I’m a great proponent of date nights and as such often ask young couples what they do to schedule and manage their date nights. And am surprised how many respond in the same way saying ‘We’re married!’ As if in some way once married dates nights are off the radar!
It’s as if somehow marriage and date nights are not connected. Or that date nights are for those in the early stages of a relationship, for lovers, rather than for couples who have made a commitment to each other through marriage or co-habiting together. Or that date nights go out the window once a young family comes along!
And nothing could be further from the truth! Once you’re in a committed relationship – living together or not – date nights become more critical than ever. They provide the means for the relationship to deepen and grow into something rich and fulfilling. Date nights are time out together when life feels hectic and commitments can seem overwhelming.
Let them slip and risk the relationship going stale, down the track, become lack lustre and potentially fall apart!
So time to change that thinking! And take action!
I put it to you that if you want a loving deeply fulfilling relationship then dates for a relationship irrespective of how long you’ve been together are crucial, and even more so when you’re married or have a young family! When the focus all too easily moves from the ‘we’ to the busyness and routine of life!
Date nights are all about rekindling the romance or ensuring that over time the romance and the relationship goes from good to great!
Remember the fun you used to have together on date nights? The anticipation, the romance, the enthusiasm with which you approached them? That’s what you want to rekindle or maintain so that your relationship deepens over time. And a regular date night with your partner is the magic key to maintaining and enjoying a healthy relationship together!
So make time! Make a date to get away together for a few hours to enjoy some romance!
And I’m not talking about dinner out with the kids, or a meal or social gathering with a group of friends. I’m talking about quality time alone focusing on nothing else but each other. And NO! There’s NO excuses! Here’s my thoughts…
If you’re anything like most couples, particularly when children come along the constraint holding you back more than anything else is the perceived lack of time.
Yes, we’re all so damn busy these days that it’s very easy to jump from one urgent task to another and to forget to schedule in date nights or to feel that there’s no time left for any other activities. Do that and watch several months go past before you realise that you and your partner haven’t had any quality time together.
Don’t risk that happening! Take action! Manage your priorities differently and begin to schedule in quality time together. Have quality time together alone – devoid of all other distractions! Create time to date! Or create mini dates – 15 minutes per day!
While I recognise that the time constraints may be legitimate – and that so many couples and families are busy the truth of the matter is to appreciate that this busyness or neglect of time together comes at a cost! A detrimental cost -that cost over time is at the expense of your relationship and its growth in intimacy. So don’t let that happen to you!
Make a Conscious Commitment!
Many couples struggle in this area – Make the time to sit down together and strategize how you can make dates nights happen – and become part of your weekly or fortnightly commitment to each other.
Here are a few tips my clients have shared. And the benefits they report in making the time to have quality time together for some all-important romance and fun in their marriage or relationship.
Schedule Them In
The best way to make your date nights happen is to schedule them in. I know it doesn’t sound romantic but having them IS! So make them a priority in your weekly or fortnightly calendar so that they don’t get neglected or railroaded by other engagements or commitments.
Don’t treat these dates as optional or ‘scheduled in’ AFTER all the ‘other’ things have been taken care of. If you do they’ll never happen! Commit to a regular date day or time and put it in your calendar!
If you value your relationship and want it to deepen overtime quality time together is critical. Believe me!
If weekends are typically busy and finding a baby sitter on a Friday or Saturday night more challenging, be creative – think laterally! Have date nights every second Wednesday for example. Restaurants are less packed and baby sitters are easier to find!
Also consider a variety of ways to spend time together – spicing up the romance and fun. Just as no doubt you did when you were dating!
Budget for Them
Just as I’m sure you put money aside for important things like groceries, utility bills, insurance and the like, put some money aside each week for your date nights. This automatically sets the tone that these date nights are a serious commitment to your relationship.
Consider what the budget needs to take into account – for example – babysitters, entertainment, meals and incidentals…Then plan a number of different dates knowing you have the budget to do so. This also means you can mix them up. Perhaps plan a couple of inexpensive dates and then if the mood takes ‘blow’ the remaining budget on a really special date or an extra surprise factor to the date!
Irrespective of what you do and how you and your partner plan your dates, the most important thing is to schedule them in and then have fun.
Getting to the ‘I do’ part of a relationship is relatively easy compared with keeping the zing in it! And date nights is one of the best ways to maintaining and sustaining that zing! And love the love of your life for life – so keep the dating scene in! And watch the relationship go from good to great!
And remember a successful marriage or relationship requires falling in love many times – always with the same person. So go date! And have fun!