I love going out, enjoying a nice meal at a restaurant, and enjoying a play or film.
But guys, movie theaters give me migraines. My food allergies make eating out nearly impossible - even before taking budget into account. And then between my deafness, my aspergers and my fibromyalgia, over-simulation is a real barrier to leaving the house for extended periods of time, even when I'm having a good day!
And then I married an introvert. After working all day, the last thing he wants to do is leave the house.
So for us, keeping the romance in our marriage alive is more about connecting over the small things than fancy date nights. Being intentional about the relationship pays off, even in the smallest of ways. However, you don't see many lists for "how to have an introverted/allergen friendly/fibromyalgia appropriate date" so I thought I'd write one of my own.
Here are some ways Nathan and I intentionally create special moments to connect and grow our marriage:
Out and About
- Going grocery shopping together. I can't drive right now, so either Nathan shops alone or a friend shops for us. When we DO make it to the store together, it's a BIG DEAL. We really love Trader Joe's because it's budget friendly, and being so small it is a) predictable (not so overstimulating) and b) short!
- Going to Home Depot together. Since we bought a house, Home Depot has been a really fun excursion for us. We have to spend the money anyhow, so we might as well have fun doing it. Figuring out how to spruce up our home together is pretty exciting!
- Going used book shopping together. We live pretty close to a used bookstore and we love popping over there for an hour or so - especially when they're having a sale!
- Going to a community production together. We have a lot of friends that do theater, so it's not about options, it's about taking in a show at a time when a) I'm well, b) we can afford it, and c) there isn't anything else going on!
- Value car time together. When we're in the car, we talk. Sometimes we're quiet, of course, but some of our most interesting philosophical conversations have happened when we're on the road!
- Watching stuff together. Like most couples, we have our shows that we watch together, and we make a point to connect over them and discuss them together. Because I can't do movie theaters, Nathan always waits to watch everything with me when it comes out on DVD, and we will often try to make some special food for something really big (like Star Wars!).
- Playing games together. Hobby games have exploded this decade, so that there's something for everyone! Nathan tends to like more complicated games than I do, so we often compromise on just what game we are playing (i.e. I pick the game and he is happy to have someone playing with him). We are both pretty into Catan, although we also love Pathfinder: Skulls and Shakles, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic.
- Writing together. We've done short stories where I'll start and pass to him, and he'll start another one at the same time and pass back to me, and we do this until we're tired of writing. OR we both work on our own projects, but in the same room.
- Relax together. This works especially well when you have a hammock and it takes a little planning to take it outside and take a break from everything else!
- Enjoying take-out together. Because of dietary and budget restrictions, we make about 99% of our food from scratch (except noodles, chips and condiments). However, every now and then my sensitivities fluctuate enough for us to enjoy a chipolte together - even if we have to enjoy it at home! I tell you any meal I don't have to cook is a treat indeed!!!
- Join a small group together. For us, this is our weekly RPG game that we host. Planning it and discussing characters together is a regular point of connection and fun for us - especially RPing scenes with just our characters in between group sessions!
- Make music together. We both love music, and, rather magically, our vocal range and tone complement each other perfectly. I prefer to lead the music, and Nathan prefers to follow, so we make a good team and neither of us are shy about singing together. (Indeed, I make up random songs all the time and Nathan either teases me about it, or provides impromtu percussion in the background...)
- Pray together. If you are religious, I must say that praying together (and FOR one another) is one of the biggest things you can do to grow your marriage. It's not just about connecting with each other - but it's about connecting to the source of LIFE together.
There are other things I dream about doing, but we just don't have the time for. I think of watching Tai Chi or ballroom dancing videos together and learning those moves. I hope someday we will actually write a book together. If my health gets to a better point, we'd probably enjoy going to a Farmer's Market together, or game nights hosted by our friends.
What are your stay-at-home date night favorites?