Project Joy // No. 4

Let’s talk about love in the time of Corona. It’s different—but not impossible—to keep the romance alive while housebound. Date nights are pretty much limited to your home once the kids are asleep, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be special and beautiful. The key is just to be intentional—put away the phones, get dressed up (or at least leave the holey sweatpants in the drawer for tonight), and be present with one another.

One quick note, though, before we dive into our list of beautiful at-home date nights—alone time is just as important to the health of a relationship as together time is. Make sure you and your partner are getting plenty of it (and it’s hard to come by these days!). I like to take 20-30 minutes after the kids go to bed to be alone, catch my breath, and transition from Mom–mode to Me–mode, and my husband and I have at least one or two nights a week where we opt to not hang out together.

Here’s a list of after-the-kids-go-to-bed stay-at-home date night ideas:

1. Romantic dinner for two: Order take-out from a fancy restaurant (one of you can go pick it up while the other gets the kids to bed), get dressed up, and enjoy a meal by candlelight. 
2. Movie night: Set the scene. Make popcorn, dim the lights, pile on the cozy blankets, and snuggle on the couch. You can even take it out to the back yard or make it a theme night!
3. Game night: Yummy snacks and a little friendly competition? Count me in! Here’s a list of the best two-player board games out there, and a list of two-player card games you can play with a standard deck of cards.
4. Creative cocktails: Get dressed up, make a romantic “quarantunes” playlist, and try some new recipes, like this Quarantini ;)
5. Camping date: Set up a fort or tent, indoors or out, and roast marshmallows (or make oven s’mores). Bonus points for twinkle lights and stargazing!
6. Culture club: Read a book together and discuss over wine. Paint together. Take a virtual tour of a museum or other attraction. (This would be a great one to do as part of the next idea…)
7. Around-the-world staycation: Relive your honeymoon in Paris with wine, cheese, and a screening of Midnight in Paris, or get inspired by that Mexico trip you were planning (you know, the one you had to cancel?) with margaritas, tacos, and Like Water for Chocolate. (PS—this would make for a fun evening with the kiddos, too! Think Ratatouille and Coco instead of the grownup films.)

    8. Spa night: Massages, facials, fluffy robes, soothing music, and bubbly!
    9. Get moving: Yake a virtual dance class (our photographer Maddie and her husband love Just Dance on the Nintendo Switch), or try a couples’ yoga class. Studies show that trying new things together can improve relationship quality and increase passion!
    10. Have a picnic: There are so many different ways to do this—out in the backyard, in the living room by candlelight, on the front porch or balcony. You can pick a theme, if you like, or have a cook-off a la Iron Chef using whatever random stuff you have in your pantry. You could always do a blindfolded taste-testing, too…

    11. Plan for the future: Times can feel pretty heavy right now, and it’s easy to fall into a fear trap. Make a point to dream about the things you want to do when you’re not stuck at home for weeks on end. Make a couples’ or family bucket list, a travel bucket list, or plan a dream vacation (even if it’s just a pretend one). Connect with hope and creativity and see what happens!

    12. Bonus date: Coffee and snuggles in bed before the kids wake up in the morning. One of the best!

    What are your favorite stay-at-home date nights? We’d love to hear from you!

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