Where once a date was not a date unless I had makeup, heels and a dress on, we have discovered that our excitement has shifted away from $150 dinners towards a more practical approach at dating. For us having a babysitter usually means the chance to shop minus the screaming child/poop explosions/blood sugar crash that typically comes with a trip into town. Romantic dinners are still one of our favourite things, but generally they happen at home, after our son is in bed, where we can enjoy the process of cooking together, eating slowly, and sometimes even saving cleanup until the morning. Even if we indulge a ton of whims for our dinner at home, we're still more than likely only spending 1/4 of what we would going out.
It's hard to make the time to think about romance and activities together when we're in the routine of life, but I've been realizing how important it really is. We're doing a small group study on the book The Five Love Languages, and the book helpfully revealed to us that I most definitely have the love language of quality time. This means that I most feel loved when I have my husband's undivided attention, through conversation or participating in something together. The study had us as couples come up with a list of activities we want to do together, alternating inexpensive activities with ones that may cost a little more.
Ted and I discovered something we love doing together is house projects. When we turn off distractions and just paint, or sand, or even hang pictures, we're getting the chance to converse, and that feeling of satisfaction after a project has been completed. I think it's so healthy to accomplish something TOGETHER, as a team, but it does take thought.
I took a picture of our latest house project-painting our banister. The activity cost us a can of paint, and our time, but it wasn't time wasted, it was time invested. Not just invested in our home, but in our relationship (Even with Ted's Mom there helping us) . Money well spent.