There are many ways to continue to cultivate a godly and healthy marriage while in seminary. Just one of many ways to do so is to have intentional date night at least every other week (or once a week if possible)! It is true that seminary can be a difficult time financially for many couples, however, there are many date night options for couples that cost little to nothing at all. Here are a few ideas:
Cheap Treats and Meals Out. Though this is a typical date night, it can be so nice in seminary to get out of the house and away from campus. This can quickly be costly but there are a lot of ways to keep it cheap!
You should check various restaurants in the area around your seminary and see if they give seminary discounts or have any specials. For example, the Chick-Fil-A on AltaMesa here in Fort Worth (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) has two offers every Monday that seminary students can take advantage of. With a seminary ID, you can buy a medium fry and drink and get a free entree. Or if you show a church bulletin, you get a buy one get one free original chicken sandwich.
Many places will offer free or low price food during certain hours each week, ask around and check online for these types of deals around your school. There is also an app here around Fort Worth for a local college that anyone can download called “Frog Saver” that provides a variety of coupons.
A good idea is to start signing up for e-mails from any places you like to go or would like to go and often they will provide you with coupons just for signing up. You can always take a trip out for some ice cream or dessert to share as a low cost way to spend some one-on-one time with your spouse. Many places around the area of your school offer discounts to seminary students- you just have to ask!
At Home Dates. Living Room Camp Out. Pull your mattress into the living room and “camp out.” Grab a bowl of popcorn, soda, and/or candy and make it a movie night! After a hectic week of school and working, my husband and I often feel like passing on a night out and instead “bumming out” at home. A night like this is the perfect way to rest and recoup yet still be intentional in your time with one another.
Maybe you both love nothing more than a good book, if so then make some homemade hot chocolate and snuggle up and read to each other instead.
Cook Together. My husband and I are food people so many of our dates involve food in some form or fashion. But this is a way to spend quality time, enjoy a good meal, and create memories together. Try looking on Pinterest at various recipes and select together a meal and/or a dessert that the two of you would really like to try. Then, go to the store together and purchase all the needed items for the recipes and fix it together! You can enjoy conversation as you shop, prepare the meal, and then enjoy your creation.
On Campus Events. Our school, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, frequently hosts different events on campus. These events often offer free food or snacks and some sort of activity like a movie night, game night, etc. They cost nothing to you yet present a great opportunity to have fun with your spouse, get out of the house, and enjoy some godly community.
The school also offers various concerts or conferences throughout the year with discounted or free tickets to students that is an easy way to set aside some time to go do something fun and also productive with your spouse! Check your seminaries website or social media to see upcoming events they may be offering.
Get Outdoors. I don’t know about you and your spouse, but 98% of our time in seminary is spent indoors. We are either in class, studying at home or in the library, or indoors at either of our work places.
Taking time to get outdoors with your spouse not only is a way to spend some great quality time together but is also a very needed change of scenery. There are a variety of things you can do to get outside, here a few (outside of merely conversing on a nice walk together) that you might not of thought of:
Nerf Gun War. Yes, you read that right. Some friends of ours admitted recently that they asked for Nerf guns for themselves for their birthday so that they could have Nerf Gun wars together. It sounds silly, but if you are competitive like me- it can be a blast! You could always go to a local park or play around the seminary campus. You’ll be surprised how hilariously fun it can be and how many memories you can create! If it’s summertime, try substituting water guns for the Nerf Guns.
Exercise and Picnic. Whether it be a run around the campus, riding bikes, or even a trip to the gym followed with a picnic, it is a great way to relieve the tension of the semester, feel physically better, get outside, and spend some quality time with your spouse! Even if the exercise is strenuous or does not allow for conversation, when followed by a picnic it provides some good interactive time with one another.
There may also be places around your town that offer discounted days on activities. For example, the Fort Worth zoo offers half price tickets every Wednesday! What an easy way to get out, do something different, spend time with your spouse, and stay under your budget.
You can also check sites like Groupon to find local deals in your area. Here in Fort Worth, there is often Groupon deals for low cost drive-in movie tickets but you can always find deals for various outdoor activities that fit your budget!
No matter the activity, just getting outside will be refreshing and a great way to focus your attention on your spouse apart from schoolwork.
20 Questions. If you know me, it’s no secret I love good conversation so I have so enjoyed this type of activity with my husband! There are a variety of questionnaire’s online that provide questions for your spouse and you to both answer ranging from the more serious conversations to “If you could have any superpower which would it be and why?”
The questions can be so cheesy but end up being a great time of laughter and connecting with your spouse. You will laugh at your answers for some time to come and have fun learning about your spouse in a new way. This is also a fun thing to do over one of your cheap meals mentioned above, especially if you feel you need to talk about something outside of school. If not, you can always fix up a small treat and snack as you chat. You don’t have to have a questionnaire to ask questions either, maybe you simply ask your spouse their thoughts on a particular topic you studied in class and then spend time discussing it. Just being intentional about cultivating a healthy marriage is the point so whatever helps you two in that works!
As you can see, the possibilities for date night are endless.
Pinterest and Google are full of various ideas but just make sure that if you have different interests that your date line-up includes activities that both would enjoy. If you find yourself short on time, try to take one night at the beginning of each month to schedule in your date nights and come up with the activities you will do on each night.
As your heart desires to continue to grow your marriage, you will see that God will help to create the time for you. Prioritize God and then your marriage and He will be faithful to see you through.
By Macy Tyler. Macy is a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary working on her Masters of Arts in Biblical Counseling. She is passionate about teaching and counseling women and guiding them to deeper relationship with Christ. She is married to Trey who is also studying at Southwestern and is working on his Masters of Arts in Christian Education. Macy and Trey are seeking to church plant in the future wherever God may lead.