1. NO MONEY: Aren't the vast majority of us in this boat? The expenses at this stage in life seem to pile so high we can't see the top, so how can we possibly justify spending $50 or even $100 on a date night? If you can't justify it, then don't! Think of alternatives to a fancy dinner + movie + coffee afterwards. One friend of mine frequently exercises with her husband on date night. They play tennis, go for a walk, bike, etc. At no cost they enjoy each other's company and get a workout besides - brilliant! One of my favorite dates last year was packing a picnic and taking it to one of our favorite spots in the city. The cost was no more than eating at home and we didn't have a waiter interrupt our romantic conversations once. :) If you want to go out, try to pick a place that doesn't have someone who will wait on your table, thereby saving money on the tip.
2. NO BABYSITTER: No babysitter, no problem. Okay, problem. There are ways around this though (at least not having to pay a sitter). I have coordinated with friends before so that we swap date nights. I'll go over to her house on her date night and vice versa. This way you both get a night with your hubby, and you get to enjoy an evening without having to cut your spouse off in the middle of his gushy love speech because you want to make it back home before it costs you an extra 10 bucks (or almost worse when you reach that gray area when you went 12 minutes over the hour and aren't sure how much extra you should pay). If you want to take it to the next level, you could organize a swap among several couples in your neighborhood. Assign someone to be the tab keeper and you could date for every time you're willing to babysit.
3. NO IDEAS: There are no movies that you care to see, no restaurants that you're excited to try (I can't fathom this), and you just don't think it's worth all of thinking effort that it takes to go out. I would imagine that this is not as common, but if you find yourself in this ditch, here are some ideas to pull you out...go to a coffee shop, go bowling, ice skating, roller skating, stroll through downtown (walk through really nice hotel lobbies - I love this!), go to a play, the opera, just go out for dessert, get tickets to a game (even minor league games can be fun), have a progressive meal where you go to a different restaurant for appetizers/drinks, main course and then dessert. I don't know how you've felt reading this, but writing it has challenged me to step outside the box on our next date (we are the straight to the restaurant and straight home kind of couple). It really doesn't matter what you do, just enjoy the time together!
4. NO TIME: It is so easy during this phase of life when you are young parents to think that you are truly doing the best for your child by being with them all the time, at the expense of spending time with your spouse. I've heard this so many times and I believe it to be so true (and biblical!) that the best thing you can do for your children is to love your wife/husband well. Make the time. Make it work. If your spouse works late, go in the morning. If you're always too tired on Friday night, go on Tuesday instead (this happens to be my favorite date night, I'm not too tired by the week's activities and there are no lines and no need for reservations!). We are called to love our spouses and we just can't do that well unless we talk to him, spend time with him, focus on him, the latter of which is sometimes impossible to do fully with kids underfoot. The payoff with DEFINITELY be worth it - benefitting both your relationships with your spouse and your kids!