It’s no secret that times are tough, but that doesn’t necessarily mean date night should join the casualties of tough economic times. In fact, I think when times are tough, it’s even more important to take time to maintain strong emotional connections with the ones you love. The question is: how?
The answer: Turn date night inside out. Date night doesn’t have to be about going out and spending lots of money. You don’t have to go somewhere fancy. What’s important is that you connect, and connection happens from the inside out.
Even if you’re dating someone new, you don’t have to break the bank to make a great connection. Here are my top five ways to have an amazing night without losing your shirt (unless the losing the shirt thing is intentional and consensual!)
1. Spend time in nature. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a national park or otherwise amazing terrain somewhere near where you live. Pack a light picnic lunch and go explore!
2. Make a fancy dinner at home. There are lots of great recipes online, and many of them are surprisingly easy to make. Light some candles and set the table with the fancy napkins and placements (C’mon, you know you have them somewhere!). If you have children or it’s a first date, make it a lunch to lessen either the cost of a babysitter or the evening date expectations.
3. Have a spa night at home. I wouldn’t recommend this for a first date, but it’s delightful for a couple who’s been together for awhile. Spa night can be as simple as rubbing each other’s hands, feet, and backs. You can get fancy with epsom salts and essential oil to soak in the tub. Some essential oils that increase sexual arousal include clary sage, ylang ylang, rose, and sandalwood. Key components: low lights, soft music, and no distractions. Just focus on the scents and sensations.
4. Volunteer together. There’s something magical about stepping outside your own troubles to make you appreciate the good things in your life. Connecting with another person while you help others less fortunate creates a strong bond. I still remember the first time I did this with my partner nearly twenty years ago. We felt so grateful for what we had and so blessed to be able to share with others. Talk about increasing the emotional connection!
5. Play a game of “Remember when?” This is another great game for couples who have been together for a long time. After awhile, we can sometimes forget why we got together in the first place. The game is simple: You each remember and talk about the first time you saw each other, the first time you met, your first date, the first time you made love, and anything else that comes to mind and makes you remember the good things about your relationship.
Honestly, setting your intention to increase your connection will make it happen. Set your intention to connect over a Netflix movie and a bowl of popcorn, and you’ll find yourself sitting closer together and talking about the movie. These five suggestions are just a place to start. Have fun!