Have you ever read one of those guides on how to have a creative date? They often portray ambitious scenarios. If your evening requires an up-to-date passport, pilot's license or woodworking skills, it's probably going to feel more like a MacGyver episode than intimate togetherness with your sweetheart. If you're more in the simpler-is-better camp, you might find that the best date you can have with your significant other is one in your very own love nest -- your home.
Not only are romantic events at home convenient, they can be affordable, low-pressure and easy to plan. But if you think they might also be a little on the dull side, think again. When it comes to dating-in, your home can be a blank canvas for any number of creative and romantic moments. From having a picnic in your back yard to turning your living room into a ballroom, you can have the evening (or afternoon) of your dreams without ever getting your car out of the garage. Of course to achieve one of these idyllic dates, you do need to take a few things into consideration. Keep reading, and we'll show you how you can make your dates at home the best you've ever had.
Have a Plan -- and Stick to It
Because your date is at home, it can be tempting to just play it by ear. But by doing so, you may make your special evening an afterthought. For instance, one of you comes home late or gets caught up in chores, and the next thing you know you're postponing your time together -- or just hurrying through the motions. To make sure this doesn't happen, treat your date at home the same way you would one for a special event. If you had tickets for a play, you'd be sure to arrange your schedule around it because you wouldn't want to waste a purchase. Your relationship, however, is much more valuable than a ticket, so show it some respect by honoring your date night at home.
Planning may not be an activity that seems all that sexy or romantic, but if you approach it with the same gusto you did your first dates with your partner, you'll likely find it both exciting and nostalgic.
Our next tip will help you make sure you and your loved one have the evening all to yourselves.
Hire a Babysitter
In the 1980s, pop star George Michael sang that "sex is best when it's one on one." Well, the same can be said for romance. It's hard to gaze lovingly into your partner's eyes when a baby is crying down the hall. And an affectionate embrace can feel somewhat awkward if your father-in-law is rambling around the house. So, regardless of your family situation -- whether you have young children, an elderly parent or a house full of pets living with you -- clear them all out for your special date night. A romantic evening should be couple time only.
Because getting family out of the house can be tricky, it might be wise to plan your date on an evening when you know they'll be gone -- for instance, the night your daughter has a sleepover at her BFF's house or the weekend your in-laws leave for a cruise.
Take advantage of opportunities that arise. And when it comes to your four-legged family members, you don't have to ship them off to doggy camp for a weekend, just let them spend some time in the backyard while you and your honey enjoy some blissfully peaceful romantic time together.
Family members aren't all you'll want to get rid of during your date. Keep reading to find out what else to eliminate.
Picture this: You and your significant other have just enjoyed a delicious dinner. You lower the lighting and put on some slow music. And then ... the phone rings. It's your plumber confirming his appointment to come snake your toilet the next day. Or maybe it's your child's teacher, wanting to discuss your son's grades. Either way, the romantic mood is killed.
To avoid disruptions to your date, turn off any intrusive electronics. Start with adjusting your cell phone -- often the most egregious offender -- to silent. You should also turn down the ringer on your home phone. At the very least, don't answer any incoming calls (or texts!). You can always follow up with someone later that evening or the next day, if necessary. It can also be helpful to let friends and family know ahead of time that you'll be unplugged for the evening [source: The Knot].
While phones are probably the most common distractions, don't forget other possible intrusions. If you live in a suburban area, block out the sounds of weed eaters and leaf blowers by either waiting until the sun goes down for your date or shutting all of your doors and windows. And don't have the TV running unless a movie is a component of your evening.
Your home doesn't have to be noisy to be a distraction. Read our next tip to see what we mean.
Get the House Clean
If you're at home, it's hard not to notice all that needs to be done -- the dishes in the sink, the laundry that's been piled up since last weekend, the bulb in the foyer that needs to be changed and a million other little things. The degree to which you can tolerate such things depends on your personality. You might be able to melt into romance right away when you get home, but your Type A partner wants things just so. Prepare for such a contingency by cleaning the house before date night. Not only can it help transform your environment from an everyday domain into a romantic escape, but it can also provide a foundation for romance by showing your loved one you care [source: The Couple Connection].
So, you want a really special evening with your partner? Pick up the socks, put some fresh linens on the bed and by all means get those dirty dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher.
On the next page is our final tip on having a romantic date at home.
Set the Mood
Some tried-and-true mood enhancers include candlelight, dim lighting, a fire in the fireplace, soft music, rose petals, moonlight, a warm bubble bath and luxurious bedding. Any combination of these can work so long as you select the things you and your sweetie enjoy. Just be prepared to make any necessary accommodations. For example, if one of you is sensitive to strong scents, use unscented candles [source: Rupp]. Or if the other can't stand classical music, go with some old-school R&B. One of the keys of romance is customizing it to your unique needs and desires as a couple.
See the next page for lots more information on dating and romance.
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- The Couple Connection. "Domestic Bliss & Household Chores. (Feb. 18, 2010) http://thecoupleconnection.net/articles/housework-domestic-bliss-household-chores
- Holetzky, Sherry. "Planning Romance." Families.com. (Feb. 18, 2010)http://marriage.families.com/blog/planning-romance
- The Knot. "How to Have a Fabulous Staycation." Oct. 18, 2010. (Feb. 18, 2010)http://ideas.thenest.com/love-and-sex-advice/couple-travel-ideas/articles/how-to-have-a-fabulous-staycation.aspx
- Made Man. Mar. 16, 2010. (Feb. 18, 2010)Mousseau, Jessica. "10 Date Night Ideas for Married Couples with Kids." http://www.mademan.com/mm/10-date-night-ideas-married-couples-kids.html
- The Mom Crowd. "30 Ideas for a Date Night at Home." June 22, 2008. (Feb. 18, 2010)http://www.themomcrowd.com/30-ideas-for-a-date-night-at-home
- Rookie Moms. "6 Date Night Ideas that Don't Require a Babysitter." (Feb. 18, 2010)http://www.rookiemoms.com/6-date-night-ideas-that-dont-require-a-babysitter/
- Rupp, Jacqueline. "Romancing the Room." HomeFurnishings.com. (Feb. 18, 2010)http://www.homefurnishings.com/category/discover/holidays-entertaining/article/romancing-the-room
- Votta, Ray. "Top 10 Romantic Songs." AOL Radio Blog. (Feb. 18, 2010)http://www.aolradioblog.com/2010/02/10/top-romantic-songs/