One of my favorite mental exercises is to picture what the evening routines of other people might be. I do this not only because I write about self-care and living a balanced lifestyle but because I am also genuinely curious as to how people spend their time. While we all may have common elements in our jobs such as sending emails or having to attend meetings, there is enough variation in the daytime hours that it can be hard to pinpoint what society collectively is doing from 9-5. Evenings though are considered ‘free’ time for a great deal of the population and if popular culture would have you believe folks are either training for half marathons or doing some deep couch sitting, binge watching their favorite TV shows.
If you were an alien who popped into my household on any given weeknight, you would likely not see a whole lot of variation from day to day. While there is definitely a comfort with having well-worn routines that one can easily plug into, this doesn’t necessarily translate into a whole lot of excitement when it comes to relationships. My husband and I have been together for close to a decade and because we both work full-time, including weekends, the evenings are the only time we have to spend together on a semi-regular basis. After so many years, the invariable cycle of making and then eating dinner, watching some TV together and in my household, me answering emails or catching up on work while he plays video games next to me can certainly feel less than inspired. This is why spontaneous weeknight date nights have been such a breath of fresh air.
Weeknight date nights were born out of the desire to take a break from cooking, but also as a chance to get away and spend more quality time with one another where we are solely focused on the other person. These have replaced our previous strategy of ordering takeout or pizza which still inevitably landed us in front of the TV for far longer than I would have liked.
We keep it really simple and only go out to places that are in our immediate neighborhood, which has the added bonus of getting us to explore our town. This has really been the key in making these excursions a success because we’re much more likely to get out of the house if we know we’re going to reach our destination in a matter of minutes. There’s a casual aspect to it as well which makes it much less high stakes than when we have our regular date nights where we have to make reservations or you end up waiting 45 minutes to get a table because the restaurant is now trending on Yelp. It becomes so much more about the company and just completely relaxing than what wine pairs well with the fish.
We went to a Mexican restaurant last Wednesday, and although we were only gone for about an hour, the rest of the evening just felt that much more relaxed and pleasurable (the margaritas helped). More than anything else it gives us something to look forward to that isn’t at the end of the week. While we’re not going to stop planning fancier dinners and excursions any time soon, there is something to be said for having a little reward in the middle of the week as you look longingly ahead towards the weekend and with your partner to boot.
What is your favorite date night idea?