Your job is wearing you down, children take up a 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,” she says.
“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 makes it a point to schedule in date nights, they are indirectly telling their partner that they are a priority and as Cindy stresses, it’s a great opportunity for couples to rediscover why they love each other in the first place, without the distractions of work and family responsibilities. The four women who shared their date experiences here stand testament to that.
The best part is that these don’t have to be elaborate or necessarily break the bank – no expensive diamonds or chartered flights needed.
So why don’t you…?
WATCH THE CITY LIGHTS
Most people go to the Esplanade to catch a show or eat at its many restaurants or capture its durianshaped 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 while at it – there’s also Orgo if you feel like grabbing a drink.
BREW YOUR OWN
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. Get your own fun, airtight bottles to store them in and label them – make it something you will remember. From $180, for 23 l, at ibrew.com.sg
HAVE A DRIVE-IN ROMANCE
From Archie 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.
HAVE A SPA PARTY AT HOME
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 a relaxed body and mind. Available from $27, from Amazon or The Body Shop.
GO PLANE- WATCHING
Himanshu Mehta who works at Singapore Changi Airport shares about her date night at NSRCC Sea Sports Centre in Tanah Merah: “It’s where you get to see all the aircrafts preparing to land. 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 made it very memorable.”
WALK BETWEEN SHELVES
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 it might just rekindle some fond memories. After all, if Hollywood movies are anything to go by, the most romantic unions and reunions have happened in a bookstore.
MAKE MUSIC TOGETHER
Learn to play an instrument in three hours – well, maybe not entirely, but enough to be able to sing some songs to each other. TravelClef conducts workshop-style music lessons designed to make 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
SNAPSHOT YOUR TIME
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.
PLAN A… SURPRISE!
Banker Sharon Dias was at the receiving end of one such memorable surprise from her husband: “I was at work and 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.”
HAVE A RETRO DATE
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 (below) 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.
BOOK A COOKING CLASS
Marketing Consultant and cooking enthusiast Koh Ai Ling shares her experience. “After my first trip to Vietnam, my husband surprised me with a private Vietnamese cooking class. What made it even more memorable was that it involved the both of us cooking together under the supervision of the instructor. I got to try my hand at rolling spring rolls, making the pho stock from scratch, and we even attempted making Vietnamese desserts. I’ll always remember the sense of joy and pride when we shared our meal together after that.”
COSY UP IN A TEEPEE
Looking to just chill and catch up over drinks? Why not do it 39 floors high? At 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- degree views of the city from the bar’s observatory corner. Visit hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/ singapore/andaz-singapore
HAVE A BEACH ROMANCE
Go glamping. Camping is always fun, but it’s a lot of prep before the fun, not to mention sleeping on the hard ground. Set those worries aside and book with Glamping Society (above) that offers a themed camping experience at a venue of your choice – even your backyard. Think a large chic tent, fluffy pillows, gourmet picnic, fairy lights and a lot of romance in the air. From $270, from glampingsociety.com
HAVE A SENSORIAL EXPERIENCE…
… dine in the dark. Nox – Dine in the Dark is the perfect space for couple time as there will be no other things distracting you – except the delicious European fare, which, by the way, is kept a secret. Start your date with cocktails at the lit bar area and you will be taken to the totally dark dining area by the blind waiters. Whether it is time spent figuring out what each of you is savouring, or trying to visualise what living in total darkness would feel like, it’s undivided attention to each other. From $88 per pax. Visit noxdineinthedark.com to plan your “blind date”.
PLAY A QUIZ GAME
The players and the subject of this game: You and your hubby. Available for download on iOS and Android, the Happy Couple game 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 you may realise just how little you know of the other. Available free with in-app purchases.
That’s a feel-good date like no other. As they say, couples who volunteer together stick together. Bonding over a good cause is said to deepen a couple’s feelings for each other while making them grateful for what they have. Log on to zeles.sg to find a cause that speaks most to you.
CATCH EACH OTHER
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 at Freedom Yoga (below) 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
RECREATE YOUR FIRST DATE TOGETHER
Take it up another notch to even wear something that closely resembles what you wore. That should be simple enough to do. It’s sure to bring on a flood of memories – and fresh new ideas.
EXPLORE WITH YOUR LENS
Take a camera, and head to a neighborhood you don’t know well, and start exploring, snapping photos along the way. Later, when you compare notes, you may be surprised at how differently your partner views the same thing.
WATCH A SILLY MOVIE
Marianne Wee Slater, Founder Director of Smitten PR, recalls one from last December: “Ben got us tickets to a film called The Room at The Projector. I had no idea what the film was about so I went with low expectations, but it turned out to be the most hilarious film we’d ever seen. It’s a cult film and an interactive screening (it’s supposed to be the worst film ever made), so we were given plastic spoons to throw at the screen and people were singing along to the terrible music in it. We were in tears from laughter the whole night, got to drink beers during the screening and had a ton of fun. Such a great cathartic experience to just laugh like banshees all night!”