frugal dates & why you need to date your husband


I’m eating my words.

Last week, in our discussion on distinguishing between needs & wants, I pointed out how date nights are a need for this marriage (& all marriages, for that matter) & how in order to save money it had been suggested that we trade babysitting with another family, & how, hahahaha, I would never do that, because hahahaha, who would seriously watch all of my kids plus theirs??

Well, turns out, I have a friend who actually offered, & so, this past Saturday we did it. And you know what? It was amazing.

Joseph dropped off the kids (minus the baby) & we had a date at home.

For you single or childless friends (or even those of you with just a baby), this may not sound so exciting. But for us, it was like being at a bed & breakfast. No shouting, wrestling, whining, jumping, throwing things down the stairs. Sheesh, my kids sound like monkeys, don’t they? We put on some mood music, ordered takeout, talked (& maybe some other stuff too, but that’s none of your beewax). It was relaxing & fun, & we connected. All for the price of the takeout.

Not having to pay a babysitter really does make a huge difference. And when we picked up our kids, by all accounts they had done really well playing with the other kids. We’ll be watching the couple’s kids this weekend, & I have every expectation it will go swimmingly. And as much as I adore our teenage babysitters (& giving them an opportunity to earn some cash, because, hey, I’ve been there & I know what it’s like to want/need money as a teenager), I also really really love saving money.

Some people wonder why I’m crazy about dates. Like, it’s my soapbox issue. The funny thing is, our dates are not really a big deal. I mean, we don’t do anything too creative or fancy or out of the ordinary. They mostly involve food, & always involve talking & touching.

Which brings me to my main point: why you need to date your husband.

Setting a date, getting ready for the date (like, changing out of those yoga pants & combing your hair, putting on a little lip gloss), & actually going out somewhere, anywhere, makes it a ritual. And the ritual of making time for each other is important for many reasons. Here’s why.

3 reasons why you & your husband need dates:

1) It puts your relationship on the level of: super important. Think back to when you were dating pre-marriage. You wanted to look sexy, you wanted to be coquettish, alluring. I know what it’s like to wear workout clothes all day, to be covered in spit up with not a shred of makeup on my lovely face. It doesn’t feel sexy, it doesn’t feel alluring. So going out on a weekly date gives you every reason & excuse to dress up a little & relive some of those young love days, & you’ll both be the happier for it.

2) You need couple time. Just getting into a space, away from kids, away from work, bills & the day to day will allow both of you to open up, relax, laugh, talk, & reconnect.

3) Every good marriage is created by the little things. Of course going out on a weekly date isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not going to compensate for nagging, disrespect, or neglect in other areas of the marriage. But it is one of those really important pieces to the marriage success puzzle (remember my 5 ways to make a good marriage better post?). Going on dates on a regular (weekly or bi-weekly) basis is one of those things that helps keep the marriage “firm.” Think of it as toning for your love muscles.

So what constitutes a date?

I’ve heard from my nieces that people don’t “date” anymore, they “hang out.” Such a shame. Call me old-fashioned, but I love dressing up & feeling feminine. If you are old-fashioned like me, you know what a date is, but just to refresh our memories, here’s how I would define it. A date is a mutually agreed upon event in the future (ie. requires some planning) that will involve you & your significant other. Other people may be on the periphery, for example, like at a sports game, or even a party. But, the key components are you & your spouse. Dressing up is nice, but not required, especially of course if you’re doing something sporty. But ladies, put your sexy face on & pull out those genteel manners. Your husband will love it.

And on a last note, while we’re talking about sex, oh wait, I guess we weren’t (but now that I mention it, sex ain’t a bad part of the date either!), Meg, over at Meg in Progress has a pretty spectacular post about why she hopes her kids will wait to have sex. (You should read it, especially if you’re a parent.)

Have you ever traded babysitting before? What are you fave frugal dates? What do you think a date is, or should be defined as?

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  1. Allie
    on March 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm said:

    I love this post! I’m the single mom of one and so can’t relate in full to the dating part, its been awhile since have had that on my mind, one day… but your posts like this make me smile as show me a loving romantic marriage can exist, even after kids! It makes me happy to read your blog and see how your family is growing and thriving! Thank you for always being so honest and sharing.

    • Janae Wise
      on March 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm said:

      Ah thanks Allie! Bless your heart for being a single parent. Being a mom is tough no matter what, but kudos to you for doing it on your own. Your kiddo is so lucky to have you. Thanks for taking the time to write me a little note. Makes my day! ox

  2. Marly
    on March 20, 2014 at 9:46 am said:

    Sometimes our “date” nights consist of a bicycle ride up to the local high school’s tennis court. We hit for about an hour or two under the lights in the summer evenings. It’s one reason I’m looking forward to the end of winter! By the way, I love this post and agree completely that date nights are important. It’s easy to get too comfortable and putting the word “date” in front of a thing, makes it feel special…even when you’re ordering in. 😉

    • Janae Wise
      on March 20, 2014 at 10:12 am said:

      “Sometimes our “date” nights consist of a bicycle ride up to the local high school’s tennis court.”
      I love that–that sounds like so much fun! I think I’m going to go buy a tennis racket now 🙂 I love that idea. I would like to do more physical stuff on our dates–but Joseph isn’t crazy about sporty stuff, but he’ll tag along for the ride if I encourage him.

  3. Laurie
    on March 19, 2014 at 10:43 am said:

    Your definition of a date is the same as mine: not the same-old-same-old routine, something fancier. I remember when I was a very small kid that I knew my parents were going out to something special when my dad would lay out a certain shirt (Brown plaid! It was the late 70s.) and my mom would use a certain perfume (Timeless from Avon).

  4. Melissa
    on March 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm said:

    Love this! As a parent of one I’m on the other end where all my friends have more kids (like four) and I’m not sure I could convince them to swap as they’d feel it unfair but holy moley we just want to get out! Or maybe I should say I want to get out as Ammón is content to have home dates for the rest of our life. I’ll have to suggest some swapping and see if we can get something set-up because a lot of our teens are graduating this year and babysitters are soon to become scarce!

    • Janae Wise
      on March 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm said:

      ” Ammón is content to have home dates for the rest of our life.”
      Guys are content to stay at home for dates because they’ve been gone all day. Us stay-at-homers have been home all day so we want to get out. Classic marital dillema. But nothing a little compromise & smart thinking can’t fix 😉

      Hope you can get out soon. I’m sure you’re ready for the cold weather to be over!


  5. Emma
    on March 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm said:

    I’m sure I’ve said this before but I so admire your honesty Janae! I love the idea of a date with your husband and so agree that sometimes it’s nice to dress up, “make an effort” and feel sexy!
    Great article from Meg. Thanks for linking.

  6. April
    on March 18, 2014 at 1:24 pm said:

    We can only get away monthly. Our dates normally run us close to $100. Dinner is usually $30. A movie is $20 and the sitter is close to $50. Even when the weather cooperates (only 6 months out of the year at best) we still spend $75 easy. So we just can’t afford to do it more often. I would really love to hear what stuff you do on a date. We do great w/ frugality (somewhat!) when the weather is nice b/c walks are free! But when it’s cold we *always* fall back on dinner and a movie. Would love to hear what you and others do that is new!

    Also, new to us this year-our resolution-is more home dates. Every weekend we can, we do. I gathered about 30 ideas from pintrest. We take turns secretly picking from a jar and planning the date. We do it after the 2 yr old is in bed and we put the other 2 in front of a movie. So far they’ve been *amazing* and don’t make a peep. We’ve had breakfast in bed and made gnocchi together. Our next home date is in 2 weeks!