How to Date Better!
Dates for deeper connection, better conversations, and more fun.
I know we are supposed to set aside time each week to date our significant other, but actually doing so is easier said than done. Even when you do have time, a sitter lined up and the energy, then there’s the question of “What do we want to do?” When the typical dinner and a movie doesn’t help build connection, where do you turn? You turn to two millennials of course!
My husband and I rose to the occasion to solve the “What do we do?” date night dilemma for you! We very scientifically brainstormed, troubleshot, tested, and retested dates to offer you our 6 best. We decided each date would need an element of connection, interesting food, and something silly or childish to make it Date Better worthy. The hope is that our Better Dates would help us feel closer, feel fuller (literally and figuratively) and feel like kids again.
Each month for the next 6 months, tune in for a specifically crafted and tested date idea that emphasizes connection, communication, and fun! Not all dates made the cut, so keep reading to find out which ones did, and why.
Date #1 Candles and Candy
To kick off our Better Date, we visited Sense by the Falls, a candle-making bar in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. To our surprise, no reservations were necessary. The process for candle making was easy. First, we smelled all of the scents they had to offer. Next, we decided to choose meaningful scents that reminded us of the other person. Once we figured out our scents, the AMAZING staff helped us pour the oil and wax into the molds. It was so much fun! The candle creation process required a 5-minute time period of stirring to ensure that the wax and oils were fully incorporated. During this time, we started into some meaningful conversation about how we have seen each other and our relationship changed positively over the last year. Here are some questions to get you started.
- How have you seen me grow?
- What is something you are proud of that we have accomplished?
- What can we do now that we couldn’t before?
While we waited for our candles to set, we walked down to Butcher & Sprout to grab a bite. Dining out is always an easy, go-to option for dates, but sometimes the conversation can be less than stimulating. Over dinner, we put effort into talking about the future together. We explored what we were excited about in the near and far future and discussed dreams that we have. Here are some questions to get you started.
- What are you most looking forward to this year?
- If you could start a business with me, what kind of business would you start?
- When we retire, where do you want to live and what do you want to do for fun?
- What is a dream or goal of yours that I don’t know about?
After dinner and conversation, we continued walking down Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls, and ended up at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop. This may be the single greatest place on earth. It was at Grandpa Joe’s that our silly element of the date took place- we played Candy Bracket. What is candy bracket? It’s just like a March Madness Bracket but with candy! Looking over the selection, we each picked 6 candies that we had never tried before. After candy shopping, and picking up our cured and aromatic candles, we headed home to do our Candy Bracket. We randomly drew candy to compete against each other and discover the best of the new-to-us candies. We tried each and voted until we had a winner! This was honestly hilarious because when I say some candies are gross, I mean absolutely terrible. Just simply disgusting. As we wrapped up our evening, our sides hurt from the many laughs and spit-takes!
Grand Total for Date Night #1: $103.96
Candle Making: $42.80
Dinner Out: $39.98
Candy Fun: $21.18
Grand Total: $103.96
At the end of the day, we spent 5 hours of our time together and $103.96 on this date. This worked for us, however, this might not work for everyone. Here are a couple of ways to make your date night fit just right for you.
Budget friendly, time sensitive and other better date options
On a budget?
There are easy ways to make this date more affordable, such as choosing a different restaurant or eating at home. You choose whatever fits your budget. If you lack the oomph to plan, here are a few options that cut our $103 date night tab nearly in half.
- Candle Making at Home. You can save money by choosing to make your candle at home! This kit has everything you need to make four candles. You can also purchase extra oils for more scent options ($32.97 with the extra oils).
- Happy Hour or After Dinner Cocktails. Instead of dining out, you could plan an early date and find a spot with a Happy Hour for deals on appetizers and cocktails. If you are a night owl like me, head out after dinner for candle making and have dessert or a night cap after. Here are some of our favorite local spots for happy hour or dessert and after-dinner coffee or drinks:
- Crafted Candy Box. Finally, instead of choosing your candy from a candy store, opt for a crafted random candy box like this one and let the fates decide what you get. Or hit up a bulk by-the-pound store to only pay for what you choose in bite-size amounts.
Budget Friendly Date Grand Total: $65.94
Candle Making Kit: $24.99
3 Happy Hour Apps: $27.00
Crafted Candy Box: $13.95
Grand Total: $65.94
Short on Time?
If you don’t have 5 hours, feel free to pick and choose which parts of a date you would like to do. Here are some ways to make the date shorter but still worth it!
- Opt to go to a candle store and choose a candle that makes you think of the other person.
- Break up the date items into time frames that work for your schedule.
- Multi-task by eating snacks at Scense By the Falls (just be careful to not eat the candles, even though they smell like you could).
- Change your candy bracket to a candy ranking to alleviate trying the candy multiple times. Try it once, then rank it.
Not into Candles or Candy?
Last but not least, we recognize that not every couple will jive with candle making or trying candy they don’t feel safe eating. That is completely okay. Here is a way to make this date sensory-safe for you! Choose to create something that you enjoy the sensory of. In our many date trials, we gave pour paintings a try. It’s simple- you layer inexpensive acrylic paint in a cup and pour it over a small canvas. We chose colors that we thought represented the other person. Once the paintings dried, we hung them up in our home!
An option for candy bracket is to purchase candy you already know you like. Put your favorites to the test and use the bracket to discover which candy reigns supreme!
The Date Better Challenge
This is just date #1 on our 6-date adventure! We dare you to try one, some of them, or all of them and let us know what you enjoyed the most! Dates should be something to look forward to and be excited about. Marriage is hard enough without asking “What do you want to do?” about a date night. We challenge you to give Date 1 a try! Our hope is that you date better, connect more and enjoy your time together.
For more great Better Date conversation topics, check out our resources page for book titles to help you dive deeper.
Rachel is trained in Trauma Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma story-building. Rachel works to continually build her education and dedication to the counseling field. She is married to her husband Scott. Rachel and Scott are on a foster-to-adopt journey and are excited to welcome new family members!