. I find this idea so overlooked because it's so simple. If your lucky enough to live by a park then just head out and pick your perfect spot. Take the time to talk and enjoy the beautiful summer weather while being surrounded by trees and other greenery. It costs nothing except the food you were going to eat indoors anyway. All you're doing here is changing the setting.
4. Take a boardwalk stroll
This is a new one for us but one I really enjoy. Exercise is important to both me and my husband. We wanted to find something that incorporated walking but wasn't the same old hike. We live about 30 minutes from Long Beach, Long Island so a boardwalk stroll seemed like a nice alternative. Bring some snacks or maybe find a café near by to sip lattes after you finish the walk. Nothing relaxes me more than being near the ocean which makes this a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or early evening.
5. Game night
Have you seen the variety of games that exist now. I'm not talking about the ones on your tablet but the ones that come in a box. Everything from classics like Monopoly to new versions of old favorites like Jenga Quake. For more updated classics check out this link to Pop Sugar's post 10 Classic Board Games: Then and Now. This might also be a great time to break out that game of twister hiding in the back of your closet. The original is still fun but if you're so inclined Hasbro has also updated that game as well.
6. Visit a farmers market
Summer is here and with that comes farmers markets overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables. Why not find one in your area and enjoy a nice weekend smelling and tasting all the markets have to offer. After visiting the market take your bounty home and make dinner together. Pop a bottle of wine, light some candles and enjoy a great meal together. To find a local farmers market near you check out Local Harvest.