April’s Goals: Go on 4 Date Nights. Strengthen relationships with people we love. Have fun. Connect.
Here’s the game plan:
Week 1: Date Night out. Do something new (must be new to all people involved)
Week 2: Date Night at home (Plan a special meal and decorate the table)
Week 3: Date Night outside (activity or picnic)
Week 4: Movie Night (in or at the theater)
Take mindfulness into our relationships
We spent the month of March working on Alone Time–refueling ourselves so that we can come back to our families recharged and ready to connect. We made time for ourselves now let’s make time for loved ones.
Date Night doesn’t have to look like a married couple going out on a date. It can look like drinks after work with a coworker or friend you admire. It can be with your mom, sister, dad, grandpa, husband, wife, partner, good friends, siblings, parents, or even our kids. You can choose the same person each week or different people. It can be one on one or the whole family. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Need childcare? Refer back to your list from March of people who can help watch the kids. Check out your calendar. Schedule babysitters. Make Date Night happen!
Date Night is about fun as much as it’s about connection. It’s about feeling good in our relationships and about what we bring to and receive from them. Make this month’s dates special: get dressed up, choose themes, make reservations, write special cards or love notes, send funny or loving texts to your date to let them know you’re excited, put stickers on the calendar or doodle hearts in your journal—this is a month to bring out all the details. It’s the attention to detail that can turn just going out to dinner or watching a movie into a “date.”
By the end of April, my hope is that you’ll have 4 dates under your belt, lists of ideas for future Date Nights, feel reconnected with loved ones, and had fun!
April Week 1: Something New
This week is about shaking things up! Go out and do something new—something that is new to both of you (or all of you, if you’re doing a family Date Night). Choose a new restaurant you’ve never tried, go to a new side of town, visit a park you’ve always driven past & never stopped, try an activity you haven’t tried before. Doing something new to both parties levels the playing field while pushing us out of our everyday comfort zones…which, as a mom, can look like a rut from time to time.
It’s my anniversary week, so I’m choosing my husband for this Date Night challenge. We are creatures of habit for our anniversary. We have always gone back to the Lavender Farm where we got married or eat at Mama’s Fish House where we had lunch on day 1 of our marriage. But this year we are choosing the something new challenge and heading to a restaurant in South Maui that neither one of us has ever visited. (Just the idea of changing things up has us nervous and excited).
Bring your loved ones in on it
Let them know about the Date Night challenge this month. Say out loud that you love them and want to spend more one on one time with them. Choose the same person or a someone new each week. It could be marriage month or not. April’s topic is more about fostering relationships with people we love and/or admire.
List who. Who will you choose? Call them, text, make face to face plans. Reach out today to see who is available & when, start scheduling childcare, etc.
Write down the who, what, when, where, etc. for each potential Date Night. Busy lives require pre-planning, especially when others are involved. Look at your calendar for the month. Block out dates/times for possible Date Nights. Schedule a sitter or mom swap. Today is about setting ourselves up for success.
Think about the person/people you chose
What was it like the day you met them? Do you remember? Write about your first impressions, any details you remember about that day, how you felt, etc. Write them down as a way of honoring that memory. Take it further: let that person know you’re thinking about this memory. Text or mention it.
What’s your favorite thing about your date(s)?
What do you admire about them? Why did you choose them?
April is about fostering our relationships and investing time, thoughts, and energy into people we love. This can happen outside of the scheduled Date Night. Take today’s journaling a step further…tell them what you admire (today or in a note for this week’s Date Night).
What do YOU offer them?
How are you a good friend to your date? Relationships are about give and take—it’s healthy to acknowledge what you bring to the table. Take some time today to write about what you bring to your relationship.
Make lists of “new” places, restaurants, and activities you would like to try in the future. Bring your date in on the brainstorm.
Write about your Date Night this week. Include details, your feelings, etc. Did the newness of your Date Night bring a ‘newness’ to your relationship, even for the just the date? Were you satisfied or disappointed with the date? What was good? What wasn’t? What did you bring to the table…tired? stressed? expectations? a positive attitude? Write about it.
April Week 2: Date Night at Home!
This week is all about making the every day special.
If you haven’t already, pick the day and time for an at home Date Night this week. Organize schedules. Envision the table: a tablecloth, flowers, special china, a theme, place cards at the table, a handwritten letter on each plate, take out, a unique recipe, or your date’s favorite home cooked meal, wine…any of these work. Think about what details you would like to see unfold the day of the date. Write out the details. Take note of what needs to be ready ahead of time so you are not scrambling the day of.
When was the last time you spent quality time with this person? What did you do? What made it special?
What does an ideal date look like for you? Flowers? Wine? Private jet to Italy? Dream away, Mama. Write it all out. Let your creativity flow.
Date Night is about setting all the daily distractions to the side and making space to focus on your date. Write down your main distractions. Cell phone? Work? Kids? Exhaustion? An unresolved problem? This month’s Date Nights aren’t about solving problems, but having fun and reconnecting with what you love and admire about your chosen date.
Ask friends about their favorite date nights! Talk about ones they’ve been on or ones they hope to go on. Write down ideas that sound appealing.
Action: Offer to watch someone else’s kids so they can have a Date Night. Spread the reconnection vibe. Or encourage your spouse or partner to go reconnect with someone. Make space for them to spend quality time with someone they admire.
For me, this ended up being my husband going on a weekend camping trip with his friends. He’s been talking about it for years and totally appreciated that I helped make the space for it to finally happen. (And there’s nothing that says I can’t host a moms night in with our kiddos the night our partners are camping…)
Take your brainstorming further
Take a few minutes to make lists of potential date nights now that you can refer back to later. Write lists, pin ideas, pull out old recipes or jot down meal ideas. Ask your family or potential dates what they would like to do/eat. Write them down so you have a quick reference for when you’re too tired to think of creative ideas.
Write out the details from this week’s dinner in. What went well? What didn’t? What would you do the same or different?
April Week 3: Date Night…Outside!
Being outside can be the literal and figurative “breath of fresh air” we often need. This week’s outside Date Night can look as involved as horseback riding or a long hike…or as simple as a stroll in the park or a picnic in your own yard.
Choose the location, food, activity…the who, what, when, where. Make plans. Hire the sitter. Set yourself up for success. Write it all down.
When was the last time you spent quality time outside? Write about it.
How do you handle moments when things don’t go according to plan? This week’s outside Date Night means there’s a wild card involved: weather. Do you avoid scheduling outside activities because of this factor?
Research and list outdoor activities, spaces for picnics, etc. for future reference. Write down the ones that interest you the most. Is there a place for campfires? Cycling? Hiking trails? A public pool? Pond or lake? Fishing opportunities? Motorcycle rental? Water sports? Get creative!
Brainstorm Yes, more brainstorms today!
Research venues in your area. Write them all down—from big arenas to restaurants that host music nights. Join their social media groups or sign up for their newsletter to see what shows or events are coming up. Are there ones you’d be willing to drive to? Fly to?
Journal about a concert you’ve been to and/or write about one you’d like to go see. Set a date night goal to go see a show when you get the chance. Setting even simple goals can often provide the motivation you need to start setting aside the time, money, and desire you need to make it happen.
Write down all the details of this week’s outdoor Date Night. Really focus on what went well.
April Week 4: Movie Night!
This week’s date can be a movie out or a special Movie Night in. (Movie Night in can look special and not just a regular flop in front of the tv kind on any given Tuesday kind of night. Make it special—pick the movie ahead of time).
Pick a date, time, & show. Write down the supplies you’ll need: popcorn, wine, sparkling water, etc. Choose who: family date night or romantic date? Double date even? Schedule a sitter if needed.
When was the last time you watched a movie without checking your phone? Try to let go of a big, common distraction—our phones—and focus on quieting our distracted minds long enough to enjoy a movie start to finish and the company of our date(s).
Question of the Day
What’s your favorite movie? What’s your partner’s favorite movie? Your kids’? Your best friend’s? Your mom’s? Curiosity can be an expression of love—a lot of people like to be asked questions about themselves. Make the question of the day “What’s Your Favorite Movie?” Write down the various answers you get throughout the day.
Make movie lists with family and friends of movies you’d like to take time to see. Include genres.
Get out of town
Movie week aside, make a list of Mini Road Trip ideas! Is there a destination near you you’d like to road trip to? Write down some possibilities, start writing down and researching how to make it a possibility. Day trips can be affordable and exhilarating.
Let’s look at distractions again. Did any new ones creep up during the month? Write about them. Are there some you’d like to try and cut out? Some that surprised you? Distractions interfere with our connections. Thinking and writing about them is a great first step to doing something about them—time to put our relationships first.
This day is super fun! As this week’s reflection, write a movie review together with your date! Give it stars or tomatoes. Include favorite parts, funniest parts, favorite characters, etc.
At the end of each month, there will most likely be a bonus day or two. The first one will always, always be a Thank You Day. Text your date(s) or write them a special note letting them know you appreciated the date. Text the sitter or friend who watched the kids and express your gratitude. A simple thank you can go a long way.
How are you feeling at the end of Date Night month? Would you like to make Date Night a regular habit? Write about your new Date Night goals: how often you’d like to go out or have a special night in, challenges you’ll need to work through, ways to have more fun with loved ones. Highlight what went well this month. Write down how or if your feelings toward your date(s) have changed or shifted.
We worked on connecting during this month’s Date Nights…now we’re going to strengthen that connection through communication during the month of May. May is all about non-verbal communication and verbal communication using two simple strategies: making more eye contact and asking questions. Check back tomorrow for the start of May’s journal prompts!