Dating After Kids: Couples Connect with Fun

Once you’ve become a parent, planning a date can often feel like more work than it’s worth. It can seem like those eagerly anticipated dates of early courtship become fewer and farther between as your relationship matures. However, the more often you orchestrate one-on-one time, the easier it gets. It just might be the key to keeping a relationship solid. Consider playing hooky for an afternoon date that could make it all the more exciting – saving money on the babysitter and keeping kids’ evening schedules intact.

Experts say strong relationships depend on partners regularly finding time to connect, share dreams, be intimate and have fun as a twosome. Doing new things together can rekindle the attraction you felt in the early stages of your relationship. In The Date Night Opportunity, a publication of the National Marriage Project, sociologist Brad Wilcox notes, “Couples who engage in novel activities that are fun, active or otherwise stimulating – from hiking to dancing to travel to card games – enjoy higher levels of relationship quality.”

Here are some ideas to rev up your precious one-on-one time and get out of the dinner and a movie rut:

Have a meeting of the minds. Attend a lecture by a favorite writer or visit a natural history exhibit. Science and art museums often sponsor adult-oriented events. Taking a class in art or literature as a couple can provide new fodder for discussion. Or develop a new skill you can practice together, such as ballroom dancing or archery. Community colleges and recreation centers have low-cost offerings for adults – everything from basketry to rock climbing to woodworking.

Hunt for treasure. Whose heart doesn’t quicken at the prospect of unearthing a hidden prize? Geocaching is a way to let your inner explorer shine and some caches are specifically designated “romantic.” Get started with a GPS-enabled phone (or other personal GPS device). Online geocaching sites provide info for beginners, as well as descriptions and GPS coordinates for “treasure” caches. Try http://www.opencaching.com or http://www.geocaching.com.

Focus on friendly competition. Some all-in-good-fun rivalry can be a great diversion from the daily grind. Sweat it out on the racquetball court. Shoot a game of pool at the local rec center, knock down some pins at the bowling alley, or pick your tiles for an afternoon-long Scrabble match. Just choose something you won’t take too seriously. Need a little something to compete for? Let the winner choose a lunch venue. Whether BBQ or bistro, it’ll taste like a blue ribbon meal.

Cook up your creativity. The search for novel food can be a delicious adventure. Find some food carts and try an unfamiliar cuisine. Or gather ingredients together and cook in, tasting each other’s delectable creations as you go along.

Be a good sport. Catch an afternoon game and cheer your favorite pro team to victory. A sunny afternoon with classic ballpark foods just might add up to a great deal more fun and memories than your usual dinner out on the town.  

Dates with Pizazz

Outdoorsy

  • Horseback riding
  • Tandem bicycle riding
  • Canoe on a nearby lake
  • Paddle boarding, kayaking, or pedal boating
  • Playground (swing, teeter-totter, be playful…)

Educational

  • Tandem book reading in a new bookstore
  • Visit a science museum or art gallery
  • Classes (cooking, tango, yoga, tai chi…)
  • Check out a library book for local history & lore, then take an architectural tour

Adventuresome

  • Geocaching
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Karaoke night as a duet
  • His & hers scavenger hunt
  • Dreamy
  • Helicopter ride
  • Test drive a dream car
  • House hunt for future ideas

Romantic

  • Visit a hot spring
  • Hike to a waterfall
  • Tour a brewery or winery
  • Go formal to North State Symphony
  • Couple’s massage or spa day

Make Ordinary Fun

  • Go antiquing
  • Play a board game
  • Use your stash of gift cards
  • Dinner & dancing to live music
  • Workout followed by a gym sauna session
  • Symbolic thrift shop gifts
  • Schedule a photo shoot & take a break from the selfies
  • Bowling
Ashley Talmadge
About Ashley Talmadge

​Ashley Talmadge has always shared her home with a variety of companion animals. Currently her family includes two opinionated cats and two aquatic frogs. Her two young sons like to think of themselves as "cat mind readers."

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