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Staying In When You Need a Night Out

May 2004 – My first trip to Reno: Falling in love with the man & the place that I’d soon call home.

Ten years ago, I entered the new year lonely, scared, and full of dread for what the next 365 days would hold in store for me.  Just a couple weeks later, a visit to a chat room on a boring, sleepless Friday night would change my life forever.  Ten years.  It’s that whole cliche-y thing about feeling like just yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once.

I’ve been feeling a little wistful lately for those early days when it often felt the world began and ended with us as a couple.  These days, life is so much more complicated and jam-packed with constant busyness.

Between the working, the parenting, the errands, and all the rest that goes into everyday life, it’s easy to feel like there’s no time left for the dating.  Add to that a variety of circumstances that often make getting a sitter seem unfeasible, and it’s not uncommon for countless months to go by in between opportunities for an evening out for just the two of us.  If we’re not careful, we easily fall into a slump and suddenly find ourselves staring across the dinner table, missing each other terribly, despite spending everyday together.  Over the past couple of years, Hubster and I have found that a nice little date-night-in can be the perfect answer to the intimate connection we crave squeezed into what works for our life right now.

Curling up together on the couch with some chit-chat and a movie can be great from time to time.  But do it every time, and it can easily start to feeling boring and tired.  This year, it’s time to kick things up a notch, and I thought I’d share some of my tips for an awesome at-home date with your sweetie.

Plan Together (And actually PLAN!):
Just like with any date night, it’s no fun if one person is constantly doing the work of putting the date together.  The majority of the time, we plan together.  It’s fun to spend the days before looking forward to your evening together by working out some details.  Other times, we’ll take turns planning, surprising the other as the date unfolds.

If you need a little inspiration for putting together a great date night, check out my favorite resource, The Dating Divas.  The site is filled with seemingly unending ideas for spicing up any date night, and they have an entire section dedicated to at-home dates.  If you use Pinterest, create a board for tucking away these ideas so you have them all in a handy place when you need them.  Regardless of where you get your inspiration from, do yourselves a big favor and DO spend the time planning.  Settling into the same ol’, same ol’ is much easier when you’re hanging out at home.

Put Away the Distractions:
It’s far easier to let the distractions of everyday life seep in when you’re at home.  Put the cell phones away, turn the ringer off the land line, and let the dishes sit in the sink for the evening (or make sure they’re done before the date starts, if the mess itself will be too distracting).  Just make sure to put away and turn off whatever you need to keep the focus on the two of you.  Also be sure to have a game plan for dealing with the biggest distraction of all…the littlest residents of the house….without putting a damper on your evening.

Let Family Night Kick Off Your Date Night:
Typically, we start date night once Runt is tucked into bed for the night.  At least for now, this works well for us since he is usually in bed by 7:30.  If you’re wanting to get the fun started a little early, why not start the date off with some fun family time?  Family Game Night can transition into a heated two-player game later in the night, or a night of watching your favorite old mob flick can start with a family trip to your favorite Italian restaurant.

Pulling out our wedding glasses and making a fun appetizer makes our traditional Christmas Eve date-night-in feel extra special.

Make It Special:
Get gussied up. Part of the fun of a great date night is taking the time to really look your best for one another.  That doesn’t change simply because the venue is your living room.  Pull out that dress that makes you look fab, spend a little extra time on your hair and makeup, and enjoy that spark in his eye when he is reminded of what a lucky guy he is to have a beautiful woman like you.

Bring your favorite restaurant to you.  Grab a small snack while the kiddos eat dinner, then have your meal together after the date has begun.  Plan for one of you to grab take-out from that new place you’ve been dying to try.  Or put together a great menu inspired by your favorite dinner spot and create some of your favorite dishes at home.  Cooking together can be incredibly intimate and sexy!

Set the mood.  Whether you’re planning an all-out themed date, or a simple romantic evening, pay attention to small details that can set the mood you’re looking for.  Turn on some music, light a few candles, pull out the special occasion dishes.  One of my favorite ways to make our dates feel really special and romantic is to pull out our wedding glasses.  Maybe it’s silly, but something about toasting my hubby with the same glasses we used on that magical day instantly makes the night feel special and reminds me of how powerful the connection we share really is.

Most importantly, just make it a priority to spend some quality time with your honey, on a regular basis!  Don’t let finances, lack of a sitter, or any other circumstances serve as an excuse for not making the time to reconnect.

What’s your favorite way to find some special time for just the two of you amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life?


About Aramelle Wheeler

Aramelle Wheeler is midwestern girl at heart, hailing from Minnesota. Love brought Aramelle to the Reno area after she met a boy online. Nearly a decade later, she still claims to be “new to the area,” but has come to truly love the city that is now her home. She married that boy from the Internet, and together they are raising a spunky, rambunctious three-year old little boy, their miracle baby after a two year infertility fight. After more than two years as a stay-at-home-mom, Aramelle went back to work full-time shortly before her son’s third birthday. Working for a local non-profit organization, she loves her job but looks forward to a time when life can feel a little more balanced than the transition has. She often finds herself wondering whatever happened to the robot maids The Jetsons once promised us. Aramelle spends a lot of her free time with her camera in hand, clicking away snapshots of the life that’s unfolding around her, despite her son’s protests. She and her family enjoy exploring the Reno area in search of new, fun things to experience together. Aramelle loves to write and finds blogging at “One Wheeler’s World” to be a great therapeutic outlet. She also enjoys cooking, watches too much reality TV, and spends far too much time online. Follow along with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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