The COVID-19 pandemic has affected households in a myriad of ways.
For many, the “new normal” is for both the husband and wife to work from home as their children attend school over the internet. Daily, parents across the nation juggle the obligations of working from home, running the household, refereeing arguments between siblings who are spending way too much time together, and figuring out how to get kids logged back into their Zoom class, all while trying to decipher Common Core math.
It’s enough to make a grown-up cry, and it’s no wonder that even couples who are spending all of their time together are getting no actual “alone” time to focus on their marriage.
And yet “alone” time for couples remains as important now as ever. Simply put, the marital union is the bedrock of the family. When the marital foundation isn’t strong, the entire household is at risk of collapsing.
Fortunately, even couples with the most out-of-sync schedules can refocus on their marriage by heeding the advice that, when it comes to time management, “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
One way to schedule time to refocus on your marriage is to go back to “dating” your spouse.
Date night with your beau can be as budget-friendly or extravagant as you see fit and depending on the COVID-19 restrictions still in place in your area. So do your research to find out what’s open, call up the babysitter, grab your mask and hand sanitizer, and consider these 9 ideas to rekindle the romance between you and your sweetheart.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ridofranz
1. Go Camping
Whether you reserve a spot at a campsite or blow up the air mattress and pitch a tent in the yard, camping is one way to appreciate the outdoors with a measure of privacy.
If you’re at a campsite, bask in God’s creations by observing the wildlife around you, taking a walk in nature at sunset, or getting up early to watch the sunrise over the wooded grounds.
Camping in your own backyard is nothing to thumb your nose at, either, as it offers you the luxury of popping back into your home to pick from the fresh contents of your refrigerator, reheat hot chocolate in your microwave, and use a clean commode as necessary.
Whether camping at a campsite or at home, both locations lend themselves to enjoying the glow of a firepit, doing classic camping activities like roasting S’mores, and stargazing up at the night sky.
2. See a Drive-in Movie
If you’ve never experienced a drive-in movie, now’s the time. You can buy your tickets and concessions online before getting to the outdoor location set up to accommodate drive-in viewings.
As a bonus, many theaters companies operating the drive-ins will deliver your snacks directly to your car upon arrival, or will have a designated area where movie patrons can safely pick up their concessions.
For extra comfort, watch the movie from your truck bed if permissible or lay down the additional seats of your SUV or minivan and pop open the tailgate. Then sit back and enjoy the show!
3. Take Horseback Riding Lessons or Go on Guided Trail Rides
Many horse stables have resumed offering horseback riding lessons and guided trail rides, although some stables are operating on a limited basis and by appointment only.
If this activity intrigues you and your spouse, dress appropriately as you connect with this majestic animal while trotting through sprawling meadows, captivating forests, and gentle hills. Your date will be like a fairytale.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Franciele Cunha
4. Make an Epic Breakfast
Even if neither you nor your partner are exactly known for your culinary prowess, if you can scramble eggs, you can enjoy this activity that’s more about the bonding than the food anyway.
Blast some oldies tunes, pour some mimosas if that's your thing, and plan your morning around making the most important meal of the day as amazing as possible.
There's something about starting the day with a belly full of bacon, pancakes, yogurt parfaits, grits, and orange juice--or any breakfast combo like it--that just gives you a sunnier disposition. And starting the day off with quality time with your spouse--that's even better.
This could be great for a Saturday morning when your kids are still sleeping in from their week of school, or if your work-from-home schedule is flexible enough to make a weekday super special.
5. Join a Wine Club
If the thought of a wine club conjures up images of snooty people sitting at acceptable social distances while swirling and sniffing the wine in their wine glasses before sipping it, you’ve got the wrong idea.
Wine clubs are for people who cringe at the thought of wandering through a liquor store blindly guessing at which bottle of wine to buy for what type of meal.
Enter wine clubs, where you receive a shipment of premium wines that match your tastes on a monthly or quarterly basis. More importantly, each wine delivery is a good reason to put the kids down early or switch on a movie for them to watch while mom and dad enjoy a wine date in the kitchen, lights dimmed.
If alcohol isn't something you and your spouse enjoy together, you could try a special treat subscription box instead. Just Google "yummy snack subscription box"--there are so many to choose from!
6. Spend a Day at the Beach
If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of a beach, grab some sweatshirts and blankets and go snuggle up on the shore if the weather so permits.
There’s something about the crashing waves that stills our worries and gives us perspective. The seeming endlessness of the ocean also prompts heartfelt talks, further nourishing the connection between you and your beloved.
The beach, or more specifically the negative ions the waves create in the air, are scientifically proven to boost your mood, alleviate stress, and even improve symptoms of depression over time (the same as other sources of moving water, like waterfalls or rainstorms). What a gift from God!
No matter what time of year or what the weather is, the beach is still an amazing place to connect with yourself, each other, and God.
7. Head to the Boardwalk at Night
What your idea of a boardwalk is depends on the part of the country you’re from. Some boardwalks boast scenic walks, boutique shopping, and oceanfront restaurants, while others offer up thrilling amusement park rides, flashy games, and cheap eats along a long stretch of sandy coastline
Whatever your preference, a night at the boardwalk is a popular pick for couples looking for lighthearted, outdoor fun with a side of funnel cake and lemonade.
And if your boardwalk has some sort of Ferris wheel, extra bonus! A socially distanced way to experience something carefree and breathtaking with your partner--something that never gets old.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages
8. Plan a Romantic Weekend Getaway
Now that travel and guest accommodations are open again, you can keep safety in mind and snag a travel deal as you plan a romantic couple’s getaway.
Romantic destinations in the United States include: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; Hocking Hills, Ohio; Sedona, Arizona; and Napa Valley, California.
From sightseeing to hot air ballooning, wine tasting to hiking, amorous adventures await couples in need of a weekend getaway. Check your destination’s local websites for a listing of what’s open and what the COVID-19 protocols are.
9. Snuggle on the Couch and Bond Over Quality TV
For the lowkey couple who can’t get away or are dog-tired by the end of the day, picking a show to watch together is a great way to reconnect in the comfort of your own home.
Finding a show to watch that piques your and your spouse’s interest may take a bit of effort, but there certainly is no shortage of genres to choose from! For clean but binge-worthy shows to watch that range from crime and family dramas to sci-fi and cooking shows, check out this curated list of contenders for your viewing pleasure.
Pick a show that you both will love to watch together on a regular basis, commit to putting the kids to bed at a reasonable time, and look forward to "you" time at the end of every day.
In the midst of everything else going on in your life and the world around you, make a commitment today to prioritize your marriage and schedule alone time with your husband or wife.
You and your spouse, and your family around you, can only benefit from the recentered priorities and the revitalized romance!
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Julentto Photography
Originally published Thursday, 08 October 2020.