While I know some women are incredibly low-maintenance, quite a few of us are guilty of having high expectations. For example, it's not romance unless the dude comes by on his horse. It's not a date night if we have to find a sitter for the kids. For women, it's not love unless the man does exactly the right thing, and lots of it. But if we show up to bed and say, "I want to have sex," the man is happy. If the guy does the same thing . . . we're not always happy. Sometimes, it's not until we have children that we really alter our perspective on what's romantic — mostly due to time and energy constraints. Suddenly, the act of someone doing the dishes looks romantic.
What I say to you married ladies (I'm divorced now) is that unless your partner is severely shortchanging you or treating you poorly, try to set aside the little bad things that he does and instead see the good in both your partner and the little romantic things you can reasonably do together as married parents. One of our biggest crimes (mine and my ex-husband's) was expecting a bit too much from each other and denying our mutual efforts toward each other to make things better. That's possibly because we were wrong for each other but also because we didn't look at what we had. Instead, we looked at what we didn't have.
Enjoy the little things because they really are the big things in life . . . and if time, money, and energy are hard to find, try these 12 cheap and simple date nights all year round that are guaranteed to be fun! Will your man stride in on a horse or get decked out like Christian Grey? Probably not, but there's still a lot to love about your terribly flawed but perfectly perfect-for-you man! So let these date nights roll!
Whether it's 80 degrees outside or 20, indoor or outdoor minigolf is a cute, cheap, and easy date. No one needs to get all blinged-out, and the babysitter won't have to stay for hours if you just go out for a round or two. Easy breezy!
Admit it — you've always wanted to shoot pool like a pro and look sexy while doing it. I have dreamt of this, but every time I try, I usually look like a kid who's way too short to reach the counter, desperately trying to squirm her way to grab something. In other words, I stink. But the dark lights of the poolhall and the beers will bring back a nice, almost collegiate feel, not to mention you won't break the bank. Try this date night and make a bet that the loser cooks dinner for a whole week.
First there were the planets . . . and then God created ice cream! What is easier and more innocent than a few scoops of cookies and cream ice cream? Share a sundae together and just talk to each other about the meaning of life or, in other words, why ice cream was invented. And don't forget my date-night rule: no talking about the kids!
Dirty Movie In
We all have definitions about what is dirty. For you, that might be Fifty Shades of Grey. For another woman, it might be Debbie Does Dallas. Whatever your comfortable level of dirty is, pick a movie that will inspire the "senses" and enjoy it together at home. It's dirt cheap and a filthy wonderful idea if you're entertaining the idea of having sex tonight — which you should be!
I sure do miss the good old days with my ex-husband. He had that Cuban blood pulsing through him, so even if he wasn't cutting a rug, he could learn a move rather quickly! We took dance lessons before our wedding, and it was so much fun. All it takes is typically one hour of your time for the lesson and then possibly another two for dinner and transporting back and forth. Even if your guy has no rhythm, you will have a laugh together and be alone without any of your progeny around! Plus, who can deny the romance and sensuality in the beats even if you dance like you're having a seizure?
Take the whole night or just two hours if that's all you guys can squeeze in to go to the bar and people watch. Pick a relatively crowded one and sit back and eavesdrop on people's conversations. You probably won't get the answers to the mystery of life, but you will find it funny watching couples fight and dudes using bad pickup lines on girls. Trust me, as a newly single mommy, this is one night you will be grateful to be married and not single.
Send the kids to grandma's house, or take your board games and hit up a local coffee shop for game night! Coffee won't cost you much, but if you feel like getting more dollars and "sense" involved, why not make bets on which one of you can connect four, land on Park Place, or shout out "bingo" first! Nostalgic games will bring you back to your childhood. Besides, what's more low-maintenance than an intense game of checkers?
Fine Dining on a Dime
If you're a lady and gentleman that tend to be high-maintenance yet are on a budget, live out your "luxury dream" by picking the most expensive restaurant in town . . . but stick to ordering appetizers or dessert only. If you go for a main course, you're going to be shelling out major cash in a four-star joint.
Live out your teenage days together and head out to the arcade. Eat at home to save money — unless you're dying to eat some greasy arcade food — and get ready for pinball, video games, and if you're lucky, Skee-Ball madness. Just don't break out your teenage fashions. Some styles were meant to die in a decade.
If you two are on the up and up, why not try searching your town for a paint-and-sip studio? At these places you paint a famous masterpiece or scenery as you drink wine! This is really a great girls' night idea, but if your man wants to keep you in your good graces, he better whip out that Van Gogh side in him, OK? Corks and paintbrushes, up!
Seven Minutes in Heaven
Do you remember that closet game? Put the kids to bed and then reenact your favorite teen make-out games, but this time instead of sitting awkwardly in a closet next to some guy with a bad spiked haircut (memories!), you can "spin the bottle" with your favorite man! This grown-up version is way better. My first kiss was reminiscent of a horror show. The guy literally spit all over me. I hope he received bad kissing karma for a lifetime!
Pick a horrible movie or an easy one to follow, then sit in the back row of your local theater with the goal of making out for at least 50 percent of the movie. At least this time if he tries to get to second base, you're married to the guy!
No matter what you two do together, focus on the positives, ditch the kid talk, and forget about any fights you had that day or week. One of the best marital lessons you can learn is that sometimes, you've just got to let it go!