February is the month that, thanks to Valentine’s Day, is synonymous with love, affection, and date nights. Although there are differing opinions about this holiday, even those of you who believe that Valentine’s Day is a frivolity created by greeting card companies can agree on this: it never hurts to show a little extra love to our loved ones! And we have some fresh, hot-off-the-grill ideas for you, that are sure to bring you and your loves closer.
So, let’s talk about date night. Scheduling, and being intentional about, date nights for you and your partner is a tried and true way to keep your connection strong. But date night doesn’t have to be a big to-do! Research has even proven that the “sweet spot” in terms of how many date nights you should have to see the most benefit, is just once a month. The point isn’t even going out, it’s having intentional time together, so one way to reduce the stress of date planning is to have a date night in! Every month our menu includes one special occasion dish, which makes it the perfect meal for you and your partner to share as a late night (maybe candlelit?) dinner once the kids are off to bed. Or how about hiring a babysitter, and having the kids taken out to a movie or a community event/activity, so you can have the house to yourselves for your date night? Think outside the box! By trying a unique approach that you haven’t done before, you’ll be adding an element of newness to your date night, which definitely helps your bond, especially for couples who’ve been together many years.
Alright, you’ve got your date night in set…now what? You might be in your 40th year together (congrats if that’s the case!) or your first year together. Either way, it can be beneficial to plan fun things for you to discuss over dinner and beyond. Here are some resources to get you started:
- 36questionsinlove.com: the New York Times wrote about this exercise back in 2015 and it has since taken the world (of intimacy) by storm! The concept is simple: mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.
- The Relish App: Using this app. is like having a “personal trainer” for your relationships, although it’s definitely more enjoyable than pushups! You’ll receive a customized plan to work towards your specific goals, and their team of experts will help hold you accountable to make sure you’re following along.
- The Gottman Institute: This organization is a treasure trove of resources for couples. You can sign up for their newsletter for lots of great relationship tips and tricks, attend a local workshop, or even find a couples therapist in your area. On your date night in, try taking the relationship quiz on their website, for a fun test to see how well you know each other.
For you single parents, date night still applies to you! Galentine’s or Palentine’s Day is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday with friends, or just an excuse to get together and enjoy each other’s company. A solo date night is also a beautiful way to celebrate – self love is super important! Pamper and treat yourself, by scheduling time and space to cook yourself a nice meal, maybe pop in a favorite movie, and pour yourself a glass of good wine (tip: see our February wine pairings blog post). Last but certainly not least, you can make “family date night” a thing, too. To make it an extra special meal for everyone, have your family dress up for the occasion, eat by candlelight, use your nicest dishware, and serve the kiddos sparkling cider in wine glasses.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate this Valentine’s Day, we hope you make time to show yourself and your loved ones a little extra love, this month and beyond. We of course are a little biased, and like to think that meal time is the ideal opportunity for this, but when it comes right down to it? Every moment and every day is an opportunity to hold your loved ones closer. From all of us at Dream Dinners, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day and a Happy February!