Unless you have basically unlimited income, there will be times when you’ll be needing to spend evenings at home. These don’t have to be unromantic! There are plenty of great activities you can do in and around the house that cost close to nothing and provide wonderful opportunities to bond and deepen your connection. Here are some of our favorites:

Go for a walk (or a bike ride)

Get out and walk! You’ll get some healthy benefits for your body, mind, and marriage.

When the weather is nice, especially from spring – fall, when it’s still sunny out in the evenings, we like to talk a walk around the neighborhood with our puppy, Ripley, leading the way. We’ve seen some amazing sunsets this way, enjoyed watching our pup do her best to chase rabbits, met some neighbors out working on their yards, and talked a lot.

It’s the chance to just be together, as a couple, that makes these so rewarding. We can talk about our day, about upcoming plans, about vacation ideas, whatever comes to mind.

So get up and get outside. The fresh air and exercise is good for you, but the companionship and chance for close communication is even better.

Have a game night.

Board or video, a game night is a great date night activity. Atari, anyone?

Sometimes there is nothing more fun than sitting at home with a bottle of wine over a game of backgammon, Othello, mancala (really fun and under $10) or poker (with wine, this eventually becomes strip poker, but we digress). Whatever your game of choice is (except maybe highly competitive games or violent video games) would work magic. We still have a Wii, and a night of Wii Sports or Tetris can also be great fun.

One of Kari’s favorite Game Night memories is of us playing backgammon by the fire with some soft music playing, and Jeremy kept pouring more wine into her glass when she wasn’t looking (Jeremy doubts very seriously she didn’t notice). Neither one of us can remember if we actually finished that game.

In any event, just keep it non-competitive and just enjoy the quiet fun of a night in with your favorite game. It can definitely lead to a sexy finish (and there are even some games to help you get there, too, if that’s ultimately your goal – Twister comes to mind.)

Jigsaw puzzles

This one is more of a “Kari” thing that eventually pulls Jeremy in (usually because he finally just wants the table back), but we’ve spent many nights working together on a challenging 2,000+ piece jigsaw puzzle. In fact, we’re a day late posting this because we were both engrossed in one last night.

Jigsaw puzzles are cheap and challenging. They cause you to work together but you won’t spend the time really communicating, and that’s what makes them so fun. You are both turning your attention to the challenge at hand, and solving it together, and in the process, you talk and share without even thinking much about it. That makes for a great bonding experience because it’s not forced.

Cook a meal together.

Cooking together greatly enhances the meal together afterward.

Or bake cookies or a cake or something. Jeremy worked in and owned restaurants, so cooking comes pretty naturally to him, and Kari loves to cook and provide a meal for her family.

Once every so often, instead of trading off the chore of cooking, do it together. Pick a meal that you both love and prepare it together with a glass of wine or a beer, and really enjoy the experience of creating something you’ll sit down to enjoy together immediately after.

If you’re not much of a cook, here are some great recipes for cooking together. Or better yet, grab a cookbook of romantic meals to cook together and work through it.

Take a bubble bath

Enough said.

It’s cliche, but it’s oh-so-nice. And go all the way: light some candles, play some sappy love songs, and fill it with bubbles.

Do we really need to belabor the point with this one? Just do it. Often.

Netflix and Chill

Pick an entirely new movie genre to explore together and reserve it for Date Nights.

We’re in our late 40’s now, so by “chill”, we actually mean chill. A movie night may lead to more, but don’t feel pressured to make it. Just enjoy a movie with your spouse.

Here’s a pro tip: pick a film genre you both don’t know much about but think you enjoy. Don’t watch the same old stuff you’ve seen 100 times.

Maybe you want to finally watch all of the works of Alfred Hitchcock, or want to every old monster movie. Maybe Humphrey Bogart or Spencer Tracy or Jimmy Stewart flicks will be your thing. Or maybe agree to watch every movie rated 100 on Rotten Tomatoes.

Get creative. Pop some popcorn and sit back and watch something different than either of you would pick on your own. You’ll have some quality snuggle time, but you’ll also share in new experiences together as you both view something brand new to you. Seeing something new for both of you creates new experiences you’re sharing together.

Fire pit and wine

There is nothing quite like the contrast of cool night air and a warm fire while you enjoy each other’s company.

(Kari just mentioned that there seems to be a prevalence of wine-drinking in our activities. Jeremy has teasingly called her a lush for years. Meanwhile, Kari just poured us both a glass. Don’t judge.)

Obviously, this can be a patio or porch, if you don’t have a fire pit at the ready. And obviously, this can be a soft drink or an iced tea or a beer, or whatever you enjoy sipping.

The point is, get outside and get busy doing absolutely nothing. Don’t bring your phone except to play a little music. Then sit in the cool of the evening and enjoy the company.

We’ve loved this activity both as a couple, as an extended family with our grown children, and with close friends and neighbors. There is just nothing like ending your day with a setting sun, a cool evening breeze, and the simplicity of simply being together.

These are some of our favorite Date Night At Home activities. Share some of yours!