Top Four Contenders for “Best Date” Idea

This month, since it’s the month of Valentines Day, romance, etc., we at the Growinlove Facebook Page decided to offer $100 for the best date idea and $100 for the best idea for keeping marriage fun around the home.  Falling in love is easy, it’s almost automatic.  Growing in love requires conscious intention and, at times, creative effort. People who are obviously skilled at keeping their love growing have submitted some excellent ideas about how to date and enrich your your marriage.  Here are the top contenders.

Jodi Haan-Ring

“For a fun and inexpensive date we have taken up playing Bingo! It costs $8.00 for a chance to win $1500, we get to spend three hours sitting side by side, laughing and chatting with each other. Our kids think it’s hilarious we play Bingo, which makes it that much more entertaining for us!”

Jodi’s description of her Bingo dates with her husband suggests that their Bingo Nights include several important elements of good dates and help keep their marriage fun and lively.

  • Their Bingo Nights are planned in advance and are something Jodi and her husband enjoy looking forward to.  Anticipation increases the duration of the enjoyment and the overall benefit.
  • Jodi and her husband go out as a couple, just the two of them, not as a group, they sit together, and it is probably obvious to the people around them that they “go together”.
  • Bingo Night is away from the house, away from being Mom and Dad, cook, financial manager, and any other roles that are inherent in running a household. Bingo Night allows Jodi and her husband to simply enjoy being be a woman and a man who love each other.
  • This is a fun activity that they both enjoy. The energy of the event is positive and the atmosphere is lively.
  • Bingo Night is not expensive.  Neither one of them is distracted by concern about how this is going to be paid for later.
  • Bingo Night lasts three hours, more than the two-hour minimum for an activity to really amount to a date.
  • Jodi and her husband are sitting by each other, laughing, chatting, etc., and probably enjoying spontaneous physical affection.
  • They’re probably focused on the game and not distracting themselves with emails, calls, texts, etc.

Thank you, Jodi.  You and your husband seem like real naturals when it comes to setting aside day-to-day concerns and going our for a good time.  You’re good examples of a quality most all of us need in greater abundance, especially in our marriages.


Jessica Martin

“I wanted to make sure that Dan knew how much I appreciate him and value how hard he works for our family. While he was at work one day, I made a simple invitation asking him to dinner with me that night. I sent it to his work email and asked him to print the invite and check the box for either 1. A quiet dinner at home or 2. Dinner at a restaurant of his choice. I told him I would pick up his response before he got off and bring him formal attire to change into (even if we ended up eating at home.) I wanted him to feel that this dinner was special. We ended up just going to Macaroni Grill and spending the time together talking. It made him feel special and that made me happy. It wasn’t super expensive or time consuming, but it made a difference for us. It was a simple dinner date, but the way we viewed it was what made it fun!”

Jessica’s description of her dinner date with her husband suggests some important elements of a good date.

  • Jessica’s intention was to show her husband that she loves and appreciates him.
  • How she set up the date was creative and unique.  It was a new experience for them.
  • She made an event of it.  She could have sent him a text message that said, “I love and appreciate you and how hard you work” (which she probably also does occasionally) but creating an event such as this adds emphasis to the message.
  • Their date was memorable and will be a positive memory for a long time.
  • Her invitation came to her husband as a surprise.  The element of surprise apparently added to the fun of their evening.
  • Jessica gave him the option of choosing any type of dinner experience he preferred from a simple dinner at home to a formal dinner on the town.
  • It was away from the home allowing them both to be a man and woman in love and not the cook, bill payer, maid, etc.  Such roles are important at times but too often we get stuck in them and consequently we limit our ability to see and enjoy each other.
  • It gave them time to relax, to talk, to maintain eye contact, and to be affectionate.

Thank you, Jessica.  Your date idea reminds us that being loving is at least as gratifying as being loved.  From reading your description, we get the distinct impression that you had at least as much fun being the giver of love as your husband did being the recipient.


Shirley Cox Schroeder

“Since moving to very rural KS from Richmond, VA my husband and I have very special moments without distractions. We would go horseback riding in the pastures, crossing a river, etc., just the two of us exploring. We go for rides in the country looking for deer, jackrabbits, etc. We will sit on a bench out by the shed at night and listen to the coyotes and stare at the incredibly bright stars (where we live there isn’t city light). We take long walks in the woods and are always looking for what is over the next hill. We might sound like “country folk”; but being 45 miles from civilization as we know it; this is how we strengthen each day of our marriage.”

The first observation I’ll make about this date idea is that Shirley describes these events as “very special moments without distractions”.  YES! These are so crucial to have in a marriage where two people are growing in love.

  • From her description, I don’t picture either of them having to wait while the other finishes a cell phone call, reads an email, or responds to a text message.
  • They’re riding together as a couple, being partners, friends, companions.  They’re not simply members of a group or family gathering.
  • The scenery and the action they are in are scenery and action most of us could only see if we went to a movie or watched it on television.  Shirley and her husband aren’t watching it.  They’re in it.
  • They are exploring the beauty of their surroundings.  In the country or in the city, too many of us remain oblivious to the intriguing elements all around us.  Shirley’s date keeps them exploring and increasing the enjoyment of the world around them.
  • Their date involves physical activity which also improves their health (an element that we appreciate increasingly over time).

My last observation about the importance of Shirley’s date idea is simply to quote her last words, “this is how we strengthen each day of our marriage.” Well put, Shirley.  Thank you for words that are as succinct as they are wise.


Lisa J Campbell

“Cross-country skiing (or snowshoeing) by the light of a full moon. Yes, it is weather dependent and takes some planning (not all full moons occur when it is convenient), but, it makes a great memory and a reason to share a cup of something warm together later.”

Yes, this date definitely requires advance planning (anticipation adds to the enjoyment) as well as the participation of Mother Nature.  (Ironically, as I write this, there is new snow and a full-moon.  Mother Nature does provide.)

  • Whether Lisa and her husband chose cross-country skiing or snowshoeing they both enjoyed the benefits of improved skill and cardiovascular health.
  • “By the light of the full moon”!  Is there better lighting for a romantic evening together?
  • This date is not going to strain anyone’s budget, as long as you have the equipment and easy access to open space.
  • Both Lisa and her husband are together, enjoying the intense beauty that surrounds them.
  • Imagining Lisa’s and her husband’s stroll through the moonlit snow, I don’t picture a cell-phone call, an email being read or a text being sent.  This is a time for just the two of them.

Thank you, Lisa.  An experience together in such intense, natural beauty helps us put day-to-day concerns back in perspective and helps us remember that our lives are much more rich than we tend to remember.

So, thanks again to everyone for your submissions.  We’ll be choosing one of the top four by Friday (2/18) evening to receive one of the checks for $100.  We welcome your feedback and will consider it in our deciding.

Paul and Brentz Brandt


One response to “Top Four Contenders for “Best Date” Idea

  1. I like them all!
    I notice that most are very low cost. Its not the money we spend on each other but the intentional moments when we connect and share time together. It is important in every relationship. I like that you point out the elements of each date idea that make it good. We just know that they work, you know why they work. Thanks Paul. Hmmmmm, perhaps $25 to each of the 4 could be considered. 🙂

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