Lisa posted in response to my Peace, Quiet and the American Way post about how she and her husband make Friday night 'date night'.
Interestingly, we do this too. Friday night for us, is sacred time. All too often, our dates are at home - we're gone enough during the week that home is very appealing by Friday evening - and usually involve nothing more dramatic than dinner, a movie, a fire in the woodstove and perhaps a bottle of inexpensive wine. It allows us to decompress and reconnect. Sometimes it's enough downtime. Weekends like our last one, it is not. But it is one of the wisest decisions we've ever made, booking that time together.
No projects are done, no house cleaning, no emails are checked, nothing. We sometimes even leave the dishes and kitchen cleanup until the next morning. This is sometimes hard for me to do, as I am a neat freak. But it's worth it to just sit and be together.
About once a month we go out and have a nice dinner together, but overall we really enjoy the peace and quiet of our family room on Fridays. I might try a new recipe from one of my cookbooks, or make a homemade pizza. In no way do we ever feel deprived by not going out. Quite the contrary, we look forward to our evenings.
My picture of what constitutes a date has changed over the years. I used to enjoy going out to great restaurants each weekend, or the movies, or both. I still enjoy both of those activities, but I tend to prefer to make them a treat. And I want a deal, if possible.
For example, this weekend, my husband and I plan to go see Iron Man. We've waited until the two week moratorium on discount tickets is over, because those tickets cost $6.50, not $10.50. We might see 4-5 movies a year in the theater, and when we do, we try to get a discounted price.
The same with our favorite restaurants. We save them up for a treat. One of our favorite spots, that we enjoy only on special occasions, is quite pricey, but the large portions provide us leftovers, and the have a 'BYOB' policy. Finding a place that will cork wine you have brought is far cheaper than purchasing it by the glass.
I think date nights are a good investment in our marriage, in our life, and even for our finances. When I am happy and relaxed, I don't feel like buying something as a stress alleviator. It gives us time to talk about the things going on in our lives, and make good decisions.
In short, a date night, even one spent 'out' is, in my opinion, a good spend.