Both because of work and because of the kids, I don’t get to spend as much quality time with my wife as I would prefer. And, even if we did have more free time, our tight monthly budget does make date nights outside of the house a rare occurrence.
A couple months ago, I decided to bring a bit more romance back into our daily routines by making candlelight dinners at home. This isn’t something we do on a weekly basis. However, it is something I’m able to fit into our schedules at least 2 or 3 times a month.
More importantly, even though it is something I do on a regular basis, my wife still appreciates these dinners every time we have them. And, I credit that to a few extra steps I always take.
The first thing I do is make an actual date out of it. Rather than try to surprise her with dinner (which would be hard to do in our small house anyway), I take the time to invite her to have dinner with me. It’s a small gesture but it goes a long way. She’s even gotten dressed up (like she would on an actual date) just to have dinner at our kitchen table.
The second thing I do is plan dinner for a time when the kids are in bed. Candlelight dinners for two don’t mean much if you have kids running around and screaming in the next room (or same room). So, I always plan on having dinner slightly later than we normally do. The only exception is I will usually serve some sort of appetizer earlier in the evening so we don’t get too hungry.
One thing I always do is make sure to cook the dinner from scratch. These dinners are special occasions and making a frozen dinner from a box just doesn’t cut it. However, that doesn’t mean I always make complicated dinners. I do like to experiment on occasion but, depending on how much time I actually have, I have also settled for a simple pot of spaghetti with some wine.
Another trick I learned some time ago is the candles themselves make a big difference. Every time I plan one of these dinners, I make a trip to Dollar Tree or some other store and buy a different set of candles to use. Different candles give off different kinds of light and (if you buy scented candles) different smells. It’s an inexpensive way to change the atmosphere of the room so it’s slightly different each time (much like if you ate at different restaurants).
The last and most important thing I do is make sure the kitchen gets cleaned up. My wife and I usually share the cleaning anyway but if there’s a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, I know she’ll spend the entire dinner wondering if she’ll be the one who gets stuck washing them. So, to avoid this, I make sure to wash up as many dishes as possible and also clean up any spills. Again, it’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
Even though my wife and I do still prefer to get out of the house on occasion, these candlelight dinners and the extra effort I put into them do help keep the romance in our marriage. If you don’t get to have date nights very often because of the lack of time or money, I recommend giving this a try.