25 Date Ideas to Strengthen Your Family Life
by Becky Harling
My husband, Steve, and I have been married for 43 years. Throughout our marriage, we’ve prioritized going on dates. We’ve also taken our four kids on one-on-one dates. The power of intentional time to focus on each other or on one of our kids has been a huge building block for the closeness of our family.
When seeking a foundation for our family life, Steve and I turned to the book of Proverbs. Written by a man of wisdom, this poetic book is filled with relational wisdom for family life. Our key verses were Proverbs 24:3-4, where Solomon writes, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established, through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Tucked within the three couplets found in these verses are wise principles for family life.
The first is “by wisdom a house is built.” Ah, family life takes so much wisdom, right? One of the wisest choices you can make is to prioritize dates both for you and your spouse and also for you and your kids. When you prioritize intentional time to focus on one another, you strengthen your relationship.
The second couplet is “through understanding it is established.” The idea behind this couplet is of re-establishing something that has been toppled over. When Steve and I experienced tension in our marriage or we were getting annoyed with each other, we knew we needed to re-establish the closeness between us. Intentional dates became a venue for tender conversations to re-establish our intimacy. The same principle held true with our four kids. When we saw that one was struggling or toppled over by big emotions or by the pressures of life, we knew that child needed a date. That child needed one-on-one time where we could focus our attention on simply listening in order to understand the difficulties he was facing.
The final couplet is “through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” As you learn to prioritize dates, you will fill your memory bank with rare and beautiful treasured memories. As Steve and I look back on our 43 years together, we are filled with wonderful memories of rare and beautiful moments we experienced together both with each other and with each of our kids.
What type of dates can you both enjoy and afford?”
Beyond simply going out to dinner, although that’s fun, here are 25 dates that you can enjoy.
Go for a hike. During the summer, spring and fall, hiking is a beautiful way to spend time together. Grab your hiking boots and explore the wonder of God’s creation together.
Visit your local zoo. While you stroll through the zoo, enjoying the animals, you can have amazing conversations.
Build a campfire and make s’mores. Deep conversations often happen best around a campfire. As you snuggle and munch on s’mores, God will knit your hearts together more deeply.
Visit your local bookstore. Get your favorite drink and then each person gets $20 to purchase on a book. Relax and read and simply enjoy being together.
Lie down on your trampoline and star gaze. Most families that I know have a trampoline. They’re great to lie on at night and simply star gaze! The Psalmist wrote that “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).
Go to your favorite coffee shop but bring a board game along. Enjoy the beverage of your choice while playing a board game.
Enjoy a free concert in the park. Many towns have free concerts in the park, particularly in the summer. Take along some favorite snacks and a beverage of choice. Nestle down and enjoy.
If you live near an ocean, go for a long walk on the beach and see how many different seashells you can collect. Then stay to see the sunset.
Take an art class together and enjoy creating something new.
Go to a food truck rally and enjoy sampling all the different cuisine.
Visit an art museum and then go for dessert after.
If you’re up for adventure, go white water rafting or rock climbing or zip lining or bungee jumping.
Enjoy a leisurely game of miniature golf and an ice cream cone.
Many towns have parades for Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas or other holidays. Take in a parade and enjoy the festivities.
Try line dancing and barbecuing for some fun, food and exercise.
Take a cooking class or cake decorating class together.
Go for a bike ride together and be sure to pack a picnic lunch.
Try paddle boarding or canoeing.
Enjoy bowling together or take a ride on a Ferris wheel.
Go out for a fancy dessert and some type of specialty drink.
Take a drive and enjoy the changing leaves together. Stop at different locations and take photos.
Go to a local non-professional sporting event or theater event. Many communities have a youth theater program or an amateur adult theater program.
Rent a go-kart or dune buggy and have fun taking turns driving. Steve and I did this when we were on vacation together. We had so much fun driving through the jungle and even drove through a river. We came back muddy but laughing hysterically!
Visit some antique stores or an antique car show.
Go horseback riding. Steve and I did this when we were on vacation, and it was so relaxing and fun.
Friend, life is too short to not invest in deepening your family relationships. Put in the effort to strengthen your marriage. Some couples say they can’t afford to go on dates. Steve and I say, “We can’t afford not to go on dates!” The same holds true with your kids. Take them out regularly for one-on-one dates and you’ll find that communication improves drastically.