Marriage Counseling: Cheap Date Nights

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

There is a conversation between Harry and Jess who are married male friends in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” during a football game in which one of them says to the other, “I got married so I could stop dating”. Too often we are under the same assumption that once you are married you do not need to date your spouse. After all, dating is work and it requires your time, energy, focus, money, a fun plan and a good attitude. And when you are married, you already know the good, the bad and the ugly so why go through all that effort?


Why? Because your spouse deserves to see the best of you and to see the person they fell in love with in the beginning. This is what helps to keep a marriage interesting and adds spice to your relationship. However one of the biggest objections to dating your spouse again especially in this economy is the cost. So to help your relationship out, here are some favorite cheap date nights.


Matinee movies – Who said your date needed to be at night? Many movie theatres offer discounts for early movies, if you look hard enough you might be able to find movies for under $5.00.

Breakfast out instead of dinner – Generally speaking, eating breakfast out instead of dinner is far less expensive and can be just as enjoyable.

Library movies – You can borrow movies and TV shows for free at your local library. Just purchase the popcorn, candy and drinks at a grocery store and you can have your date night at home.

Go to the airport, mall, or local attraction to people watch – This can be a fun activity as you can sit and watch others go on their way, making up stories about their lives just for fun.

Purchase special bath soaps and massage oils – Do a little reading about how to give a good massage and exchange massages with each other. Do not forget a fragrant candle to enhance the mood.

Free outdoor concerts – Most cities have free outdoor concerts that you can enjoy the atmosphere even if the music is not up to your taste.

Picnic at the park – Pack a picnic basket and go to a local park for an enjoyable time together. Taking a walk afterwards is a nice touch.

Be a tourist – Find a tourist activity in your town or city that you have not done and spend some time there. Often, there are discounts for residents.

Flea market shopping – Walking around a flea market and look at the fun and interesting items that are for sale. Sample some of the local food for a change of pace.

Walk or bike around the neighborhood – Just getting out of the house and walking or riding down a different street than your normal route can help to change up things.

Appetizer/desert meal – Make a meal out of a shared appetizer and desert instead of opting for the more expensive entree. This can be a great way to try out a new restaurant or sample food at a more expensive one.

Night out with friends – Some of the best dates are nights when you go over to a friend’s house and hang out with a couple of other married couples. The entertainment is often your conversation and everyone pitches in with a different part of the meal.

There is one idea for each month of the year, so you can at least begin with one date per month and increase your dates to once a week. The extra effort in dating your spouse even on a budget will in the long run improve your marriage though shared experiences and help you to remember the things which first attracted you to each other.


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"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

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