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I have a fondness for St. Josemaría Escriva, and I blame it on his Novena for a Happy and Holy Marriage. Each day of the novena includes an excerpt from St. Josemaría’s short work, “Marriage: A Christian Vocation.” In a natural, conversational style, St. Josemaría conveys brilliant insight into the vocation of marriage, more than I would have expected a priest to understand. Through his wise words and gentle guidance, I came to realize the importance of working - actively - on our marriage.

A solid marriage isn’t one in which both man and woman promise to love, honor, and obey until death do they part. It is one in which those promises are acted upon, even in the smallest of daily moments.

We had been married 12 years when I first did that novena, and I had forgotten the primacy of our relationship through our vows. Children and the responsibilities of daily life had crept to the top of my priority list. My relationship with my husband was at the bottom of the ladder. Conversations beyond the minutiae of life were at a minimum, and a date night?

Too expensive.

Too much of a hassle.

Too many reasons not to go out.

Fortunately, I came across this quotation through the course of the novena, and it’s made a huge difference in the way we approach our marriage now.
Both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day, and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity.”
Ingenuity - that was the ticket. What could we do to feed our relationship, that wouldn’t require planning an elaborate night out? Better yet, what could do we do to strengthen our faith in our Savior? To solidify the third rail of our holy covenant? "10 budget friendly date nights for Catholic couples" by Ginny Kochis (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2018), CC0 Public Domain[/caption]

Budget-friendly Catholic date nights, of course!

We discovered we could delight in the Lord and each other, without breaking the bank or even leaving home. Want to know how we did it? Check out our favorite date night ideas below.

Staying In

Watch a faith-based film and have a carpet picnic.

Want the entertainment of a feature film without the objectionable material or the cost? Grab your favorite munchies and camp out on the living room floor, then check out a great faith-based film: The 50 Best Catholic Movies of All Time (from Catholic Culture) The Top 100 Pro-Catholic Movies (from The National Catholic Register) Top 10 Movies for Catholics on Netflix (from Adrienne Thorne at Aleteia)

Invent Saint-inspired Cocktails

Mixology and Theology - what’s not to love? Pick a favorite saint (or two), then spend some time in the kitchen concocting their signature libation. Consider ingredients based on color, name, or even place of origin.

Invent Saint-inspired Menus

If you’re already in the kitchen trying your hand at cocktails, you might as well create a complementary menu, too. Choose foods and preparation methods from the saint’s home country or time period, and enjoy a faith-based meal with your signature drink.

Learn a Skill

YouTube can be a waste of time and energy, but did you know you can use the video platform to learn a brand-new skill? Try your hand at painting, drawing, building, or even ballroom dancing. The only limit is your imagination.

Read the Works of Catholic Writers

Yep - that’s right: sit down on the couch and read to one another. Try something by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, or Gerard Manley Hopkins, just to name a few.

Heading Out

Go to Adoration

Take your prayer intentions to Adoration, then stop for a cup of coffee or dessert on your way home.

Hit Up Evening Mass, with a Twist

Go to evening Mass, but stash a blanket and a basket of goodies in the trunk. Once Mass is over, hit a local park for an evening picnic while you watch the stars.

Take a Field Trip

Do you have a local shrine nearby, or a monastery? Go for a day trip if you can, and explore the surrounding city or town, too.

Take a Field Trip, Part Two

Head downtown to a religious art exhibit. Play armchair critic and write serious (or silly) reviews.

Take a Hike

Visit a local prayer garden or outdoor Stations of the Cross. None nearby? Take a walk around the neighborhood while you pray the Rosary. "10 budget friendly date nights for Catholic couples" by Ginny Kochis (CatholicMom.com) Created by Ginny Kochis with image licensed by the author from Stencil.com[/caption]

So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly, Catholic date night, look no further than the list above.

These date night ideas for Catholic couples are perfect for a romantic evening. Why not follow St. Josemaría’s advice and use some ingenuity? You’ll not only grow in love and faith with one another - and you’ll have a ton of fun. Looking for more support in your Catholic marriage? Read on: Catholic Marriages Need the Rosary: Rosary Meditations for Catholic Couples 10 Ways to Fall in Love With Your Husband Let Him Love You: The Truth About Sacrifice in Marriage
Copyright 2018 Ginny Kochis