Post written by dates and romance columnist Sean Marshall of Family Rocketship.

A comment on a recent post reads, “I was wondering if anyone had tips for how to get a date night when you really can’t afford to go out, never mind a babysitter, and one of you has to be on-call for the business 18+ hours a day, and the ‘baby’ still doesn’t sleep.”
As I read this comment, I mentally “put it on hold” to ponder it and possibly come up with a good response.
I thought about the challenges this reader mentions. Money is clearly an issue. Finding a babysitter for a baby that doesn’t sleep is another issue. And then the issue of being on-call with work. These are things that we can all relate to in one way or another.
We all know dating in marriage is important. But with these challenges and others, how is it possible to make sure we actually find the time and money to do so?
Here’s a simple solution – the 90 minute date
That’s right. It’s exactly as it sounds. Take 90 minutes to have a dedicated mini-date. It’s kind of like a junior version of a “real date” but with a lot of advantages.
The big advantage is of course the amount of time. You don’t have to worry about getting a babysitter while you’re spending the entire night on the town. You’re only going to be gone for 90 minutes! If you have a kid (or kids), you can simply drop them off at your neighbor’s house – it’s not a big commitment.
Another advantage with the 90 minute date is that you don’t need a lot of money. Going out to a fancy dinner and a show downtown isn’t going to work. Sure, you might be able to do some damage at a mall in that time and if that’s what you you want to do, that’s fine!
The point is, you don’t have to have a lot of money for this to work as you’ll see below in some of the date ideas.
Another big advantage is that with only 90 minutes to work with, you have to get creative. Make it fun! This could actually be just the shot in the arm your dating life needs! Think of it like a challenge. You’ve got an hour and a half to create an awesome date. What are you going to do?
One final advantage to the fast date is that you’re sure to get it done. There’s really no excuses for not being able to spend 90 minutes with each other. Many people spend more time in traffic in their daily commute!
Here are 10 ideas for a 90 minute date
Fast food – yes, it sounds funny but going to your local fast food joint can be fun if it’s intentional. One milkshake, two straws – just like the good old days!
Work out together – if fast food turns you off, maybe working out together would be fun. Many couples enjoy running together, lifting weights, or even yoga.
Shopping spree – if you have the money, go to the mall with a list and see how many things you can knock out in that time.
People watching – don’t have the money? Go to the mall anyway and people watch! The park or the beach are also good places for this. Make up stories about the people walking past.
Massage time – spend 90 minutes giving each other massages. This is a great way to be focused on each other – the whole point of dating.
Quickie – in many cases, massage time can lead to sex. 90 minutes is plenty of time for some meaningful relations. Spice it up by going someplace new – a swanky motel, your car, outdoors, whatever!
Scavenger hunt – hey, most scavenger hunts are timed anyway right? Do your own with a list that one or both of you create. One date can even be spent creating the list and the follow up date is actually doing the hunt.
Dream session – get out a whiteboard or a notebook or your phone and strategize about some goals you want to make. You can discuss health goals or new career goals or even your next vacation.
Picnic – an hour and a half is plenty of time to grab some food and hit the local park or beach. Combine this with people watching or a dream session.
Photo time – take out the box of photos or download them from your camera and create photo albums or hang them on the wall. If you’re like me, you’ve got 5+ GB of photos just sitting on your hard drive. Slap them all together into a movie with some music and you’ve got something to watch on your next date!
The big secret about the 90 minute date is that it’s all about intention.
You can either create excuses or you can find a way to date your spouse. It’s amazingly important. It’s a vital component to a healthy marriage.
Date. Have fun. Make your spouse a priority in your life. When all is said and done, isn’t that the point of it all anyway?
What are your thoughts about the 90 minute date?

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