We asked you to submit your most creative date night idea with the chance to win a date on us — a $50 American Express Gift Card!  Great ideas came in from far and wide. 300 entries later, we have a winner!

Congratulations Michelle, from Carlsbad Texas! Her date suggestion was unique, loving, practical, and budget-conscious. Most impressive was that Michelle included God in the date process. Read the winning entry below, and be inspired!

We’re also sharing 5 must see runner-ups — including a date in a John Deere! Enjoy.

Our Winner!
Island Date   Michelle, Texas
First off; pray that God blesses your date night ideas. He knows your likes, dislikes, and budget. I wanted to surprise my husband with a neat “date night,” but the kids had been busy, and I was sure there would be interruptions. Well, we planned a date night anyway.

We went to the airport and had dinner at a fun Chinese place, watching the people coming and going.  It gets us into “travel mode.”

After dinner, we went out to the lake hoping to find a private spot to watch the sun go down. We discussed  travel plans for a future “island trip” — dreaming mostly, because it’s something we cannot afford right now. I brought along some island items, chocolates, a bottle of sparkling berry beverage, popped chairs out of the trunk — and finally found an empty place on a rocky part of the beach.

The sky was this awesome pink and the sunset gorgeous. We put our feet up and watched the fish jumping, the storm rolling in, and the incredible sky. He enjoyed it so much, he took a picture of the sunset to remember our time together! We even made plans for our next date night. I’m thinking a borrowed boat with a picnic or even a tent and overnight on our “private beach.”

God does provide on a budget, and guides you in the most spectacular ways. We often smile and re-visit that sunset in our minds, and it reminds me of time spent with one another. The evening did come to an abrupt end when our dear daughter called (she had locked her keys in the car), but we did prevail and were so blessed! God does want to see our marriages blessed through taking time for each other and connecting.   Our advice: keep pressing on…

Under the Stars   Rose, California
Send an invitation saying “Mystery evening tonight, dress warm.”

Pack a dinner to go and coffee & cookies. Bring your sleeping bags, chairs, and a telescope and head out to a dark place (no towns nearby). Set up the sleeping bags and chairs under the stars.

Explore the mysteries of God’s creation and share a devotion book or spiritual reading. Spend time in prayer with thanksgiving for the love He’s given us. A perfect way to enjoy each other and God’s great blessing — the gift of life and our relationship with each other.

Beach Night   Nicole, Kentucky
I want to go to Florida with my husband. Unfortunately, with raising 3 teenage children, money is not plentiful.

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So, we’ll do a beach night at home. I’ll fix tropical drinks, put beach towels on the bed, wear a swimsuit and play tropical music. We’ll rub on “suntan lotion” and take a “swim” in the shower or tub together. Since we can’t use tiki torches in the house, candlelight will have to do.  I’ll setup one of those plastic blow up palm trees to help set the scene. My husband works hard and takes care of us and he deserves a Florida “beach” trip.

Date on a Budget   Kari, California
Look through hotcoupon.com or clippermagazine.com for coupons to local restaurants; go to one and enjoy time together without breaking the bank. Talk about life, love, your marriage, and dreams.

When you’re done with dinner, give each other five dollars and go to a local Target, Wal-Mart or Walgreens and split up for about 20-30 minutes. The objective here is to spend that time thinking about your spouse and what reminds you of them (you could find one $5 item or five $1 items).

Be creative and have fun. Find things that you can take back to a romantic place and share and exchange the little treasures you found. It’s a great way to connect on a fun and creative level. It’s an added plus if your Love Language is gifts!

John Deere Date   Chad, Iowa
Enjoy a romantic home cooked meal in the comfort of a John Deere combine as it navigates its way through the corn field using automatic steering technology.

My wife and I love to be outdoors, and I love to operate our family farm’s John Deere combine. My wife has turned one of my most enjoyable tasks into some of our best date nights.

On Saturday nights, my wife brings a meal to the field that she had been working on in the afternoon, jumps in the buddy seat of the combine cab, and breaks out our plastic forks. I set the combine on the corn row and let the electronic steering guide us through the field, utilizing the glow of the instrument panel as our candlelight.

Fantasy Photo Date   Zennith, South Africa
Enjoy an afternoon taking ridiculous photos. This date is supposed to be silly, have fun with it!

Invent a theme: The day you played a round of golf with Tiger Woods or the morning you made contact with aliens at your local park. Take pictures of the major plot points. Learn how to use your camera’s timer; get lots of photos together. Include celebrities and other subjects in your pictures. The worse quality, the better!

When you’re done taking your photos, it’s time to go home and tell the story. You can add captions to the digital photos, or print them out and handwrite the descriptions. Be specific, how did you feel when the alien told you his people had been stealing our socks for hundreds of years?

Copyright © 2009 by Jim Mueller, President and co-founder of Growthtrac Ministries.

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