Date Night

Ryan Burns —  March 14, 2008

Seminary Date Night

I once had a pastor who had the Rule of 7:

Every 7 days take your wife on a date
Every 7 weeks take your wife on a weekend get-away
Every 7 months take your wife on a week’s vacation

Now, that sounds all good-and-well but my mental calculator (crummy as it may be) added that up to EXPENSIVE.

So, what are we to do? Before I go into how Just a Gal and I do date night, please feel free to comment with your experience. I’d love to hear how you and your significant other date. How often do you get away? What do you do? Do you budget for date night? Is it a regular event on your calendar?

Well, for me and Just a Gal we do a couple things. For one, we have a TV date night once a week. I stop my work and studies and we sit on the couch for an hour or two and watch shows we’ve TiVo’d. Watching shows on TiVo means we can cut commercials and save some time. (For inquiring minds, we mostly watch LA Ink, House, and Iron Chef America) While this is, admittedly, a lame date… it is nice to just relax and kick back with some chocolate chip ice cream and be together.

Second, we go on a real date every 4-6 weeks. We don’t get to do this too often due to $$$. We’ve got Sweet Pea and Little Man, so you can tack on and extra $20-$30 for childcare. On top of that, I really like good food. So, when we do date night, it is all about dinner. Rarely do we go to the movies or do anything else that costs money, instead we dump all the date night funds into the meal. For me, there is something truly wonderful about sitting and enjoying a spectacular meal together with someone you care about. Sure, sharing a meal at your favorite Mexican restaurant is nice, but on these rare times I get to be alone with my wife outside our house it is amazing to be able to sit in a quiet, dimly lit, restaurant as your savor succulent course after course. The beauty is that at a nice restaurant your meal should last an hour or two. So, there you sit, the two of you… simply enjoying being together.

Now, personally I have a rule when we go out to eat and that is, if you want it, get it. The point of the rule is that Just a Gal is the penny pincher in this marriage. So, if we went out to eat without this rule then she’d always end up getting the appetizer portion of a crab cakes or something for her main course… However, I know that deep down she wants the rack of lamb with garlic truffle mashed potatoes and chocolate covered bacon (seriously, that was on the menu on our last date). The logic for the rule is this… is it really fun if you go somewhere and really want something on the menu but then get something you don’t want… just to save some money? You spend the rest of the meal thinking, “I wish I got that thing with the chocolate covered bacon…” So, that is our rule… get the meal you want.

Now, you are probably thinking, what the heck… are you mr. bankroll or something? I can’t afford that.

Well, think through a typical date (or what I assume to be a typical date):

Dinner for 2 plus tip – $40
Movie and popcorn – $30
Coffee and tea – $10
Total = $80 +/-

So, for me and Just a Gal, we nix everything else and dump it all into the meal. We typically spend between $70 and $85 on our date night meal and we ALWAYS have a good time.

Now, I’m not saying that this is for everyone. Your budget and your lifestyle are probably different than ours… heck, you might not even like chocolate covered bacon. But for me (and I think this is the point of the post) is that date night should be special. While in seminary, and the rest of life won’t be much different, your reschedule is busy. Taking time to be together and doing something your really enjoy, sharing it together, is truly important. Don’t neglect it. Don’t forget to go on a date!

Ryan Burns

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Ryan Burns is on staff at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA. He sells awesome noise cancelling headphones and runs a site to help people find the best seminary.

No responses to Date Night

  1. Just A Guy, this is fantastic! My wife and I have been dating for nearly 17 years (that makes me sound a lot older than I am–we were in high school when we started!) and as we have gotten older, the priority of dating has been very high on our list. In my first semester of seminary I realized right away that it would have to be even more regular than it was. We try to have a date night every Monday night. That usually does not involve going out to eat (for the same reasons you stated), but does usually involve going out for coffee somewhere. We do account for the date nights in both our dining budget envelope and in the babysitting budget envelope. … BTW, I never posted on your budgeting page, but we use “Budget” by http://www.snowmintcs.com.

  2. We “date” on the cheap. Freelance writer + seminary student = no extra cash. Alot of our dates just center around spending time together. in the winter, it can be a visit to the mall to take a walk (inside). I’m a fan of redbox movies (@ $1/night), and cuddling up on the couch in front of the fireplace to watch together. While we’re out, we’ll buy some good ice cream as our splurge.

  3. We didn’t go out on dates for awhile but sometimes we’d get together and talk about what we’d do if we did go on a date; it’s kind of like on Survivor when they talk about hot fudge chocolate sundaes and double cheeseburgers when they’re starving – it’s not quite the real thing but it can do in a pinch :)