Apr 10, 2019
[posted by: Evan]
Break up with your girlfriend, because her date nights make me look bad – new song from Ariana Grande
Sometimes rules help. It took a really long time for me to get on-board with this idea Hannah put forth: DESIGNATED DATE NIGHT. Personally, I hate the idea of being put in a box. I liked to think that when we were dating that I could be spontaneous, unpredictable, and shower her in creative dates. It was something I took pride in. Some of our first dates that I thought of included dorm room olympics, a high stakes ping pong match where the winner got to pick out a thrift shop ensemble for the loser that they had to wear to classes, and more. But after college, without as much time on my hands, I regressed into last minute ideas and just wasn’t wooing her the way I (or she) wanted. After three years of being married, I agreed to give D.D.N. a shot. It’s been the best.
I am in a box, but I have a box to create within! There are never any scheduling conflicts (anyone else??), and it feels like an escape from our week to do something special. The ABCs of Bjorndals are Always Be Celebrating, so it’s actually surprising that we hadn’t started this until last year. I wish we had done this when we were first dating! It’s re-energized the part of me that was so excited to plan a date that would make Hannah feel like one-of-a-kind. It’s been a lesson in gift giving, and it hasn’t broken our budget to have a date once a week.
So, here’s how we do date night:
It doesn’t have to be this often but it should be something you can set the calendar to. When we picked random days for date night, it just didn’t happen.
Time: Friday nights (just pick what works for you)
I look forward to date night like Stanley looks forward to Pretzel Day.
The rules are the rules but if we are going out of town for the weekend or generally, something comes up, we just miss that week. No need to make date night a burden.
Planning: Alternate each week
This part of date night is an excellent opportunity to show selfless love to bae. When it’s your turn, having the chance to plan something the other person would really love is an exercise in unselfish love that I really value. Likewise, it’s an opportunity to share something you love in a planned setting. We used to do something really similar where hannah and I shared our favorite movies with each other when we were dating and it just helped to have a designated, intentional place to share about yourself and learn about the person you’re dating.
Eat in/Eat out?: Alternate each time it’s your turn to plan
Come on, be well rounded. Didn’t your mom teach you how to cook, Chad? Both for budget reasons and creativity, we decided that if the last date I planned was in, this time we go out. Again, it’s just helpful to have a starting place for creativity to grow!
Budget: Roughly $30-50
You’re welcome to adjust this for yourself! On average, we get to do three date nights a month just because stuff comes up. If you already are budgeting around $15-20 for a normal weeknight dinner, this is a small price to pay for the benefits. Also, if the alternative is hanging out in a group on a Friday night, it’s likely a wash in cost.
Deep thought tangent: As a male, fresh college grad, I really struggled with feeling incompetent when it came to dates. We had separate budgets and I thought what hannah wanted was for me to spend money on her to show I cared. It wasn’t until we we were engaged and talking to our pre-marital counselor that I understood what she meant in asking for date nights. What Hannah really wanted was planful, creative love that was just for her. When it comes to dates and gifts, spending more can give the appearance of love (and sometimes it is love). So when thinking about date night, guys especially, consider your thought and care as the value and not the cost in dollars.
At this point, the idea may sound good but planning a creative date night sounds daunting. The Bjorndals are here to help! We are going to be posting date nights we’ve done in the last year that you can recreate! Whether you are dating, engaged, married, or ironically in a civil union with a friend on Facebook, we officially challenge you to try our date nights out!
Once we get several posted on the blog, we will be instituting a Date Night bingo. More to come, but long story short . . . keep a photo from your Bjorndal-inspired date nights for the chance to win a **NEW gift CARd***!!!
Dates shouldn’t just be what you do when you first meet nor just what you eat when you are constipated. Welcome to date night, hold onto your butts.