A romantic meal

February 5, 2013

in Acts of Service, Aff Link, Quality Time, Romance

Note: This is for Valentines, but please apply it beyond that.

Romantic place setting Image Credit: © Loonara | Dreamstime.com

Our biology was created so that we bond with those we share a meal with. Eating causes oxytocin to be released into our bodies. Oxytocin causes us to feel close and connected to those we are with whom we are eating. Oxytocin is also released when we touch, and especially during sex, with a peek at orgasm. Singing together is another way to get a group oxytocin release. Anything we do with our spouse that releases oxytocin is good for our health and our marriage. This means regular meals together help us feel closer, and build trust. If we take our time over a meal, the effect is even greater.

So, date night is scientifically valid. Unfortunately, it may also be financially challenging. Here are a few ideas to help if that is a concern:

  • Find a way to do lunch rather than dinner. Most “nice” places have a lunch menu with significantly lower costs.
  • Rewards cards. It is more and more common for restaurants to have a club or reward card that allows you to earn points good for future visits. If you can get one free meal free for every five you buy, that adds up.
  • Go on Monday or Tuesday. These are typically slow days, and some places have specials on those days.
  • Sign up for coupons. Many restaurants offer coupons by e-mail if you register with their web site or like them on facebook.
  • Try a site that sells discounted gift cards (restaurant.com for example). You have to check the fine print (when is it good, what is excluded, what is minimum you must spend) but if you find a place you really like this can be a big money saver.
  • Go for appetizers or dessert. Yes, it is way too much money for what you eat, but it can be a cheap date at a nice place.

Another great option is to have a nice cozy meal at home:

  • Presentation makes the difference. Nice place settings, candle light, a few flowers, or confetti, or some other special touch. Do not forget music.
  • Set up a small table some place other than where you usually eat.
  • Learn how to cook a few things she really likes and do that for her from time to time (clean up and really bless her).
  • Get something you both like to go from a restaurant, and serve it as above.
  • Do a very simple snack, but make it a big deal.

A survey: Can I get you to fill out a quick anonymous survey based on my Help – my wife is ignoring me for her virtual life! post? Thanks!

Image Credit: © Loonara | Dreamstime.com
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Opentable.com is pretty good. Take your wife out somewhere nice at least once a year and earn points that can be used towards dining checks--helps me to remember to make it a regular event


Restaurant.com is a great resource. We have found some great restaurants that we probably wouldn't have tried otherwise. Our goal this year is to not repeat any restaurants for date nights. If we are going to have the house to ourselves, we sometimes get take out and set up a candlelit dinner at home. You're still paying restaurant prices for the food, but you don't have to tip and you can supply your own drinks. Dessert is extra fun too!


We like to do just appetizers or just dessert(with wine usually). That way we can buy small portions of usually expensive items, for a smaller price, especially cheeses, chocolates etc. Then we set up a special spot and make a date after the kids are asleep. No pressure, almost no prep. Satisfying and adventurous!


oh, and restaurant.com almost always has a discount code. when you get on their e-mail list, they e-mail the code to you so you can plan ahead and buy a few certificates for places you want to try.

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