I recently asked Facebook followers to suggest topics for this summer, and one respondent suggested romantic getaways. To be honest, I’d probably get an “A” in sexual intimacy and a “C” in romantic endeavors.
Thankfully, Moody Publishing offered me a review copy of 52 Uncommon Dates: A Couple’s Adventure Guide for Praying, Playing, and Staying Together. Because a gal like me, and even some of you romantically seasoned folk, could use a resource with fresh ideas for date night — or even date weekend — with your spouse.
Biblically based. I’ve seen date night books before, but what I really liked about this one is how Scripture is interwoven throughout the ideas. There’s a focus scripture at the beginning, questions for relating to one another and to God, and follow-up passages to reinforce biblical understanding and intimate time.
Uncommon ideas. The book boasts that these date are “uncommon,” and indeed they are. For instance, how many of you have bonded over a trip to a cemetery? Or gone apple-picking? Too many of us default to dinner and a movie, or conversing about household tasks and parenting, or — let’s face it — trying to figure out how to skip all that and end up in bed. But a good date night helps you stay connected, grow in intimate knowledge of one another, and keep the spark alive. These uncommon ideas foster exactly that.
Little or lots of planning — your choice. The date ideas are flexible enough to allow you to put a little or a lot of effort into each one. If you’re especially creative or an organized planner, you could really amp up the experience. If you’re more about living on the fly, most of these dates don’t require too much money and effort, and you can simply follow the script and meet with success.
Intentional dating. Intention is key when it comes to continuing to date your spouse. Getting to know one another and enjoying time together shouldn’t end when we say “I do.” Our lives are far more meaningful — and the sex even more intimate — when you’re spending time with someone you know well.
Not every chapter may hook your interest, but with 52 ideas, there’s bound to be some dates you’d like to try and would enjoy. For instance, I’ll share two dates from the book that Spock (my hubby) and I have actually done — one that worked poorly and one that worked well.
Canoeing. Some years ago, Spock and I went to a nearby woodsy resort where you could rent a canoe and head out on the river. We thought that would be fun. However, we did not — as the book wisely suggests — pray or discuss anything beforehand. Instead, we grabbed our life jackets, our paddles, and pushed off into the calm waters.
Now one of us had spent every summer at church camp canoeing and had a reasonable amount of experience in paddling, steering, avoiding or navigating rapids, etc. . . . while the other one thought he was stronger, smarter, and generally better able to command the ship, so to speak. Both of us became frustrated with the other, and by the time we finally pulled back up to the bank, I’m pretty sure I’d had way too many stray thoughts of other ways I could use a canoe paddle.
All that said, it’s a shared memory now. And one we actually laugh about. So was the date a disaster? On one hand, we weren’t exactly falling in love with each other on that river. But on the other hand, we got to know things about one another, we look back with humor at that day, and we could canoe together far more successfully next time. I’d definitely do it again — but following the book’s prescription of better preparation.
Factory tour date. I adore this idea, and it’s been fabulous for us. We’ve toured the Blue Bell Factory in Brenham, Texas. (Don’t know what Blue Bell is? Then you are missing out on some fabulous ice cream!) We’ve toured the Llano winery near Lubbock, Texas. Both were fascinating trips and spurred conversation during and after the date. It was so interesting to see how these products are manufactured, and we learned more about each other based on what intrigued each of us. Of course, we also got to share some wonderful ice cream and a few sips of wine at the end of the tours.
But perhaps the coolest was a private tour. You see, my husband’s work is associated with the space industry (see how well that “Spock” moniker fits!). Due to a project he was working on, we were invited to tour the digs of a space engineering firm and see what they are working on for the future. It was so cool seeing the project in action, feeling the inner pride that my husband was connected to this amazing endeavor, and discussing the experience with him afterward.
Even though we’ve done the tour date before, as soon as I saw it listed in the book, I thought, “Why don’t we do that more often?!” Plus, there were more ideas in the chapter on how to enhance the experience.
You may find inspiration on every page or simply every other chapter, but 52 Uncommon Dates is likely to spur your imagination, motivate your marriage, and lead to some wonderful shared experiences. You’ll build intimacy as you intentionally date your spouse.
Moody Publishing has allowed me to give away one free copy of 52 Uncommon Dates by Randy E. Southern. If you’re interested, please comment below with your best marriage date ever. It can be something you’ve done, or something you’d like to do.
I was given a free copy of 52 Uncommon Dates in exchange for an honest review of the book. My review is my own. The link provided is an Amazon affiliate link, but the book is available from other retailers as well.
Thanks for the comments! The winner of the giveaway copy is Janna McGregor. Congratulations, Janna!
64 thoughts on “Make Date Night a Marriage Adventure”
Honestly, we are terrible at dating. My husband & I are both a little nerdy so we would probably enjoy a tour or even taking a class of some kind together. We did a ballroom class once, and even though we’re not very good dancers it was fun to spend that time together. Thanks for this giveaway.
We have only been married a month (dated 5 years), but we are planning on going go-kart riding this weekend. I think it will be such a nice change from dinner and a movie, and will bring so much laughter and a little friendly competition. My favorite date night we’ve done in the past is one we do at least once in the Fall when it starts cooling off. We grab some hot chocolate and blankets and go out and stargaze. We put away our phones (very important) and just enjoy each other’s company and talk. Definitely relaxing and perfect!
In 2012, for my birthday, my husband and I went out for dinner and then a walking tour with Haunted Walks Ottawa.
Our tour guide led us to different locations around downtown and told spooky stories — including one story that was relatively recent!
No one else took this tour, so we had lots of time to chat with our guide as we walked between sites.
We discovered we share a mutual acquaintance with our tour guide, and that she is quite knowledgeable in Canadian folk songs.
The evening ended on a high note with our guide singing for us (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun 🙂 ).
Interesting! I have a writer friend who believes in ghosts. While I’m a complete skeptic about this kind of stuff, I’ve offered to accompany her on a tour because I’m curious. And I like a good story. 🙂
We have a minor league baseball team in our city so we make a point to go to several games each season ~ Sunday afternoons are our favorite. We eat ballpark food, enjoy the game and time with each other.
Ah, a woman after my own heart! I love me some good baseball. 🙂
The best marriage date my hubby and I have been on was when we took a few days and explored Niagara Falls on both the Canadian and American side. We went on wine tours and many other tours. I had such a blast and can’t wait to do it again. Wine tours are one of our favorite things to do together.
My wife and I volunteer at a local non profit theater. We just greet and take tickets or work the concessions but the evening out is always enjoyable.
I want us to “recreate” our best date that we had as a dating couple. My prom night. My senior prom was perfect…..a ride on the Southern Belle boat, and my date was to be my future husband. I kept trying to get him to dance. He would NOT. Nor did he ever change his mind. So, we ended that ride on the boat with me all mad. On the ride home, there wasn’t a word said. My heart was CRUSHED! Instead of going home, he made a detour. He drove us to a nearby bean field that had been recently cut down, out in the boonies. He parked out in the middle of the field. Turned off the lights, opened the windows, and proceeded to lead out of the car into this field. Meanwhile I am trying to figure out what the heck is going on! He then turns back to the car ( nice tripped out mustang! ) he puts the windows down, and then turns on our favorite song. ( ZZ Top’s ROUGH BOY ) We danced out in that bean field, without a soul to watch, under a full moon. Southern belle ballgown and all. I didnt care if the bottom got dirty! I will never forget that night as long as I live!
( the reason he didn’t dance……his Dad was a preacher and he was taught that dancing was a no-no!.)
Sounds familiar! My fiance and I are waiting until we’re married to dance–we’re both looking forward to it! And since we’re country folks, I see some ‘field dancing’ in our future! 🙂 When we first met I never would have thought that he would dance, since he is very straitlaced and reserved like that. But now that we’re engaged he told me that there just had never before been a girl he wanted to dance with, and he wants to once we’re married. How sweet is that?! 🙂
It’s so hard to pick just one favorite date, but the first one that came to mind was when hubby took me to an old theater to watch a very old silent Hitchcock film. We had never seen a silent movie together, and the film was accompanied by a live orchestra. It was a beautiful and crisp October evening, and when the movie was over we walked home hand-in-hand =)
There are silent Hitchcock films??? How did I miss that? I love his movies. 🙂
My husband and I go hiking a lot, but recently we started kayaking on lakes in the area. It’s a lot of fun because we are out there on the water enjoying God’s wondrous creation together.
We like to go on an overnight trip for our anniversary. This year we went to a painting class I had wanted to do this for a long time and we both had a lot of fun doing this together.
In March 2012 for my birthday my husband took me to Evergreen CO to stay in a B&B for a weekend; I can say that honestly out of our short but seemingly long marriage that was the best surprise/gift/date we have ever had. With 4 kids and living 1500 miles away from family and friends we have to be creative with our dates, they are scarce but when we have a couple hours just to ourselves its pure amazing. He still makes my heart skip a beat!
I don’t know if this counts as a marriage date, but my hubby and I love to go scuba diving together. We live in the desert, so we only go diving every few years on vacation, but it’s awesome. You have to have a “buddy” to dive safely. So we are buddies and it’s so much fun to explore and adventure together.
More recently, he took me to see South Pacific on stage on an outdoor theater. It is a favorite musical if mine and I love that the stage is more interactive than going to movie.
Our best date was just a couple weeks ago. Our kids were at their grandparents so we had plenty of time. We biked downtown to the street fair/craft fair… ate fair food… biked to the park… learned to swing dance in the gazebo by some random young people… biked a trail by the river… and stopped for ice cream on our way home… we ended our eveinging with some wonderful sex. 🙂
My husband and I went to buy a pack of cards for a game we wanted to start playing together, and the night we happened to go to the game shop, there was a tournament for that game going on! We were able to enter and play against puerile who had been playing that game for 20+ years, so we got to learn a LOT about strategy and what would have been a 15 minute shopping trip followed by an at-home date wound up being a 5 for tournament date that opened up possibilities for a new hobby to pursue together. Definitely among our best dates ever. Would love more ideas though!!
We found each other late in life, have been married less than a year and are already in a date night rut. We are going to Louisville, KY in a few weeks for a weekend. My inner Julie McCoy (I think that was the name of the social coordinator on Love Boat) is gone. I really need to figure out fun stuff for us to do on our weekend away.
Our favorite date includes an activity of some sort, put put or going to a comedy show…something where we can laugh and talk and interact with each other.
Would love to win this book!
We have been married 26 years and have only been on an overnight date 2x in 26 years! We have older kids and younger kids. The younger being 13 and 11 and we do not have much money so our dates are always just dinner out and even that is not once a month. I would love some cheap date ideas! We do take walks around the block with our dog and holding hands. Most of the time the kids tag along on bikes. I love him more now than ever and I really do want some date time with him. Money is always the issue and secondly, the kids. I guess one of the best dates we’ve had in the last year was sharing a pitcher of margaritas and laughing ourselves silly in the restaurant. (not obnoxious or anything but I don’t think we’ve laughed so much in years. I LOVE laughing with my husband.
My favorite is a day hike we took and we followed it with Sonic Happy Hour drinks and corn dogs. We were adventurous after that and hit up three Lowe’s looking for marked down paint. We headed to a crawfish boil after all that. Couple of crazy kids!!
Hmmm… the first married date of ours that comes to mind was an overnight anniversary getaway. We spent the night at a B&B, hung out in the park and filled out the questions in our anniversary journal, visited local shops, went on a wild goosechase to find the pizza place we’d ordered from, and went to a pumpkin farm/corn maze!
One of my favourite dates was when my husband took me down to the water front near where we live and we got Starbucks an window shopped the stores down there for hours and just talked. So simple and so fun!
We have been married 35 years and could use some fresh dating ideas
Been married for 16 years and the dating situation has been an area of neglect. I am wanting to star that up again so the timing of this giveaway is perfect! This may sound like a silly marriage date but my favorite is a funland type of place with arcade games, go-karts, and mini golf.
I’m thankful that a weekly date night has been part of our marriage for many years now. Some have been more memorable than others but one of my favorite date nights (and most entertaining) was traffic court.
I was there to address a moving violation fine and decided to bring my bride along rather than waste a date night. There were about 100 people in the court room and it was hilarious listening to all of the explanations and stories that were brought before the judge. The best one, though, was a woman whose name was repeatedly called throughout the night but the woman never came forward. Finally, after there was only my wife, me, and an elderly woman left in the courtroom, the judge looked at her and said, “Ma’am, is your name Mrs. So-and-so?” Her eyes got wide and exclaimed, “Oh my, yes!. I was just married last week and didn’t realize you were calling out my married name!”
It is important for couples to spend some quality time together doing fun things. For my wife and I, taking a walk in the park with a bag lunch or snack is fun. Some large city parks have museums or botanical gardens, etc. that are nice to visit. We get some nice pictures with her I-phone, too. Simple pleasure, but nice for both of us.
I feel like hubby and I do a lot of fun things on dates. Some particularly fun ones: rock climbing, a day at an amusement park or hiking.
I would love to have some more ideas via this book!
p.s. I thought I would have a brilliant idea to take hubby to Fredricksburg, TX and visit a winery or two around there for his b’day this year, but when sending out feelers about it he nixed it b/c he didn’t think the wine would be very good. Is the Llano wine any good?
Hey, I’ve actually been there! I liked the Torre de Pietra winery outside Fredericksburg but I didn’t take their tour. If you ever do go to Fredericksburg, I highly recommend the Rockbox Theater (http://www.rockboxtheater.com). I saw a wonderful show there, and their entertainment is couple and family friendly.
As to Llano, it’s a consistently good, inexpensive wine. They did a great tour too.
My husband and I tend to like staying home more than going out. But we do have fun together regularly, especially after we get the kids in bed. We’ll take a walk under the stars or sip cocoa on the porch. Sometimes we get a small dessert and watch a show together in the living room or read a book together in bed. Sometimes we just sit and talk. When we do go out, we like to visit museums, take hikes, have picnics, or something similar. We have had a cookout in the National Forest more than once with a portable charcoal grill on the tailgate of his truck. That is always fun. We have also had a bonfire on our property and made s’mores. We like doing life together and we make it a priority to spend time together, just the two of us, every day.
My husband and I are both foodie and love to create delicious meals together. One of our favorite date nights involves taking care of an important errand (grocery shopping), but in a really delicious way. We pick an evening and venture out to the local Korean grocery store/eatery, share a delicious meal together and pick up items we’ve never tried to bring home to sample together later. We could spend hours in the store together.
We are not intentional about dating – but always have such a great time when we do! We do travel quite often for our business, and make sure we do something fun every trip! Locally, on of my favorite dates is to go to the baseball game! We don’t go often, but GEC proposed to me at a ball game, so it’s one of our favorite dates now. <3 Looking forward to hearing more date ideas in this book! 🙂 And on these comments!
For our two year anniversary, we decided to take a day trip and do some river tubing. We had both been in the past and decided it’d be a great adventure. We opted for the three hour tube ride instead of the 90min one. We also opted out of buying the stuck sticks that they offered in case you hit a shallow part of the river and got stuck. Well, about halfway through our ride, it started to rain. Not just a little rain. It was a full on downpour. We watched a tree fall into the river seconds after we passed under it. We also got stuck – a lot! So much so that it became our mantra throughout the ride (“Shoulda bought a stiiiick!”). Finally once the rain stopped, the water got really gross as the surrounding town proceeded to drain into the river. We finished our ride about an hour later. We certainly had an adventure! And we still laugh about it to this day, always quoting our mantra and having a good laugh 🙂
Our best date was when we were still in college and completely broke. I was presenting research at a conference in San Francisco. My ticket and hotel were paid for and we scraped together (barely) enough for him to come along. One afternoon we walked all over San Franciso. We stopped at a cool tea shop and got a free tea tasting and learned everything we didnt know about tea. Ate at a cafeteria style resaurant claiming to serve the best sloppy joe in town, and just explored and people watched. Ill never forget my husband haggling over a 5 dollar pearl neclace. Its probably among the cheapest dates we have been on, but we really bonded. We still laugh about our walking vacation.
A truck stop!! What!?!? Yes, a truck stop for our anniversary date! It was where we ate our first meal as Mr. And Mrs. On our way to the airport to catch a midnight flight!
The second “date” my husband took me on (14 years ago), was to meet his best friend. He had mentioned that his friend was “busting a pond” with a backhoe so that his wife and daughter would be able to have a riding arena for their horses. What he failed to mention was that part of “busting a pond” is trying to save as many of the fish as you can before they get washed out into oblivion. So….. You guessed it!! We were wading around in mud up to our knees trying to get huge catfish into buckets to put in tanks in the back of a pickup truck to haul to a neighbor’s pond. I had an absolute blast!! (I grew up farming, but had moved to a different state and was living in an apartment in a pretty good sized city – pretty miserable for a country girl!) He told me he was glad I wasn’t a “typical darn female” and we’ve been together ever since. We have weathered a lot together, and I thank God for him every day!! 🙂
My favorite date was a Sunday afternoon several weeks ago. We packed some homemade subs, chips, key lime bars, and fresh garden tea in a cute picnic basket & headed to a river not far from us. Spread a blanket out on a rock in the river and just soaked up the sun & talked. We have a little boy coming soon in August so cheap & free dates are something that we both enjoy.
We went to a comedy club. Our marriage had been having difficulties and we had a personal tragedy that lent to not ‘feeling fun’ in our day to day life. It was a relatively clean comedian and it was a perfect night of laughing and not focusing on our challenge at the time. We are currently on course for one date a month and this book sounds like a great idea giver.
One of the date we took after being married for about 3 years was a picnic and visit to the exact picnic table that we were engaged at. We were able to discuss what has changed since then. We were also able to talk about how different things had turned out then when we were first engaged. It was fun to just go back and remember!
One of the dates that i’ve enjoyed most was a return to the town where we met and were married. It is close to where we live now, so it was easy and fun to visit all the spots that were memorable to us.
We do the same, Alicia. We are in our 40s now but every time we visit those memorable places in our relationship, we feel so excited and young 🙂
Our best date involves putting the kids to bed early, getting take-out from the Mecican place down the street and watching a movie from Redbox. Cheap, easy, and doesn’t require a babysitter!
I would love someone to take the kids for a sleepover and me and my hub to stay home. Watch a movie, make love, and wake up late.
When I first started dating my wife, we went for a walk around the local university during Christmas. They had nice lights everywhere, which helped the mood. We were just really happy to be together.
One of my favorite dates was on our wedding anniversary. My husband bought me a rose for each of our 29 years. We ate at an Italian restaurant that was new to both of us. We visited a small art gallery. We were the only ones there, so the owner told us a lot about the different pieces. We spent the night at a hotel with a jacuzzi in out room. Bubble bath, candle light, plates of fresh fruit and cheeses completed a memorable evening.
It’s hard to pick a best. A particularly memorable one was when we went to dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in London on a vacation there. It cost an outrageous amount and a surprising percentage of our whole trip budget, but it was incredible!
Good for you! Sometimes we need to throw caution to the wind and simply enjoy the blessings in front of us.
It’s surprising how many of these date ideas require effort, but not much in the way of cost. And they focus on time spent together and memories made. Love hearing them!
And I decided I should probably answer my own question. Hmmm, best date idea? Actually, I like the idea of being a tourist in your own town or area. One recent date involved my husband taking us to Spindletop, a historical oil gusher site that included a re-created boomtown. It was wonderful to see those pieces of history, spend time with my hubby, and hold his hand throughout the day.
I think the best date I’ve had was spending a week at Camp Rehoboth together (before we wer officially dating!) Rehoboth is a camp for mentally disabled people, and we got to be our camper’s best friend for a week; while bowling and swimming, playing soccer, hanging out by a campfire in the evenings, singing in the chapel each morning, and just having a whole lot of fun getting to know each other in all sort of situations!
My hubby and I can easily get stuck in the dinner and movie rut, and we’re not even aware of it sometimes! But the one movie date that stands out from the rest of these happened when we went back to the old days and attended a drive-in. We took chairs, blankets, and snacks and cuddled together. We even missed some of the movie because we were whispering loving words and kissing. It was a genuinely sweet and close evenining made out of the mundane.
My husband and I try to turn the most mundane chores into “dates.” Trips to the hardware store, trips to the nearest “big city” for shopping, etc. a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at DQ and went to a nearby campground to scope out which campsite we wanted to reserve for an upcoming camping trip.
Yep, some of our quality time involves errands to places like Home Depot. We hold hands, talk, and shop for light bulbs or whatever. LOL.
My husband and I have been married for 16 years next week. Unfortunately, it is only recently (since our kids have grown a bit) that we have started intentionally taking time to “date”. It is not a weekly thing, but it is better than it was. We have started going for walks with each other which I love. These are not leisurely walks, they are for exercise, but the absence of kids, cell phones, the tv and only him and I have promoted some great conversations of just getting to know what is going on in each others lives. Free and fun!
Best date ever was a trip to the ocean. We walked up the beach a couple miles and there was no one… So enjoyed some skinny dipping 🙂 pretty sure our oldest was convinced then! 🙂
Some good ideas here. Sadly, my husband is always too tired. Too tired for dates, too tired for sex. Too busy, busy, busy. I love him and he says he loves me and maybe he does. He is a great provider but I’d like more of just him. We’ve had two dates in almost twenty years (five if you count his work functions). Every time I try to talk about our lack of date night or lack of sex he gets upset and says “do I do ANYTHING right?” * huge sigh *
I love him so much, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be deserving of a date night. And I wonder what it would be like to be sexually desired by a man more than once a week.
Perhaps I’ll suggest one of these date ideas and see what he thinks. I just wonder why he says he loves me so much aNd is so sweet to me, but never wants to do anything. I think he must be embarrassed of me or something.
The best date that comes to my mind was for our 5 year anniversary. We went to a fancy restaurant in a state park. The restaurant was at the bottom of a mountain, and we had to ride down a tram to get there. The restaurant was delicious for one thing, but it also had floor to ceiling windows looking outside. We were seated in front of the window and could see the mountain and the creek outside. While we were eating, several deer came out and were drinking out of the creek. It was just so peaceful and beautiful. We were also in the middle of a crazy time in our lives – preparing for a cross country move, leaving our home, our jobs, and our friends – so that date just sticks out to me as a time where we were able to just relax and spend some quality time with each other in the midst of our chaotic lives.
How do you all get your husbands to arrange these amazing dates? Do you yourself ever plan them? I think we speak different love languages. He is always telling and texting me how much he loves me and how pretty he thinks I am, but I never believe any of it because he never does a thing to SHOW his love. Not even free dates. Not even asking me to go for a walk. I think he thinks working so hard (which he does and I do appreciate) is a way of showing love. But I’d like to know he loves me, not just be fed a bunch of words over and over.
So what to do? Do any of you ever plan the dates or is it mostly your loving hubbys that do so?
My husband has bipolar disorder so planning things, like dates or vacations, can be very overwhelming for him and trigger a manic episode. So I have to do most of the planning, unless it is something like a dinner date. In some ways, it makes me weary but I don’t have much choice in the matter. Not sure if that helps you any.
I would say our best date to date (LoL) would be a wknd getaway we took to Phoenix. It was pretty spur of the moment and wen didn’t really have much planned which was right up his alley and not so much mine. But because of that, we had lots of time to chill by the pool, linger over dinner and just walk around the town uninhibited which gave us time for lots of conversation. Still great memories!
When we first started dating as poor college students, one of my favorite things to do on a date together was to visit the local library. We would find and share our favorite childhood books. It was great to talk about the books, characters, and illustrations. We still visit the library, but now we do it with our son in tow. 🙂
Blue Bell? We eat all we can and sell the rest! I sure miss that ice cream! That, What-a-burger, and real TexMex.
Thanks for the memory – and the book review.
My husband and I enjoy doing themed dates, for instance Japan night. We picked up Asian takeout and went to a local Japanese Garden to eat in the park, then went home and watched Memoires of a Geisha.
We’ve Also had a Mad Lib date night with index cards with a variety of nouns/adjectives that we randomly assigned (something fuzzy, something blue, meat, beverage, etc) then we each drew 5 cards from the deck and had $15 cash and 15 minutes to run through Wal-Mart and get everything on our “shopping list”. We then had to use every item at some point in our date. That ended up being a lot of fun, and very random to say the least.
After reading the review, I’m thinking the best dates could involve those tours. I honestly had never thought of that before. I am also intrigued to know more about the cemetery one…
Comments are closed.