"date night on a budget"By Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario, America’s Marriage Doctor

It may be “The Most Glorious Time of the Year” but planning romantic time with your hubby isn’t the easiest thing to do during the holiday season. With all the holiday shopping you have to do, you may think you don’t have the time or money to plan a romantic experience with your spouse. But date night doesn’t have to be a strain on your time or your finances. Here are three creative ways to have date night on a budget during the holiday season that are easy to do and won’t break the bank.

Date Night: Giving

Tis the season, and what better way to show your mate how much you care than to give the gift of giving?”

Too often couples get wrapped up in the daily grind of managing responsibilities. He picks up the kids from school. She cooks dinner. He takes out the trash. She washes the dishes. There is a danger of allowing your daily routines to drive a wedge between you and your mate. Things become worse during the holiday season, when you’re spending so much time running around trying to get everything “ready” that you forget to take the time out to just enjoy being with your life partner.

A simple 4-hour exercise in which you give completely to your partner will help get you back on track. This is such a simple exercise, but it can drastically ramp up the romance factor in your relationship while also giving you a new appreciation for your mate. Really, its an exercise in submission. Spend a whole day serving your partner. That means that whatever your partner wants, you are ready to do. As you might imagine, the requests can range from the truly mundane to the truly sensual.

During the gift-giving season, this exercise will transform the way you think about giving and taking in the relationship. This is the real revelation of this whole exercise. It’s amazing how much of the things our partners do for us that we take for granted. We stop saying thank you and instead start thinking that we are automatically entitled to those small acts of consideration that let us know we are loved. Instead we focus on the big gestures and forget about the million small ones we receive from our partner every day. Voltaire said: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” A little appreciation goes a long way in a marriage.  Acknowledge your partner by telling them how much you appreciate everything that they are doing today and every other day of your lives together.

Date Night: Create Musical CD

Are you tired of hearing “Here Comes Santa Claus” every time you turn on the radio? It’s not that you’re a Scrooge or anything, but enough already! Jingle Bells has been stuck in your head for the last 6 weeks.

This activity takes the ability of music to evoke strong emotions and channels it into a “nostalgia date” for you and your mate. It was Bill Cosby who said: “The heart of marriage is memories.” This activity is designed to help you and your mate take a walk down memory lane so you can relive and appreciate the wonderful experiences you’ve shared.

During this activity, you and your mate will make a musical soundtrack of some of the most special moments of your lives together. As you select and listen to the songs on your CD, not only will you get a break from the “Holly, Jolly Christmas” tunes on heavy rotation but you’ll also get to reminisce about all the wonderful times you’ve shared together. Warm memories will come flooding back and the love you feel for your partner will be reinvigorated as you marvel at the journey you have taken together and all the wonderful things you have experienced. You may even want to keep the vibe going by slow dancing cheek to cheek with your hubbie. It may be cold outside but it will be warm inside as you heat up the moment with a few caresses and romantic dance moves

Best of all, your CD-creating session will become a new cherished memory for the both of you. You’ll be able to pop it in every time you need a pick-me-up or need to be reminded why you fell in love with your mate in the first place. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Date Night: Take A Romantic Bath

What better way to amp up the romance factor with your mate than to plan a nice, long, leisurely romantic bath for the two of you?

If you have children, make arrangements to get the kids out of the house so you can plan to have your romantic bath without the threat of interruption. Hire a babysitter to take the kids out to a movie or cart them “over the river and through the woods” to grandma’s.  Please remember to clean your bathroom. This should go without saying, but maybe not. Nothing can ruin a romantic mood quicker than ring-around-the tub. To create a romantic atmosphere, light candles and play soft music in the background.

Add essential oils or a scented bubble bath to your running bath water. Lavender oil is especially relaxing. As you relax in the bath together, talk, touch, bathe each other and just enjoy the time you’re sharing. Wine can greatly enhance your relaxation quotient–choose something light and refreshing to sip on as you enjoy your romantic bath.

Choose large, soft towels for you and your spouse to use after your bath. Pre-heat them in the clothes dryer for a few minutes before your bath for an added touch.

Think holistically and show some initiative by changing the sheets on your bed. Nothing feels better after a hot, relaxing bath than cool satin sheets. If you want to follow your romantic bath with an evening of passionate lovemaking satin sheets will help you close the deal. You might even wake up to a Winter Wonderland.

“America’s Marriage Doctor” Jacqueline Del Rosario is President and CEO of Recapturing the Vision International, an organization dedicated to promoting healthy marriages and family strengthening. Also a published author, speaker and nationally regarded media personality, Dr. Del Rosario has been a certified pre and post-marital counselor for more than 20 years. Her cutting-edge series, Marriage Solutions and The Marital Constitution™, help couples successfully work through problems and find healthy solutions. She has two children and currently resides in Miami, Fl with her husband of over 20 years. Dr. Del Rosario may be reached online at www.doctordelrosario.com

This article is excerpted from the Holiday Gift Guide for 2011 . Be sure and check it out and read other articles about the holidays. It’s also great to add to your online shopping experience! While you are at it check out EdenFlorist.com – delivering flowers anywhere this holiday season!

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