Date Night.

It’s a magical phrase that makes people happy. It’s freeing. It’s exiting. It really makes married people with kids happiest. There’s just something about being able to forget about reality for a little bit, leave the kids at home, and just enjoy your spouse without yelling, whining, and food throwing (at least not from the kids). No need for mac n cheese and chicken finger menus (though this is not bad). No need to worry about a place being ultra casual and super loud. You can almost pretend that it’s 10 years ago and you’re still courting and trying to win her over. It’s a great respite and a walk down memory lane. It’s also the best way to keep your marriage in good working order. You need to be with each other, without the kids. Even if it’s just for a few hours every once in a while.

So…get a little dressed up, spring your plans on your wife as a big surprise, and head out to experience some cool things that are different than your ordinary. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something she will love. Make some cool memories. Keep your marriage popping…

Visit a local fruit orchard or farm and pick your own fruit or vegetables

  • I’m all about this. I’m not a farmer. I’m not a hunter. I’m not a big “outdoorsy” type of person, but I love the outdoors. I love farms. I love vineyards. I love farm stands and local food. With local farms, “u-pick” fruits and veggies, and wine tastings, you can have it all. Gorgeous settings, great fresh food, good drink, and really nice times. It’s fun with kids, but it’s a whole other experience with just your spouse. Find a B&B and make it a really nice “staycation.”

Paint together

  • Take a class. Get out of your comfort zone. Make something you will both remember forever. There are tons of options…local community centers, colleges, or businesses dedicated to the effort. Muse Paintbar opened up by me and it offers food and drink to add even more to the unique experience.

Get a couples massage

  • I know, it may be a bit cliche, but let’s be honest…it’s pretty sweet. A good massage in general is awesome. Get over your shyness and let it go. It’s a great experience. Couple that with having one with your love right next to you…it’s even better. Go to a local place, and it you can get it done outside (by a beach…hello) at the same time, you have yourself a real winner. Spas, hotels, and resorts are obvious sources, but you can also check out local listings for private massages and massage therapists. Live a little, spanky…

Go to laser tag or shoot some zombies

  • This is fun. Hopefully your lady will be into it. It’s different. It’s childish. It can be gory and “manly” but that’s the point. It’s different, it’s something your wife probably hasn’t done ever (or at least since she was 8). My wife, and this is a huge plus, loves zombies…so I got us tickets for this…NY Zombie Apoloalyse. Straight dope.

Dinner and a movie

  • How boring can you get, right? Please…this must be a copy/paste mistake. Well, friends…it’s not. This is classic and “overdone” for a reason…it works. No kids means good date. Period. Good food and drink is about as good as it gets. Throw in a good movie with some dark room hand holding. It’s a good night. Period. Don’t think it’s played out because it’s not. Trust me.

Take a cooking class

  • A shared experience is always a good time. If you’re like me and don’t cook, your wife will really appreciate your taking the time out to learn something. Even if you both know that you will never cook the recipes you’re learning, it doesn’t matter. She will love it, she will love that you are doing it, and in the end, you will likely have a pretty good time, too.

Visit a local food hall/market and pig out

  • Food halls are all the rage in NYC these days and for good reason. It’s like a mall food court on steroids, will all the hottest, local foodie goodness all smashed into pone pretty package. You get to try so many different meals and enjoy them in a well designed, casual setting. You can literally spend hours there and not even mind. Every major city in America seems to have a couple of great places to check out. Give it a shot…you won’t be disappointed. Here are just a few “best of links.” Travel + Leisure, The Daily Meal, Fodor’s, Bon Appetit.

Have a date night at home

  • What’s better than the comfort of your home? The comfort of your home with just you and the wife. Send the kids to grandmas and make everyone happy! The kids think they are on vacation (dessert for dinner anyone), the grandparents will be thrilled (sure, now they love to spoil kids), and you will have a grand old time. Make it a themed night…Italian night maybe? Get comfy and cozy and enjoy your time alone in your own home. It’s such a foreign concept, but it’s so easy…and you literally feel like you’re away on vacation. Sounds crazy…but give it a try.

Remember, Date Night is important for you but it’s most likely a LOT more important to her…so get on it. You’ll thank me in the morning, tiger.

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