Date-Night Deals

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Date night just might save your marriage. Couples who regularly spend time together-without the kids-are less likely to divorce than couples who don't, according to research by the nonpartisan National Marriage Project.

The group, a research organization based at the University of Virginia, said in the era of soul-mate marriages, we expect high levels of intimacy, communication and personal fulfillment, and date nights can strengthen those bonds.

When was the last time you went on a date? If you're like me and most of my married friends, it's hard to step out. We're busy trying to meet the demands of work, parenting, friends and school obligations. Then there's the money. Sometimes it's tempting to stay home when restaurants and concert tickets are so spendy, on top of having to pay a baby sitter.

It's time to get out of the date-night rut, and I might have a solution: The Groupon date. Remember Groupon, LivingSocial and other daily-deal sites? They were the hottest thing on the internet a few years back, so much so that there were too many of them to keep track of. The market has cooled down, and that means you only have to go to a couple of websites to see all the deals that are out there. Frankly, some of them are really good. It's easier than ever to score a date night at a discount.

A recent search on Groupon turned up date-night worthy deals such as: $5 movie tickets for Studio Movie Grill in the Short North, half-off brewery tours at North High Brewing, half-off rock climbing at Kinetic Climbing and Fitness in the Hilltop, half-off murder mystery dinner shows at Mysterious Ways Interactive Theater in Westerville, half-off beer-tasting packages at Sideswipe Brewing, half-off tickets to the Arch City comedy festival, 40 percent off wine tasting at Buckeye Lake Winery and discount riding lessons at Hatfield Performance Horses in Marysville. Restaurant deals included discounts for Hofbrauhaus, Red Brick Tap & Grill in Merion Village and Easy Street Cafe in German Village.

LivingSocial, one of Groupon's major competitors, featured discount tickets to the "Trapped in a Room with a Zombie" Room Escape Interactive Theater Adventure and discount meals at Red Hook Grill in Grandview Heights and Sushi Thai in Pickerington.

Haven't tried anything on the list? That's good. Novelty might be the key to keeping a relationship fresh. Couples who "engage in novel activities that are fun, active, or otherwise arousing-from hiking to dancing to travel to card games-enjoy higher levels of relationship quality," according to the National Marriage Project. Spouses benefit most from regular date nights "if they use it as an opportunity to do more than that old standby: dinner and a movie," as long as each partner gets to take turns choosing the new activities.

Those who went out at least once a week were 3.5 times more likely to say they were very happy in their marriages, the group said. The more couple time they spent together, the less likely they were to divorce. It seems that date night is worth the money, because neglecting your relationship can cost a whole lot more.

And while you're on those daily-deal sites, don't forget to use them to expand your family-time repertoire.

Groupon had discounts on kid-friendly activities such as Recreations Outlet passes, discounted Olentangy Mini Golf, Columbus Clippers tickets and roller skating at Skate Zone 71. They also had plenty of food on sale at Mama Mimi's Take 'n Bake Pizza, Sweet Berry Frozen Yogurt and SuperChef's Breakfast and More.

So go ahead. Get out there and have some fun!

Denise Trowbridge is a self-professed money geek who writes about personal finance, banking and insurance for The Columbus Dispatch, and