So you’ve worked your way up to no kids for a full day! What to do? Here are five semi-local date ideas for those of you that live in the Chicagoland area.
1. Southwest Michigan Wine Country – Our favorite stop is the Round Barn Winery for not only their wine but their vodkas and gourmet vinegars. Spend the day stopping by St. Julian’s, Tabor Hill, Lemon Creek and Round Barn. End your visit to Harbor County and have an upscale meal at Timothy’s or be a bit more casual at the Red Arrow Roadhouse. Mix up the wine tour with some apple picking as well!
Take the stress and strain out of your date night by following these three simple rules:
Plan Ahead of Time
Date night is important so treat it as such! Many couples will “schedule” a date night, realize the day has snuck up on them, decide they are too tired to leave the house and spend the evening watching re-runs of Two and a Half Men after canceling the babysitter. Don’t let this happen. Date Night can be as therapeutic as a Swedish massage. You wouldn’t skip that would you?
Mix It Up
Make a point of trying new things; a new restaurant, activity, festival you’ve never been to, etc… You may learn something new about your partner and yourself. On one of our ‘Date Nights’ my husband and I painted three canvases, each taking a turn with the brush. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and hung our new artwork in our foyer. It makes a great story for guests that compliment the piece and we had so much fun creating it.
Don’t Watch Your Wallet (too much)
Again, ‘Date Night’ is quite often therapeutic, long overdue and much needed. If you spend too much time worrying about the money you are spending on your date or on your sitter, you are likely to lose some of the sparkle of the evening. If you need to watch your spending, find a friend that can babysit, maybe you can offer to swap nights… pack a picnic and play Frisbee in the park. Just make it happen.
“What do you want to do tonight?”
“I don’t know, what ever you want to do.”
“I want to do what you want.”
“I don’t want to make a decision.”
Sometimes making a decision can be a passive-aggressive tug-of-war for a married couple who are trying to balance the needs of the other, themselves, and even just fighting the doldrums of doing the same thing because it’s “what we always do.”
Date Nights can be planned as a couple, or at least discussed as a couple, but they don’t have to be that way. Many of us find that the best way to get some variety is to take turns planning (and even paying for) your date nights.
This gives an opportunity to inflect more of “you” into your choice of entertainment or meal (or no meal). Let your date learn and more deeply understand what you like, not just revisit what works for you as a couple. Sharing your interests and even finding new interests together is the ultimate goal here.
Taking turns makes it fair and spreads out the responsibility. You never want date night to be avoided, feared, or a hassle. Plan in advance, get reservations and know that you’re free to enjoy your spouse without worry of managing the next date.
Fear giving up some control? Don’t worry, your week is next.
Okay, enough aimlessly wandering around the internet trying to figure out what to do to re-kindle your married relationships. A Date Night, or regular married couple’s commitment to spend quality time with each other, doesn’t have to be complicated or obtrusive and should absolutely, positively be fun every time.
How do you make sure this happens? Follow the Date Night Chicago rules:
Keep it simple. You’re not trying to set the record for most amazing date ever (there is no “most shocking rose ceremony ever” afterward). Your plans should work to only enhance the natural chemistry you and your spouse already have. If you’re planning an extravagant and elaborate itinerary you’re more likely to be caught up in the idea of the date and not tuning in to your spouse.
Commit to a schedule. Date Night needs to be consistent. Your variety will be in the meals, entertainment and events that you choose; not the days or dates. It will be far easier for those with busy social lives or a history of double-booking to not have to check a calendar when scheduling other activities. Pick a night of the week, once a month, every other week, and so forth, and stick to the commitment.
No distractions. Your focus should be each other and along with keeping things simple you’ll want to turn off that television, put the crackberry on silent, leave the children with a sitter and forget about your jobs and housework for the night.
Enjoy each other. It sounds obvious, but as you’re salivating over the best meal ever, cheerfully red-cheeked and pouring just one more glass of wine, do not forget that you should be filling yourself on the love of your spouse and drinking in all the wonderful things that made you say “I do” in the first place.
Date Night Chicago
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