My Favorite Long Distance Date Nights
That #LDRlife is a struggle sometimes. While some couples are actually within a drive-able vicinity of each other and can go do simple things like go to a movie theater together, casually relax together, meet up at random, go to fun festivals or events in the neighborhood, get outside and hike or do fun activities together... we did not have that luxury.
After Matt and I made it official, he left for school six weeks later and we were long distance until he came back just over a month ago. It's fun to FaceTime now if we didn't get a chance to see each other during the day and appreciate all those nights where we were really apart. Because really, for most of our relationship, this is how I saw him (minus the asleep part):
Long distance dates forced us to think out of the box a lot more than I probably would have if he was always here. Being apart, we made a goal to have a date night at least once a week. And we would trade off each week on who planned it. There were some exceptions — like if one of us was having a particularly stressful week then maybe the other one would take over. Or if it was really crazy, we might not have a date night at all. That was always hard for me in the end though because I've learned that quality time is super important for me.
The other tough thing was trying to not have all of our dates at night or within the confines of our rooms. That actually was made a little easier with this Marco Polo app that a friend introduced me to. It's very similar to Snapchat, but the videos can be any length of time, and they don't disappear. Matt refuses to get a Snapchat so when I realized we could use this it was kind of a #hallelujah moment. We were able to see each of our lives outside of the house. It felt really nice.
Sometimes our dates were just as simple as watching a movie together&apart — picking a movie on Netflix and timing it to start at the same time. We got really good at this.
We also did this 800 question thing as part of our date nights. We got kind of bored after awhile, so we are still about halfway through and would trade off asking & answering every 100 questions. But now we actually have this awesome book that my friend Ashley gave us called "Q&A a Day: 3–Year Journal for 2 People." I would say that's pretty self-explanatory, but it's been a fun activity at the end of each day to ask each other the same question. I'm looking forward to next year as it starts overlapping what our answers were before marriage and then after.
The following are the more creative sets of date nights we shared and both loved.
When we went to Hawaii (imaginarily speaking)
We both really wanted to go to on vacation (who doesn't?) so I made this all-inclusive trip for us!
It started out with an email with an attachment to Matt in the morning:
Followed by an additional email:
Congratulations again on winning this virtual trip!
Your trip has been delayed to 10am MST due to unexpected weather difficulties and waking up difficulties.
Please respond to this message with the following:
- Chosen destination
- Ten items you would take with you if you only had ten minutes to pack
- Download https://www.join.me/
- Once you finish the download, create a stickman story:http://www.drawastickman.com/episode1?o=76-79-86-69-32-75-78-79-87-83-32-78-79s68-73-83-84-65-78-67-69-33-32-32
Destination: Honolulu, Hawaii
- My old Book of Mormon so we can read
- Backpacking backpack w/supplies
- Hammock (camp on the beach!)
- Water Bottles
- Bill Gate's debit card
- MacBook (to watch movies)
- Oh yah, clothes
- Tissues (it's gonna be so beautiful I'll probably cry)
There ya go!
This is where we started those 800 questions. On an imaginary 6+ hour flight.
On the trip
To create the trip, we used resources like Google Earth, Earth Album, 360 cities, and just looked up and talked about the things we would do. Using Google Earth, after we had planned where we'd be, we would take the routes we wanted. The Join Me software I had him download beforehand allowed us to share our screens so we could see everything at the same time.
An additional aspect I included that made us laugh a lot and was actually really fun(ny) was the 3 Word Story Game. Essentially, you create a story together 3 words at a time, which was sort of the story of what the trip came to be.
On the plane ride back:
We listened to some inspirational TED talks:
As a souvenir:
And that is how you go to Hawaii without actually going to Hawaii.
When we built a house
First, we had to agree on the style of house we wanted, and then on the floorplan. Which was a lot trickier than I anticipated. Once we decided on that, we used this website to construct it! It honestly took us so long to research house styles and floorplans that we barely made it to the constructing part — it's still in the works.
When we gained knowledge
Matt had a really fun game where you each pick a noun without telling each other. Decide on who will be the start word and who will be the finish word. When you're both ready, tell each other the words, and then, using only Wikipedia, try to find a path to link the two words.
The first person to get from one word to the next wins!
When Matt went to a museum
This date night was really sweet to me. I had had a rough day, and I really just wanted to come home, relax, and mostly cry. I don't even remember why. Matt had organized this date night in a way that he could tell me a story and make me feel like I had gone with him on a trip to a local museum. He specifically went to the Springville Museum of Art. He described the museum, showed me pictures of it and then we "went inside".
As he went through each art piece, he told me the background information of the piece and what stood out to him, and we discussed how it was meaningful to us. A lot of the art had a spiritual meaning behind it, and there was one in particular that I really loved and felt such an appreciation for. It was what I needed to see and hear that day.
You could really explore any museum or festival, take pictures, and share it with your significant other. I think the difference Matt made between experiencing something and telling me about it later versus creating an experience and sharing it with me was he had me in mind as he did these things. He went to the museum by himself and took pictures specifically to share with me later.
When we learned about another culture
For Chinese New Year, I planned our date to understand what Chinese New Year represented, and why it was after the typical time most cultures celebrate a new year. We researched information through websites about the background, and then learned about what's to come in the Year of the Rooster.
When we were our own disc jockeys
Matt nominated me to be his co-host on our own radio talk show.
We went through a top ten countdown with each of us taking turns of our song selection. It included commentary, lip-syncing (my favorite was when Matt busted out on selection #2), and lots of shoulder dancing (since we were sitting down).
Our official top ten countdown was:
10. "Do You Believe In Love" - Huey Lewis and the News
09. "Perfect" - Ed Sheeran
08. "I Got You" - Jack Johnson
07. "God Only Knows" - The Beach Boys
06. "I've Got This Friend" - Civil Wars
05. "Sweet Pea" - Amos Lee
04. "You're The One That I Want" - Grease
03. "My Heart Will Go On" - Celine Dion
02. "I Want It That Way" - The Backstreet Boys
01. "Better Together" - Jack Johnson
When Matt taught me how to make a bologna sandwich (the right way)
He had me get bologna, made sure I had bread and mustard, and told me how to fry bologna. I actually never ate bologna until I met Matt. Not that he's full of it, but it's cheap and it's pretty good! I've also never really liked mustard until about a year ago.
After we both made it at the same time, we ate together after.
(You could really learn to cook anything together. You could even send the other person the ingredients beforehand if it's not perishable.)
Bonus: (Because you're probably singing this in your head like I am anyways)
When we got some dessert together
Our favorite ice cream place in Nashville is Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. It's even where Matt and I had our first date!
And our favorite ice cream place in Provo is BYU Creamery. So I Venmoed Matt some coinage and we went off to "meet" each other at the ice cream places. We FaceTimed after we got our ice creams and ate together.
To be completely honest, it was slightly strange to be FaceTiming someone in an ice cream place, but it was worth getting out of the house and also... who can say no to ice cream?
When we went to the theater
This was another date where I tried to do something outside our confined rooms. We had both been wanting to see "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" so I looked up showtimes at the nearest theater to him, and the nearest theater to me to find a time that would match up with each other. Once I did that, I purchased the tickets online and sent him the verified email.
We both went, talked to each other until we got our seats and the lights went down and then called each other when the movie was over to talk about it. It was kind of fun knowing we were watching something at the exact same time, and it offered a little something different to our regular date nights.
When we watched a concert together
Matt took me to a Lady Antebellum concert via YouTube! It was great because it's like you get front row seats and all those camera angles haha. But it really was kind of fun because we could watch and talk about it. You could compose various artists and make your customized concert experience as well.
When we went back in time: 80's Nights
Matt loves the 80's. The 1980's to be exact. So I planned a couple date nights around that era.
For this one, I even mailed him something in advance! Which is really a huge accomplishment to think that far ahead.
Introduction: I had him watch this fun video to test his own '80s knowledge.
We (almost) made record bowls! To be honest, we didn't actually do this part, and my mini records that I bought from Goodwill for 25 cents are still on the kitchen counter ready to reach their new potential. I missed the part about having a bowl that would be ok to put in the oven — Matt didn't have one. So we skipped this part ready to conquer it in these upcoming days on his return. Instructions here.
While that was going to be heating...
We played (80's) MAD LIBS!!
I couldn't find any pre-made ones so I took some '80s songs and had Matt come up with words. Here's some results (his answers in parenthesis with the actual word next to it):
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Whitney Houston)
Oh! I wanna (V-run)dance with (N-Tennessee)somebody
I wanna feel the heat with (N-bougeoisie)somebody
Yeah! I wanna (V-jump)dance with (N-banana)somebody
With (N-Tennessee)somebody who loves me
Pour Some Sugar on Me
C'mon, take a (N-tube)bottle, (V-dunk)shake it up
(V-steal)Break the (N-hand)bubble, (V same)break it up
(V-Fall)Pour some (N-lamp)sugar on me
Ooh, in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C'mon, (N-China)fire me up
Pour your sugar on me
Oh, I can't get enough
I'm (A-curly)hot, (A purple)sticky (A fast)sweet
From my (N body part-teeth)head to my (body part-nose)feet, yeah
Don't Stop Believin'
Just a (A-blue)small town (N-beetle)girl
Livin' in a (A-straight)lonely world
(N-she)She took the (A-digital)midnight train
Just a (A-wild)city boy
Born and raised in (Place-mountains)South Detroit
He took the (A-right)midnight train
A (profession-lawyer)singer in a (A-dark)smokey room
The smell of (N-donald trump)wine and (A-flat)cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on
In another 80's themed date night, we played games from the 80's including (my favorite) Ms. Pacman and Frogger using this website. And then I let Matt pick between a couple 80's movies on Netflix and decided on "Can't Buy Me Love". (Movies are always a nice way to end the night it seems because after we've done some activity together, we can relax and watch it.)
Long distance can be daunting, but it can also be fun! Hope you find some inspiration in these posts to use and adapt for your own dates.