Your job is wearing you down, children take up lot of your time, and there’s only that much time for household chores… if all this means that you and your spouse are unable to give each other undivided attention even for a few select moments a day, then it may be time to schedule in date nights (or days, as the case may be).
“Date night means spending time and giving undivided attention to each other, regardless of what time of the day it is,” according to Enneagram Relationship Coach, Cindy Leong of Relationship Studio. This encompasses even small gestures such as kissing each other goodnight and greeting each other with a kiss in the morning – “falling asleep together as a couple has been a top habit that has ensured the success of many marriages,” says Cindy.
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“Married couples should always have date nights because it will be even harder to do so when the kids come along. If there was no habit of having date nights when there were no kids, it will be even harder to build such a habit when the kids have arrived,” says Cindy.
“When a couple sets up such a habit of having date nights, they are actually telling their partner that they are a priority to them and it’s great that couples can once again rediscover why they love each other in the first place, without the distractions of work and family responsibilities. “
And the best part is that these don’t have to be elaborate or necessarily break the bank – keep the expensive diamonds and chartered flights for more once in a lifetime events, if you must.
Keep things fun and fresh during your dates with these date ideas. The best part? They’re all below $20 or totally free.
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Remember where you went on your first date, or where you first fell in love? Retrace your steps and revisit the place where it all began.
(P.S. If your first date was at a fancy restaurant, you don’t actually have to eat there. Just order a dessert to share or have a drink each, to keep to your $20 budget!)
When was the last time the two of you went to the library without your squalling kids in tow? Make a date at any of our excellent libraries, borrow some romantic literature (better yet, if they come with steamy scenes) and get into the mood, literal-ly.
With a car, you can easily visit places you don’t normally go to. Try a new neighbourhood and explore.
If you already own a bike or a scooter, play explorer with your other half and go exploring with your other half.
No money for a Michelin star experience? No problem. Stretch your dollar by buying top-notch food from Garcons at Essen At The Pinnacle, an atas food court. Garcons serves mod-European cuisine like French Duck Confit and Pan-fried Foie Gras, all under $20. Then stroll over to nearby Duxton Plains and enjoy a breezy picnic and soak in the charms of old Chinatown.
Or a scrapbook. The key word is ‘together’. Working on a mini project together, even if it’s just for a couple of hours, is great for bonding, plus you have a nice end-product to be proud of when you’re done.
Or make any dessert you fancy. Get your hands dirty so the outcome will be so much sweeter. Now eat it in bed as you feed each other – or off each other. Try not to obsess about the crumbs on the bedsheet. You can always wash them.
Abandon the family car. Grab an MRT map, close your eyes and pick a station in a part of Singapore that you’re unfamiliar with. Now take the train – don’t forget to hold hands – and pretend to be broke youngsters during your early courting days. Explore a random, unfamiliar town and enjoy being tourists in your own land.
Or prawning. An hour or two of chilling out with a fishing rod can be a great time to catch up, while (hopefully) catching your dinner.
Again, leave the kids at home. Check out all your favourite animals, share how you used to visit the Farmart Centre. And for once, take photos WITH each other, instead of OF each other (usually with the kids).
The rule of the day: To take as many selfies together (or wefies, if you want to be technical about it) throughout the day, with different backgrounds. Just go out there and explore, and document your little love tour! It’s free, it’s fun and you’ll have an album to look back on and smile about, the next time you check out your camera roll.
With each other, we mean. Pretend you’re a new couple getting to know each other. Ask each other the same questions you’d ask someone at a speed-dating event. Answer as if you’re trying to impress a hot date. You’ll be surprised by the new nuggets you’ll learn about each other!
If your hubby is a durian lover but you’ve never touched the thorny fruit, get out of your comfort zone and try it for his sake. If he usually refuses to go jogging with you, ask him nicely to join you just this once. The idea is to show your partner that you’re willing, and happy, to make a little concession today just because you want to please him.
When was the last time you wrote one? Clear your schedule, head for a comfy and quiet cafe and order a drink each. Then, sit there in front of each other, and pen your love letter. ‘Forcing’ yourself to focus on this love task will help you remember all the sweetest moments that you have shared. Then take turns to read your love letters, and watch the sparkle in your partner’s eyes.
Plan a surprise activity each. You can take the ‘day shift’ while he takes the ‘night shift’. Inform each other about the dress code (for example, bikini, smart casual etc) so you don’t give your partner a nasty surprise if he turns up under dressed. Your only rule – keep to the $20 budget.
Get some cheap acrylic paint, gather some rocks and let those creative juices flow!
Pack a picnic and spend quality time with your other half feeding adorable ducks and swans at The Botanic Gardens.
This one is a fun one and can easily be played at home.
Get a box of Jenga and some permanent markers. Write difficult questions on each block of Jenga and assemble the set as per normal.
Afterwards, take turns answering the questions on the block.
This one might seem expensive but they can be really cheap if you try.
Assign a budget of $10 per person and use the money to buy your pizza topping ingredients.
Afterwards, spend the time trying to make it at home.
Assemble a playlist of movies you both loved growing up. Easy!
Paying $20 or less for games that are older than the ones on your phone may seem strange…until you do it because it’s a total blast.
Arcades focus on mixing physical involvement with traditional gaming which makes for a whole new experience. From bashing animals with mallets to Dance Dance Revolution, it makes for a great night out.
Yes, twerking is all the rage right now, but there are other ways to boogie together. Many community centre dance studios offer tons of dance options for cheap, from salsa lessons and line dancing to fitness-inspired options like Bokwa, a Zumba spin off.
A session of relaxing back work is more than a nice way to #treatyoself after a stressful week at the office or a tough workout. Studies have found that massages can reduce stress, alleviate pain, and improve mood.
Fortunately it’s easy to recreate a pricey spa outing with an essential oil of your choice (lavender is especially calming) and a few lit candles to set the mood. Happy kneading!
Get familiar with the cosmos and head outdoors to see who can spot the North Star first. The Singapore Science Centre also offer public viewings with guided “star tours” and discussions.
Dedicate a day to helping others, whether it’s serving meals at the local food pantry, hanging out with senior citizens, or cleaning up a nearby park. Getting involved for a cause not only benefits the community; it’s a scientifically proven way to score a major happiness boos.
Do good and present your caring side at the same time. There’s nothing more purposeful than being able to make a difference to those in need of help – and doing It together bonds you at a deeper level. If you’re both animal lovers, volunteer your time at a local shelter like Causes for Animals Singapore (CM). The CM Adoption Centre is always in need of helping hands for daily care of the dogs and maintenance of the shelter grounds. Register your interest at causesforanimals.com.
Head out for a hike and take tons of wefies – the beautiful views will also provide awesome backdrops for your Instagram posts! Pack some light snacks to share along the way and spend alone time together immersed in mature. And if you’re up for some off-the-beaten-track adventures, loin an organised hike to explore the long-forgotten areas in Singapore. Email chiefs@ThreePlaygrounds.com to register your interest for free hiking trips, or check out threeplaygrounds.com to discover other urban adventures.
Date night is all about deepening your relationship and intimacy, so heat things up with couple games, which help couples to reconnect by encouraging conversations, fun and romance naturally. If you’re in the mood to head straight down to business, try Strip Bedroom Blocks ($14.99. sextoys.sg). Remember: There are no losers on game night!
The adrenaline from exercise and competitive games boosts attraction, so get your game on in the milltary-themed Battle Zone or the Mystery Room at Tag Team. located at East Coast Park or Downtown East. Walk-in rates are at $15 per mission or $30 for three missions on Wednesdays and Thursdays. or $18 per mission or $36 for three missions on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. Visit tagteaminc.sg for more details.
Miss the days of pen pals and letter-writing? The Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) has a new exhibition from April 11 to Dec 31 2018, You’ve Got Mail!. For the first time in Singapore, a collection of 200 award-winning decorative envelopes from the Washington Calligraphers Guild (USA); and 150 unusual stamps and philatelic materials from the SPM collection and lenders, will be on display. These showcase the beauty of letter-writing, creative envelopes, and even quirky stamps. Visit spm.org.sg for more.
If you and your muse have a bit of an artistic streak, Art Jamming is definitely the way to spend a relaxing afternoon together. Sit yourselves down at some easels and let your imaginations take the lead. Artify Studio’s Liberty Art Jam sessions offer unlimited paint supplies and light refreshments on the side. All you’ll need is a reservation and just a little bit of inspiration. Best of all? This studio operates on a ‘pay as you wish’ system.
Nature lovers and gym rats alike are sure to perk up at the thought of rowing out into open waters with their loved one. Head down to the Water Sports Centre to rent kayaks or canoes, which you can use to have a charged race in the Kallang Basin! Pedal boats are also available for those who prefer a more leisurely and relaxed boat ride. Prices start at $10.80/hr per person.
Who hasn’t seen those stunning pictures of silhouettes against vibrantly projected colours and glittering lights all over Instagram? The ArtScience Museum’s wildly popular Future World digital installations are interactive and pretty awesome, but make sure to also check out collections like Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. and All Possible Paths. $16 to $19 per person.
Want the fun and satisfaction of hooking a big catch, but desperately want to avoid the sweltering heat of the outdoors? At Fun @ Fish’s Bugis+ outlet, Singapore’s one and only air-conditioned prawning and lobster fishing venue, you can have the best of both worlds. Now you can catch and cook those delicious prawns with your beau, without worrying about sweating off your makeup! $18/hr per person.
Remember the carefree days of playing on trampolines as a child? Recreate those memories with your date at AMPED Singapore – where over 5,000 square feet of trampolines, foam pits and even a ninja warrior course is available. The best part? You’ll get to burn off tons of calories while having fun! $12 to $18/hr per person.
Instead of booking a dinner reservation and splurging on a pricey meal, why not forgo the packed restaurant altogether and have yourself a good ol’ picnic? We’d recommend bringing along a spread (wine and cheese, if you want to be fancy) to enjoy on a big blanket at The Botanic Gardens. After all, the UNESCO World Heritage Site often has free concerts to enjoy and plenty of picturesque sitting spaces to choose from and it’s all FREE!
It’s always delightful to explore places with your partner, and it only gets more enjoyable on a bike! While there are many parks and trails worth trying out in Singapore, Woodlands Waterfront is a unique spot not to be missed. Overlooking the sea, the sizeable park has a 1.5 km-long waterfront promenade, a beautiful jetty (that offers a great backdrop for snapping wefies) and even a restaurant with a view. A great way to leisurely while away the time with someone you love.
Most people go to the Esplanade to catch a show or eat at its many restaurants or capture tits durian-shaped dome on their cameras. Dwell in a bit deeper – and higher – into the structure to the rooftop. It has a viewing platform, from where you can take in the lights from the CBD area or just sit and catch up with each other under the stars. Grab an ice-cream from Leeu SG (there’s also Orgo if you feel like grabbing a drink).
Cooking a meal together is surely a surefire way for couples to bond. For something even better and very wallet friendly, brew your own beer. Get one of those at-home brewing kits and spend quality time mixing it up and enjoying the results. Throw in a simple meal for effect. Get your own fun bottles to store them in and label it – make it something you will remember. From $180, for 23 l, at ibrew.com.sg
From Archie comics to Grease, there’s no denying that there’s something so romantic and intimate about a Drive-in movie. Movie Mob’s monthly outdoor movie screenings are the closest to get into that mood on our shores. What makes it even more romantic is that their venues change as much as the movies they screen, so there’s a chance you might be able to catch a movie while huddled in your car as well – a la Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko. And, admission is free – they even throw in drinks and popcorn at times. That’s a cheap date, but who’s complaining? Visit facebook.com/pg/apemoviemob for the next schedule.
Himanshu Mehta, who works at Singapore Changi Airport shares about her date night at NSRCC Sea Sports Centre: “One of the most memorable dates we’ve had is going to the NSRCC Sea Sports Centre in Tanah Merah where you get to see all the aircrafts preparing to land. Also good food and no crowds. After food, we took a long walk around the club and then sat on the wooden benches there looking at the aircrafts coming every five minutes. Watching the landing gears opening on top of our heads and seeing the flights land was an exhilarating experience.”
Order an at-home spa kit and spend precious couple time. Don’t forget the wine, chocolates and aroma candles. Nothing incites sharing and caring conversation than relaxed body and mind. Available from $27, at Amazon or Bodyshop.
We mean, go to a bookstore – e-books are convenient, but shortchange on the experience. Especially when you are making holiday plans, go to a bookstore to pick up a physical travel guide and indulge in banter. You will get to know more about your “travel partner” this way and might just rekindle some fond memories. After all, if Hollywood is anything to go by, the most romantic unions and reunions have happened in a book store.
Troll all the photo-booths around the island – you will be surprised how many you will come across when you actually go looking for them. Almost every MRT station and most malls have it (one day isn’t going to cover it). Take fun, photos with each other. This will be one section of your photo album (yes, they do exist) you will be keen to revisit – fondly.
Learn to play an instrument in three hours well not entirely, but enough to be able to sign select songs to each other. TravelClef conducts workshop-style music lessons working with the objective to making learning music easy as well as fun and they offer a wide range of instruments. One session with them will arm you with the chords to belt out at least five popular, and romantic, songs. Imagine the jam session you can have at home for your next date night. Visit travelclef.com
Banker Sharon Dias was at the receiving end of one such memorable surprise from her husband: “I was at work and I received this voice message with instructions not to go home after work, but straight to a destination… for a surprise dinner and check-in to Fairmont Singapore. It’s one of the most unforgettable dates I have had with my husband.”
Explore Singapore. No not by car, bus or train, but in a vintage Vespa, complete with a sidecar. It will be like stepping into a time machine and going back to the ’50s. Singapore Sidecars offers the most unique Vespa tours with the option of self-drive date rides. Being a social enterprise, all proceeds go towards the many charities they support. From $160 for 60 mins. Visit sideways.sg for the ride of your life.
Looking to just chill and catch up over drinks, why not do it 39 floors high? Mr Stork located on top of Andaz. Sit amidst lush greenery in a teepee, sipping delicious cocktails or do a Sleepless in Seattle Singapore-style, and grab 360 degrees views of the city from the bar’s observatory corner.
The players and the subject of this game: You and your hubby. Downloadable on iOS and Android, this game app will shoot questions about many different topics that will help couples learn more about each other, as well as put out challenges that are equal parts funny and sexy. Warning: Be prepared for some tension as each may realise how little the other knows about you. Available free with in-app purchases.
Doing a strenuous activity as a couple is known to foster close bonds. But what if the activity goes against gravity and relies on your partner to support you? Acroyoga involves taking yoga moves and poses from the ground to the air. Done with a partner, it’s all about coordination – not to mention trust – and “understanding your body as a flyer, on the ground and on your partner’s feet” well, if that doesn’t strengthen bonds, nothing else can. Visit freedomyoga.sg