Creative Date Ideas for Busy Parents: A Year of Dating Your Spouse

I’ve been dying to share my personal creative date night idea with you for over a year now. Keep reading to find out how to make your own Year of Dating Your Spouse gift.

“We had to decide what we wanted at the end of life: two people who had grown old together as partners, or two people who had grown old alone.

Of course all marriages start with the intention of growing old together, but that means more than simply sharing the same street address.

Keeping each other a priority in the whirlwind of careers, activities, and responsibilities will not happen by default. It’s time to start growing old . . . together.” ~ via D. Rainey Family Life

Make this year, the year you will woo each other! Decide today that you will set aside 12 date days out of your 365 days in the year to spend intentional time with your spouse. (You can implement this any month of the year.)

This “Year of Dating Your Spouse” idea was started in our marriage about 3 years ago. Before then we dated each other but when life got busy our great intentions were forgotten. Dating each other has been one of the many things that helped us thrive in our marriage in the midst of chaotic, hard and busy seasons of life.

There have been many times when the last thing we have the energy to do is plan a date but because we had pre-planned these dates we made ourselves go out and remember how to laugh, play and talk with one another.

Every. Single. Time. we walked away thankful we made ourselves hit pause and enjoy each others company.

We’d end up laughing, sharing our fears, dreams, just playing and sometimes I have to admit there were tears as we stopped to process the hardships TOGETHER.

Hands Down the Best Gift Ever!

Well the Christmas before our very challenging year my husband decided he was going to be more intentional with our dates.  We didn’t know it then but it was absolutely what we needed for that VERY long year in the midst of stress, busyness and chaos.

It kept us intentional even when we were up to our ears with piles and piles of stuff to on our “To Do List”.

In the picture below, my husband is reading the card he wrote me to go with that month’s date. It meant so much to me to hear him say those words of affirmation, admiration and love that he had written months ago when he made these 12 months of dates for me.

In the midst of the stressful and busy time we often forgot to say these kinds of things to each other but it’s in this time when we most need to hear it and be reminded that we love, value and see each other.

The only way we can discover the beauty and strength to be found in the hard and stressful seasons of life is be deliberate about connecting with one another, praying for him and then getting your boxing gloves on and fighting not with your spouse but for your marriage.

Where are you at?

We can all relate to stress, busyness and chaos in our daily life. With deadlines to meet, laundry to wash, children to love and care for, bills to pay we can forget about the one who used to give us butterflies in our stomach every time they walked in the room.

I confess there have been times that now I don’t even notice when he walks into the room. Heck sometimes the only time we are in the same room is when we are sleeping.

Between 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) where are you at in your intentionality with pursuing each other?

Notice I didn’t say how you’re doing in your marriage? Because often we gauge how our marriages is doing based on whether we are getting along or not. But guess what? When you’re only crossing paths in the bathroom and not seeing each other it is easier to get along.

Let’s get intentional and start pursuing each other today!

Creative Date Nights–How to do it!

Get your calendar out and plan it now! You don’t have to have every detail in place but go ahead and start writing a date for this month and let your creative juices go as you write out your date for the month of March.

If you struggle with coming up with ideas just print off the FREE printable I share with you below with over 35 ideas or purchase my 12 Months of Dates Kit HERE.

I know we all want to keep the spark going in our marriages so let’s start now. Let’s pursue our spouse! Don’t wait for him to do the planning (I know it’s lovely to be wooed but sometimes it just doesn’t happen) so why don’t you get it started and set it up yourself.

Make this “Year of Dating Your Spouse” a gift or email it to your husband and ask him to give it to you for Valentine’s Day.

I love this gift so much I now ask my husband to give me this as a gift.

A Year of Dating Your Spouse

You can make this at home without purchasing anything! But I do have a 12 Months of dates Kit in my shop if you prefer.


  • 12 Index cards or blank greeting cards
  • 12 envelopes
  • Date Ideas printable (free link below)
  • Calendar, scissors and pen
  • Optional —12 Months of Dates Kit with PDF date planning sheet, 12 Months labels, date cards, 35+ date ideas, conversation starters and our “How Are You Really Doing? Check in.

On each index card write the month at the top, so you end up 12 cards.

Then write the date idea you have planned. Be somewhat specific but don’t get caught up in the details of it all. For example, if you know in July there’s an outdoor concert in your community but don’t have all the details you can write on the card–Concert in the park. Then figure to the details as July approaches.

Then stick it in the envelope and label the envelope with the month. Stick it in a large white envelope to keep it together, in a tin that large enough. Or you can punch holes at the edge of your envelopes and run a ribbon through it to keep it together. You’ll have to buy envelopes that are larger than your note cards.

Notes: If you choose to buy 12 greeting cards make sure to personalize the card by writing a short note and signing it. The first time my husband did this he bought 12 love themed greeting cards and there was always a little sentence with his own sentiments. This last year, he used index cards and glued them onto paper with designs as shown above. Use ribbon to keep the dates together or place them in a box labeled 12 months of dates.

You’re done! See it was really easy and now you’re set with 12 pre-planned dates.

Date Night Ideas FREE printable

To download your fabulous date night ideas FREE printable below click here: Fun Date Ideas

Let’s remember that our kids are watching the example we set for them of what a healthy marriage should look like. Give them a peek into what it looks like to deliberately make time to play and love each other.

One thing I always hear from wives when I share this is, “My husband is not creative and this takes too much creativity.” or “I don’t know where to begin.”

Well I just made it easier for you!

You can purchase the 12 Months of Dates Kit to give as a gift to your spouse in my shop. It comes with 12 months of labels, 12 date cards, 35+ date ideas, a planning sheet and conversation starters. I’ve thought of all the things we learned while doing this and put it together for you in this kit.

I encourage you to not wait around for your husband to plan all the dates. This year choose to invest in your marriage and YOU give him this 12 Months of dates.

Make this year, the year you woo each other. Can you set aside 12 days out of your 365 days in the year to invest in your marriage?

I have put together a 12 Months of Dates Kit for those of you who love the idea but don’t know where to start. It’s the perfect gift to give to your spouse or to your married kids. You can find the kit in my shop HERE.

Your Turn!

What is your favorite date idea? Share it with us in the comments below.

Update: We recently tried being very generic with our dates but that totally flopped. We realized that for us, the more specific we are, the more likely it will happen. Decide when you’re going to have your date day. So maybe it’s on the last Sunday of the month but be flexible in case things change. It works best when you have at least pre-planned the month and a generic activity. So you can write: “Month April- Hey Love, Spring is in the air. Let’s go on a picnic!

Come back and check out all of the great ideas these awesome bloggers are sharing. You can find an updated schedule over at Inspired by Family. Our 12 awesome mom bloggers are: Paradise Praises , Inspired by FamilyBeauty Through ImperfectionThe Gingerbread House The Classy Chapter , Confidence Meets ParentingPichea PlaceThinking Kids Blog , Simple Acres BlogClarissa WestCreative World of VaryaThe Educators Spin On It

Here’s the schedule: (Make sure to come back and check out the updated post.)

January 30Inspired by Family  shares A Year of Dating Your Spouse 12 Months 12 Dates
Paradise Praises shares her 5 Intimate Dates Even with a Houseful of Kids
Jan 31stBeauty Through Imperfection – Game Night Date Night with some fun game ideas
The Gingerbread House  – 6 Creative Date Night Ideas For Busy Families
February 1stThe Classy Chapter shares Date Night Ideas for Married Couples 
Confidence Meets Parenting – Romantic Mini Date ideas
Feb 2nd–Pichea Place – How to Have a Monthly Date
Thinking Kids Blog – 100+ Screen Free Activities
Feb 3rdSimple Acres Blog – 30 Frugal & Fun Date Ideas
Clarissa West  – Make Every Night a Date Night
Feb 4th
Creative World of Varya – Ideas for Dates When You Have Young Kids
The Educators Spin On It


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  7. Great ideas, Mari! I’ve pinned the list and love what you’re encouraging us to do. I also love the idea of planning twelve dates for all throughout the year. Sounds like your hubby is very loving and intentional!