We asked you, our readers, and staff at the Alabama Baptist Children's Homes (ABCH) and Pathways Professional Counseling to submit some ideal dates for Valentine's Day or Anytime. Here is what you had to say: (originally ran February 2010)
1. One Spouse Plans Everything - From childcare to where or what you are going to do, one spouse takes charge, allowing the other one to relax and enjoy the date. It might be a great idea to ask grandparents/friends to keep the kids overnight.
2. Romantic Spa Night - Before your spouse gets home, fill the bath tub with a warm bubble bath, light candles, turn on their favorite music and set aside their favorite book. Sometimes having that time to unwind and be by yourself will set the perfect mood for later.
3. A Local Car Race Track - Might be out of your comfort zone, but be willing to try something different. Grab a blanket and snuggle up together to watch those cars go 'round and 'round. Or head to the drag strip to watch them go head-to-head.
4. Indoor Picnic - Spread out a blanket, grab dinner from a local restaurant, turn out the lights and have a wonderful picnic indoors.
5. Surprise Weekend Getaway - For those that can afford a little more this holiday, surprise your spouse to a wonderful weekend getaway. Have their bags already packed, all the details planned and for an added bonus, have flowers at your destination ready for your spouse.
6. Unplugged night - Turn off those cell phones, blackberries, and iPhones. No TV, computers or game systems. Simply enjoy one another and connect through conversation. Not sure what to talk about? Click here for some conversation starters.
7. Scavenger Hunt - This can be as simple as looking through your home for the gift you are giving or a more elaborate walk with your spouse through some of your favorite memories in your home or town. This is a great way to remind you both why you love each other and why you married in the first place.
8. Favorite Things Night - Each spouse could plan to bring home the other's favorite things. This can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be - candy bars, drinks, food, game, movie, etc. Having a night where you honor one another with your favorite things could be a very memorable experience.
9. Do Something Your Spouse Enjoys - Get out of your comfort zone for the sake of connection. Go hunting, fishing, shopping, camping, watch a chick-flick or a macho movie. Whatever you choose, don't grumble or continuously remind your spouse you are doing this for them, but rather embrace the experience. It will mean a lot to your spouse.
10. Pursue a Hobby - You could take this holiday to start a new hobby together - art classes, cooking classes, concert going, or a craft. No matter what you choose, this will give you something as a couple to pursue for years to come.
11. Romantic Coffee Date - There is nothing like sitting at a local coffee shop and letting conversation happen. Good things can happen over a simple cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Don't just get it to go though. Sit, relax and enjoy one another's company.
12. Serve Together - The Lord has called us to serve the least of these. What a great opportunity as a couple to fulfill HIS commands together. Find a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, after school program or church and serve the community. You could even shop for a local non-profit, like Pathways or ABCH. Click here for our needs lists.
13. Take a Romantic Walk - Bundle up and find a lake, walk around your neighborhood, or simply enjoy the park. Get outside and get moving together.
14. Recreate Your First Date - Take the opportunity this Valentine's Day to reminisce with one another about your first date. Go to the same restaurant or same type of restaurant, do the same thing or watch the first movie you ever watched together. Start a conversation, too, about what first attracted you to one another. This can really spark a romantic mood.
15. Read 52 Ways to Have Fun Fantastic Sex - Written by a Christian therapist, this is a great book to spice up the bedroom and explore some fun new ways to be intimate with one another.
Whatever you choose to do this Valentine's Day, we hope you take time to enjoy your significant other and rejuvenate your relationship. Remember to make this Valentine's Day about more than flowers and chocolates, let it be a time that you check up on your relationship and check in with your spouse. Read here for more information on how to give your relationship a check up.