Affordable ways to enjoy date nights

5 Affordable Date Nights

by Perry P. Perkins

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Someone once said that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. Life can get (and usually does get) crazy with jobs and chores and other responsibilities, and sometimes it can be easy to put off date nights with your sweetheart until next month, or the month after that, or... You get the idea.

Here are five quick, simple, and inexpensive dates that can get you some one-on-one time with your better half. To slightly rephrase another famous old sage, "When Mama's happy, everyone's happy."

1. Go for Coffee

This is a great date for a free morning or afternoon, and you can never go wrong with a cup of fresh brewed coffee. Take along an old photo album (to spark conversation) or a deck of cards, but leave the daily planners in the car. This is a date, not a business meeting.

Now, I like Starbucks as much as the next guy, but for a more romantic getaway, find a locally owned coffee-bar with some comfy couches, local art, and atmosphere.

2. Go Bowling

A great idea if you're either a decent bowler, or a couple who can laugh at themselves. Call ahead to your local bowling alley and find out when lanes are available (league bowling often gets the lion's share of the weekends) and if they have discount nights.

If you want to avoid screaming teenagers and disco lights, check and make sure that your time slot isn't devoted to "glow bowl."

Also, check you local newspaper, there are often 2-for-1 coupons for non-league nights.

3. Mini Golf

Mini golf isn't just for the kids, but for kids of all ages. Again, if you're not a master of the green, show up with a comfortable pair of shoes and a good sense of humor.

If you tend to be the competitive sort (as my wife and I are), here's a little trick to keep the date fun for everyone. Only use one golf ball for the both of you, and take turns putting. On each green, one of you gets the first shot and the other gets the second shot, etc.

If you must compete, make a deal. The one with the higher score (labeling someone "loser" isn't usually conducive to a great date) at the end of the game gets to pick where you go to dinner.

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4. Discount Movies

During the weeknights you can often find a smaller theater in your area that is playing second-run or even classic movies for as little as a three bucks a ticket. At that price, you can even afford to share a bag of popcorn!

5. Picnic in the Park

This is one of my all-time favorites, as it requires little to no planning and almost no funds. Pick a local park (or hiking trail or library), swing through your favorite fast-food restaurant, and order off the dollar menu. Then walk until you find an empty picnic table or a shady spot with a view and enjoy a distraction-free dinner.

Frequent date nights are an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse and keeping that spark of romance alive. After all, date nights are how you ended up married in the first place, right?

Perry Perkins is the Portland Fatherhood Examiner.

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