Maybe it's been a hectic week. Maybe the weather is terrible. Maybe you can't find the car keys to save your life. Whatever the case, there are some times when going out for date night just isn't going to work. You need a plan B, a way to have a fun, meaningful evening with your spouse within the walls of your home.

Date night doesn't have to mean an evening on the town, or spending a lot of money. Sometimes date night can be introspective, adventurous or even industrious - all without ever leaving the house. These ideas will help you get started.

1. Turn your backyard into a 5 star restaurant

This alternative to a backyard picnic may sound like it requires a lot of supplies - and, therefore, a shopping trip out of the house. Not true! Lamps can be plugged in via extension cords. For a swanky table setting, you can use card tables, bed sheets and that nice china no one ever gets to see. The point here is not to make it perfect, but to use a little ingenuity and imagination. Together with your spouse, you can create something special, fun and memorable from the comfort of your own home.

2. Swap roles

At my house, it's generally my job to make dinner and clean up afterward. My husband would love to help, but with his heavy load of graduate school courses it just isn't possible much of the time. However, date night is the perfect opportunity to switch things around. Invite your spouse to do something you usually do while you only assist. I've learned so much about my husband from these experiences (like how he loves to be innovative or how much he enjoys anything pureed). I know and love him better as a result of taking a secondary role in something I usually lead. Plus, it gives me a nice break.

3. Take YouTube dance lessons

The Internet sometimes gets a bad rap for being such an easy way to waste time. However, the Web is also an amazing way for a worldwide audience to access helpful information for little to no cost. You can take advantage of this on your date night at home by searching YouTube for a dance you've always wanted to learn. Type in "waltz beginner dance lessons" and be impressed by the professionalism of these videos. So go on, try it! You and your spouse can learn anything from the Electric slide to the Argentine tango. The World Wide Web is waiting.

4. Be introspective together

This could mean any number of things. For example, on our anniversary, my husband and I will be creating a time capsule. It will include a love letter for each of us to read when we open it again, a list of things we've learned about married life so far, and encouraging words for our future selves. You could also start a journal, complete with prompts for when you get stuck. You could write a bucket list and start planning to accomplish one of the items on it. Whatever you decide, this sort of date often leads to meaningful conversations about ambitions, hopes and goals. You have the responsibility and privilege to champion those aspirations, and the first step is knowing what they are.

5. Get busy

Sometimes date night is a much-needed break. Sometimes, date night is a way to finally catch up on what you need to do! Help each other with something on each person's to-do list that they have been putting off or have been too busy to do. (My husband and I, for instance, recently cleaned the winter grime off of our several pairs of sneakers.) With this kind of date night, not only do you get to finally check off those tasks, but you also get to fall a little deeper in love with your spouse as you remember that you two really do make a great team.

Whether you make your spouse make dinner, dance or just ponder and chat, remember: the most important thing on your to-do list is to love your husband or wife. The most important place to do that is at home - sometimes even on date night.

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