Category Archives: love + marriage

15 Affordable Summer Date Nights

15 Affordable Summer Date Nights

Dusty and I have date night pretty much every Friday night. I remind myself often not only how lucky we are that we get this on a weekly basis, but also how important it is for our marriage. Keeping our marriage first is the foundation of a healthy family. I know that this isn’t a reality for everybody all of the time; however, summer is such a fun time to have date nights and there are so many options of things to do without breaking the bank! Here are 20 affordable summer date ideas to do out and about or at home after the little one(s) go to bed! Be sure to check your local paper or website for fun activities in your area. In the summer, lots of towns have fun free events.

1. Go on a walk in a beautiful park or in your neighborhood

2. Play mini golf (you can normally find coupons in the paper or online)

3. Check your local summer events. Sometimes they offer free movies in the park or local outdoor bands. We just went to a local car show and showing of Cars last week in the field of a nearby church.

4. Check online for free concerts in your area. We have an orchard down the road that does free concerts every Friday and Saturday night!

5. Outdoor picnic – Grab your favorites at the deli counter (like ya know, sushi) and head to the park

6. Head to a nearby drive-in theatre

7. Play arcade games at a local spot. We have an arcade bar that is a blast

8. Go to the zoo (St. Louis Zoo is free!)

9. Go on an ice cream date

10. Day at the pool (We like to raid our neighbors!)

11. Check out local food trucks

12. Go to the driving range or a nighttime golf attraction. TopGolf anyone? We also have a local 9 hole course that is lighted on the weekend after dark that is super cheap!

13. Head to a museum. In St. Louis, most of our art and history museums are free and it’s a great option if the humid is high!

14. Grill out and have friends over for a game night (corn hole and ladder golf anyone?!)

15. Netflix and actually chill! We love digging out old Disney movies on Disney and beige watch them all day.

Photo used by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Cheap or Free Dates Nights in St. Louis

free or cheap date nights  in st. louis, missouri

My husband and I love date nights. Options for date nights in St. Louis are endless; however, many say that they are too costly to do all the time. We try to do one night a week just for us, so we have to be cheap. Here is a list of 20 things that we do to keep our cost low and our date nights constant.

  1. Bowling. My favorite spot is Flamingo Bowl, but really anywhere works. Tropicana Lanes. Pin-Up Bowl. Moolah Lanes. All good.
  2. Take a Hike. Katy Trail State Park, Castlewood State Park, Cliff Cave Park Trails, Grant’s Trail, Laumeier Sculpture Park, and Route 66 State Park are some of our favorites.
  3. See a show. Did you know that the Muny Theater holds spots for each show for free seating? They offer 1500 free seats to every performance of their summer season! Get there early though; the line can get really long and the free tickets can “sell” out fast. Ballpark Village also has summer and winter movie series for free on specific nights throughout the year.
  4. Bookworms. Grab a coffee and explore. My husband and I break off typically at the beginning, find something we like, and find a nook to read together for a bit.
  5. Drive In Theater. Ever been to Skyview Drive In in Belleville, Illinois?! It is so cute and a complete blast from the past! There are a lot of Groupons in the spring time typically as well.
  6. Art Gallery. St. Louis Art Museum. Contemporary Art Museum. Sheldon Museum of Art.
  7. Dine In. Hit up Soulard Farmers Market and buy your cooking options together. Make a night of it. There is nothing more romantic than roaming arm-in-arm through the market together choosing options.
  8. Hit up an international food market. Global Foods Market in the Kirkwood neighborhood is a great place to explore, try new things, and ask questions about food you may have never seen before.
  9. Festivals. International Festival. Irish Festival. Beer Festival. Strawberry Festival. Storytelling Festival. Microfest Beer Festival. Heritage Days. Shakespeare Festival. Greek Festival. Apple Butter Festival… and so many more.
  10. Hang out at a local coffee shop. Mississippi Mud. Sump. Rise. Park Avenue. Coffee Cartel. Mokabe’s. Blueprint. Kayak’s. Foam. The Mud House. Soulard Coffee Garden. So many options.
  11. Plan a picnic. Go to Forest Park. Romp around and explore. Sit at the bottom of Art Hill and talk while overlooking the Grand Basin.
  12. Donut crawl. Start at Strange Donuts, then onto the Donut Stop, the Donut Drive-In, and World’s Fair Donuts. You will be stuffed with delicious goodies by the end of the day.
  13. Stay home and rent a movie. Redbox the evening. Or find an old favorite from your childhood and share it.
  14. Microbrew Hop. Civil Life Brewing CompanyPerennial Artisan AlesSchlafly TaproomUrban Chestnut Brewing Company. There are enough in St. Louis to do this for two plus days…
  15. Root for your favorite team. If you have never been to a St. Louis Cardinal baseball game, you are missing out. But not a baseball fan? Try our hockey team or football team or even soccer!
  16. Go up in the Arch.
  17. Visit the zoo. 18,000 animals from 700 species on 90 acres with no admission charges. Yes please.
  18. Pick your favorite fruit at Eckert’s. Just a bit outside of the city and you can find fresh from the farm tastes! Pick-your-own season in Belleville begins mid-May and ends in October which means whatever is in season is available to pick!
  19. Botanical Gardens.
  20. Tour of Italy on The Hill. The Hill is a neighborhood within St. Louis that has an Italian American majority population, and is home to many Italian restaurants and businesses. Start at one location for appetizers, another for your entree, and another for dessert!

Photo via Joel Marion

the value of dating your bride

the value of dating your bride

There are many of people I know that probably think “I spend time with my spouse; why do we need a date night?” Because it strengthens a relationship, just like when you were dating. There are many of things that a date night isn’t. It is not sitting on the couch, eating dinner, while the laundry is going and both of you are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on your iPhones. It is not running errands to the grocery stores and the post office together. It is not a typical, every-day-of-the-week time spent together.

Date nights are intentional. And to others, it may look like something standard. That’s okay. As long as it is intentionally designed to get to know each other better, spend quality time together, and spend an evening investing in one another. The footprints that date nights leave in our hearts leave an immeasurable positive impact on our marriage for the long run. Did you know that making it a priority to regularly go on dates with your spouse can lead to increased satisfaction in your marriage?

Sometimes it is hard to prioritize. There was a time in our lives that Friday night did not work. We would be all geared to spend Friday night together, and then our friends called. We were competing our time with two things we really enjoyed. It put pressure on our date night to eat really quick, not spend the time investing, and then join our friends. There was also a period of time that Friday nights just got stressful. By the time we managed to get home from work, we would be worn out from the week and hungry. We never could pick on a restaurant or date spot, and ended up in bed by nine both still hungry and angry.

What we have learned now is to identify those times that Friday (or Saturday) date nights are not a part of our season. They just do not work. So they move to Tuesday night. Or Thursday. Or Sunday afternoons. And the intentional time began to flourish again.

There has also been times in our lives that date night did not fit into our budget. At all. The extra night out would just not work. Sometimes this meant going to a cheaper dinner and then skipping an event with friends. Putting each other above our relationships with our friends, which is hard. Super hard. But we both know that the impact is that much greater because we have made a commitment to each other. Other times this meant thinking outside of the box. Picnicing is much cheaper than going out to eat. Free movie night in the city? Hiking? Music festival? Art museum? We are lucky that St. Louis has so many free things to do, especially in the summer. But sometimes it takes thought, enthusiasm and being intentional.

What are your thoughts in dating in marriage? Have you tried it?

photo credit 1