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I recently had the opportunity to talk with some older women about marriage. We are in a busy season of life where date nights do not always happen. They had some fantastic advice on how to love your spouse well even when things are chaotic and money is tight.
The main thing I took away: the small things are actually the big things. It’s the small moments over the course of 50 years that build your marriage… not the fancy vacation you get to take once.
Here are their best tips. I’m so glad I get to share them with you!
10 Ways To Keep Love Alive On A Budget
There are proven psychological benefits of having things to look forward to. Maximize the impact of your dates by planning them weeks in advance. You can look forward to it for weeks thereby gaining happiness from it for more than one day!
Ask your significant other, “What is one way I can make you feel loved?” Small gestures can have a huge impact. For us that means buying breakfast meat. Such a small thing but my husband loves it when there is bacon or sausage in the fridge.
Studies have shown that being thankful has numerous impacts on your emotional health. Take the time to point out ways your spouse made you feel loved or helped you. Always look for the good and point out the good. This is harder in some seasons of life, so start as small as you need to.
Weekly Check In
A weekly check in is a great maintenance tool. It’s helpful for making sure you are both on the same page to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication. Here are the 3 questions we ask:
- What does the upcoming week look like for you?
- How did I make you feel loved last week?
- How can I make your life a little easier this week?
This is also a great time to work on your budget together.
Trade Off On Babysitting
Paying a babysitter $20 an hour is a great way to empty the date night fund before your pull out of the driveway. The best way I have found to save is to find a friend who I trust and trade off with her. She babysits my kids for x amount of time and I babysit hers for the same amount of time. Just make sure everyone is on the same page so there are no hurt feelings.
You can also reach out to older women at church or in your community to see if someone would be willing to babysit for free or cheap. Some would love nothing more than to come hang out with your babies for an hour or two and just need to be asked.
Pick Frugal Date Nights
We want to make the most of our date night fund so let’s spend it wisely! Here are my favorite frugal date ideas:
Free summer concerts
Grab drinks and an appetizer instead of a full meal
Go out for lunch
Use Groupon or coupons
Hiking or a nice park (think swings by a lake)
Here are a lot more ideas.
This isn’t a topic we venture to often (or ever really), but as we were told in premarital counseling: “Twice a week, 104 a year, should give neither cause to fear.” Take from that what you want. We all need goals, right?
Find a Hobby
You need two hobbies. One to do for yourself and one to do together. For a joint hobby, you can find a TV show to watch together, play games (we love Monopoly deal), biking, or something like Mario Kart racing.
Squeeze In Real Conversations
In busy seasons, being able to chat uninterrupted for even 10 minutes seems impossible, but I have found we need to be diligent in fitting in time to catch up daily. In in ideal world, I’d love to have 10 minutes everyday when we first get home to sit and talk. It definitely doesn’t always happen but remember we like goals. Here are some great conversation starters.
Ask For Help
If things feel extra hard in your marriage, do not be afraid to reach out for help. Older couples, your pastor if you have one, or a counseling center can be a great place to start. There are also great books available! Here are my favorites:
See more ways to save on date night.