By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
With all the current uncertainty in our world, tight quarters, and high emotions, there is more opportunity for conflict as we are spending weeks at home with our spouses and children.
Instituting “at home” quarantine date nights is one way to break that tension and help stay on the same page as we navigate this pandemic and all the unexpected stress it has brought into our lives.
It is a chance to relax, unwind, and reconnect amidst this trying time.
If you have kids in your home, a true “Date Night” at home may take a little extra planning and creativity on your part.
You’ve gotta get those kids to bed a little earlier and reserve some of your energy for some late night fun. This is one advantage of having no plans for the foreseeable future; if you are up late with your spouse trying to enjoy one another, there is no shame in planning to allow some morning cartoon time the next day to help give you the chance to recover from a later evening.
Your kids are getting more one-on-one time than ever before through this forced change in routine--don’t forget your spouse deserves love and attention too.
Here are 10 simple ideas (some common and some uncommon) for quarantine dates that will refocus your time and energy.
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1. The Classic Popcorn & Movie Night
If your go-to date night includes going out to see the latest movie in theaters, bring that tradition home. Choose a movie you’ve been looking forward to seeing and after the kids go to bed snuggle up together for a relaxing evening at home on the couch.
Make some yummy, buttery popcorn, gather your favorite candies to share, and enjoy some downtime together.
Because theaters are currently shut down, some studios have chosen to make their movies available early through streaming services (like Emma, Portrait, and Just Mercy)—so you can make your popcorn and movie night extra special with this perk!
And if you’re looking for more movie ideas, check out: 10 Family-Friendly Movies to Watch While Stuck Home Together and Stuck at Home? 20 Hopeful Movies to Watch During the Coronavirus Quarantine
2. Trivia Night
Who doesn’t love a good competitive round of trivia? Here are a hundred random trivia questions to get you started.
It may be counterintuitive, but somehow competing against one another will bring you both closer. If you are diehard fans of a certain show or franchise, let that be your trivia night theme, and prove who’s the bigger fan.
Make the game interesting by leveraging a prize for the winner. It could be as silly as the winner gets to sleep in one day out of the week, breakfast in bed, or a special baked treat. Be as creative as you can to make trivia night a little more interesting.
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3. Game Night
Pull out those dusty board games and have some fun playing all your childhood favorites with your spouse. Monopoly, Yatzee, Scramble is great if you want to have the chance to talk a little more between turns, or a good old fashion card game.
This is a HUGE list of 2 player card games for you and your spouse to try out. Games help you have something to focus on other than the kids, the news, and what’s going on at work. They provide a chance to laugh together and reminisce about how these games fit into your childhood.
Connect on game night through laughter and a little friendly competition.
4. Late Night Dinner Date
One way to make dinner feel a little more intimate is to hold off eating together until after the kids are fed and in bed. Then prepare a special “grown up” meal with some of your favorite foods to enjoy together.
Cooking together without your kids underfoot is a great way to unwind and get your creative juices flowing. Once dinner is prepared, get out those fancy dishes, light some candles, and take your time eating together in your home.
Leave the dishes till morning and just for the evening pretend a wait staff is gonna take care of the mess for you.
Focus on the Family has a great list of conversation starters if you are having trouble finding things to talk about that aren’t centered on our world’s current crisis. Set this time apart to learn more about one another.
If this is the first time being home during the day together, you could talk about the ways you’ve seen each other shine or learned to appreciate each other in a new way through this change in routine.
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5. Epic Video Game Battle
This one will likely get your husband the most excited!
I am so bad at all video games but sometimes my lack of ability adds to the fun. You guys can spend the time laughing at your obvious lack of talent.
If you're both gamers, then you probably already have favorites that you enjoy playing together. If you are a video game beginner, let your spouse show you the ropes of a new game. It will be encouraging that you’re taking a genuine interest in something that they love.
We have a Wii U and simple games like Mario Kart or Wii Sports are great fun to try out as a gaming newbie.
6. At Home Paint Night
If you enjoy a more hands-on and creative project gather up some art supplies to make something fabulous together.
Painting Parties is just one of several online painting classes you could try out together. If you have a local paint-your-own pottery studio around that is offering To-Go Kits, these usually include the paint and supplies you would need to paint the piece of pottery you’ve selected.
But even if you can’t find a local pottery shop that is offering, pick up some wood pieces and paint the next time you brave the grocery store.
Clear the kitchen table and take some time together to create something lovely in the midst of the chaos. Choose something that is going to inspire hope for the future that you can display in your home, or use on a daily basis like “his” and “her” mugs from a pottery shop.
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7. Exercise Together
Thankfully Spring is here! Could you imagine being stuck home in the dead of winter?
The chirping birds and sunny days are a gracious gift when our entertainment and socialization opportunities are limited. Take advantage of the lovely weather and take a long walk together. If you have younger kids strap them in the stroller and let nature be their babysitter while you walk and talk.
If your kids are older, let them bike ahead so you are able to converse or if they are mature enough to leave home while you stroll your neighborhood, let them babysit so you can get your steps in together.
Try an online yoga class together. Yoga With Adriene offers free online classes for all ability levels. The stretching and mindfulness are a wonderful way to melt off some of the stress that this ordeal has brought into our lives.
If you're a more avid fitness fan, set up a HIIT circuit in the backyard to tackle together or design a no equipment Crossfit workout to complete together at home. Releasing these endorphins together are a great way to inspire a bit more joy in your marriage.
8. Dessert Night
If you're not into exercise for endorphins, then why not try chocolate! Find a local Bakery to pick up takeout from and hide it away until after bedtime.
If you guys enjoy baking, then choose something new to try making together and then enjoy the spoils of your work once the kids are asleep. Dessert can always be combined with any other the above suggestions (except maybe exercising together) to enhance an already fun night in.
If the weather is great, up the romance and make this “Dessert Night” into a romantic backyard picnic. Snuggle up on a blanket together to enjoy your cake and count the stars.
The fresh air and night sky provide all the romantic ambiance that you need!
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9. Pray and Worship Together
Technology has been a wonderful tool to help believers across the world continue to be able to virtually meet while we are quarantined. Tuning in live on a Sunday morning may be a little more challenging with kids running around.
One option is to wait till the evening hours to view the service and afterward, reflect and pray together as a response to the word given.
One thing this ordeal has made so evident is our lack of control over our own lives. God is the only one that can help us through this difficult season. Only He numbers our days.
Spending extra time devoted to seeking God and learning more about who He is can help bring hope to your marriage through this uncertain time.
10. Complete a Puzzle Together
Choose a puzzle to complete together. Puzzles are a nice relaxing activity that you can work on while still carrying on a conversation. A nice addition to working on your puzzle would be a handmade charcuterie board.
Pick up your favorite cheese, meats, fruit, and crackers for a delicious spread to snack on while you unwind together. Choose some lovely relaxing background tunes and the scene is set for a lovely romantic evening at home.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Don’t neglect to encourage your spouse as we walk through this difficult season. It can be easy to think outside our homes and see the ways others are suffering but somehow still even though we are literally stuck home neglect the person who you share a room with.
This is a chance to do more than press pause on our commitments; it’s a chance to invest in our love for each other in a fresh way. Dedicate some of this time home to loving each other better so our homes emerge from the quarantine stronger and healthier than ever.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
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