By Joni Edelman
Damn it if being broke isn’t the shittiest. I’ve been broke like “searching the couch for change,” I’ve been broke like “Taco Bell is a luxury.”
I was that kind of broke for a lot of years.
Ask me when my husband and I last had a date.
I CAN’T REMEMBER.
Oh, that’s not true, we went to Austin on a work trip in early April. But before that trip, I think it had been like nine months.
Love Lesson #1: Unless you prioritize your time, you will not find the time.
Love Lesson #2: Unless you find the time to prioritize your marriage, there is no foundation for your family.
Love Lesson #3: With no foundation, marriages dissolve.
Love Lesson #4: Divorce is a lot more expensive than a date.
In fact, you could go to Europe on what divorce costs (and that’s assuming no custody battle).
Here are some unconventional/cheap/free ways to connect:
1. Go to IKEA.
Buy a complicated piece of furniture and put it together without using the instructions.
Just kidding. Never do that.
(Actual) 1. Play 20 questions.
This is probably my favorite date idea ever. Make a list of questions, and ask each other. Some ideas:
- What job would you be doing if you could do any?
- Where would you love to travel?
- What is your favorite memory of us?
- What did you think when you first met me?
- Is parenthood what you thought it would be like?
- What food do you hate/love (these change over time!)?
- If you had to pick one position we could have sex in for the rest of our lives, what would it be?
- What excites you about getting older together? (Or what scares you, if you’re in that kind of mood.)
- Stop war or cure hunger?
- Superpower: flight or invisibility?
And so on.
You don’t even have to leave your house to do this.
2. Go get ice cream.
Ice cream is delicious. No one hates ice cream.
If you cannot afford to get ice cream, make some.
3. Go to the library/book store.
Pick a book for the other person to read. No restrictions.
OR restrict it to one area of the bookstore — philosophy is a good one.
Alternatively, pick a book you will read to each other. It’s like grade school, only with sex at the end of class.
4. Hotel date.
Just get a hotel and have sex, or sleep, or have sex and sleep.
Can’t afford a hotel?
5. Recruit in-laws to babysit at their place.
Stay at your own house, pretend it’s a hotel. Eat in your bed. Have sex in the afternoon. Drink wine for no reason.
Don’t have in-laws?
6. Phone a friend.
A lot of the people you know are probably also short on time/money. Trade off!
Don’t have a friend?
7. Take your kids to the fire station.
Just kidding. Don’t do that. I mean, if you want them back.
8. Keep a lovenote book.
Buy a notebook. Leave it out, in your bedroom, kitchen, or office — somewhere you are every day.
Leave each other a note every morning.
Ideally, the note would not be “I hate you, you asshole.”
You could write back and forth. You could write poems. You could write something you’d like to do later (starts with ‘s’, rhymes with SEX.)
9. Ask each other every day, “What can I do for you today to make you feel loved/appreciated/secure?”
This is such a simple and powerful thing.
If my husband asked me this today, I’d say “please lord, fold one of the 17 loads of laundry on our bed.”
He would probably say something about coffee or food.
We would both feel loved.
10. Make a memory jar.
Write down 30 memories/things you love about your partner on 30 pieces of paper. Put them in a jar. Every day for a month, pull one memory.
For extra credit, do an entire year.
Every so often, it’s nice to not have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn with the kids. Let your partner stay in bed, make them breakfast. Occupy the children so that they will not feel obligated to get up.
Have a question or topic you’d like to discuss? Email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Originally published at Ravishly)