Date night often seems more idealistic than realistic, but it is quite important to all marriages. With hectic schedules and demanding distractions, date night can very well be the glue that holds together intimacy between a couple. Here are a few ways to make date night fulfilling and beneficial to your marriage.
Rule #1– Schedule Date Night Once a Week
Date night is essential to your relationship. It gives you a mini-vacation from the hardships of life and it helps you to refocus your attention on your spouse or the person you are courting. For single individuals, it is important to spend a few hours each week getting to know the person they are pursuing a committed relationship to, and for married persons it is important to fall in love with your spouse frequently.
Find a couple of hours in the morning, afternoon, or evening to spend with each other each week. (Married individuals should make this as high a priority as going to work!) Do not be tempted to skip over a romantic interlude due to a busy schedule. Let your partner know how important they are to you by setting time apart especially for them. It will make them feel loved and it will refresh your relationship.
Rule #2– Plan Ahead
Waiting until the last minute to decide what you’re doing on date night will more than likely end with disappointing results. Every date night will end up being dinner and a movie, and sooner or later one of you is going to resent it.
After you’ve both decided when to get together for a date, plan ahead on what you will do. Make a list of activities you’d like to do as a couple, places you’d like to go, or shows you’d like to see. You can either number the list and go in order (his ideas being odd numbers, her ideas being even numbers) or keep a jar that have the date ideas written down on scraps of paper and pull them out at random.
Rule #3 – Do Not Discuss the Negatives
Yes, the faucet is still leaking in the bathroom, the phone bill needs to be paid, and your brother is a jerk, but those things don’t need to be discussed on date night. Date night should be an escape from the problems you face, not a time to discuss what needs to be done as a household or your personal problems with the actions of your family members, friends, or the person you’re spending the evening with.
Avoid talking about the daily grind, including work, finances, kids, housework, or people you’re having a conflict with. These are all important subjects to discuss, but they can be discussed at another time. In the time you spend together, gear your discussions towards mutual hobbies or interests, aspirations and goals, activities and adventures. Encourage and compliment one another. Is she wearing a new dress? Compliment it. Has he been working hard this week? Appreciate him. Don’t end date night without affirming your attraction and admiration for your date.
Rule #4 – Make It About Quality Time
It would be great if every date night could be full of glittery romance, but chances are it won’t. Things will go awry, plans will go south, and romance might be overlooked. Don’t expect to swept off your feet every time you two go out for the evening. Date night isn’t about chick-flick style romance, it’s about quality time together.
When you’re planning a date, make sure quality time together is the focus. Going to his parents’ for dinner or going with her group of friends bowling isn’t quality time together. On the flip side, running errands together or sitting watching television isn’t quality time together either. Your dates should include opportunities for discussion, fun, and relaxation. Make them something out of the ordinary. Make them adventurous. Make them intimate.
Rule #5 – Let Go of the Electronics
How often do those “emergency” phone calls really happen? It’s easy to pay more attention to our cell phones than to our dates. Turn off your cell phone! (Or put it on vibrate if you have kids.) Unless it’s a family member, don’t answer calls or text people back during your time with someone else. It’s a great way of telling your date, “I find this person on my phone more interesting than I find you.” (Check the message when your date leaves for the restroom, if you must.)
Let go of any other shiny devices you’re tempted to play with as well. You have plenty of time to distract yourself with electronics later. Your date should be your sole interest, not gossip among your friends or game scores.
Rule #6 – Put Forth Your Best Foot
Gentlemen, open doors and pull out chairs. Ladies, don’t nag or humiliate him in public. Treat your waitresses well. Bathe before you go out. Apologize if you’ve made a mistake, and accept an apology when one is given to you.
It’s tempting to let go of your manners after you’ve been dating awhile or after you’re married. After all, you don’t have to impress this person anymore, right? You may not have to impress them anymore, but that doesn’t mean you should be inconsiderate to your date or others. When you’re out together, put your best foot forward. Your date may be quite aware of your other foot (the one that isn’t the best)which will make them appreciate your effort even more.