When is the last time you took your spouse out on a date? Unless you’re intentional about your relationship, it’s very easy to slide into boring routines and start feeling disconnected.
In fact, a University of Virginia study found that couples who go out together frequently have lower divorce rates and higher levels of happiness and commitment. If you’re ready to strengthen your relationship the fun way, find out how to use date nights to enhance your communications and tell your spouse how much you love them.
Make Date Night a Habit
- Plan ahead. Regard quality time with your spouse as a top priority. Find something else you can drop in your schedule if you need to free up a few hours a week for each other. Making arrangements in advance will give you something to look forward to and help you stay on track.
- Pair off. Parenting can complicate date nights, but there are solutions. See if you can exchange babysitting services with another couple on a tight budget. If necessary, stay home, and meet up after the kids have gone to bed.
- Reduce expenses. Speaking of limited finances, your outings can be affordable or free. Order coffee and dessert instead of a full meal. Take a hike or browse around antique shops.
- Manage stress. Date nights are especially important when minor irritations are dampening your sense of romance. Dancing and laughing can reignite your passion.
- Shift your thinking. Leaving the house doesn’t count if you’re still talking about your broken dishwasher and which one of you is going to drive your daughter to soccer practice. Concentrate on the love and friendship between you.
- Share responsibility. You’re in this together. Take turns planning your dates. An occasional surprise will add to the fun.
- Remember small gestures. Stay in the mood by treating each other with affection and respect throughout the week. Express your gratitude, share chores, and dress up a little.
Ideas for Date Nights
- Start a tradition. If you’re happy with a movie and brunch each Saturday morning, you can save your creativity for something else. Rituals can be nourishing and far from boring.
- Mix it up. On the other hand, maybe you thrive on variety. Make a list of your individual and shared interests so you’ll have plenty of ideas for different activities. Keep an eye out for events that look interesting, and mark them on your calendar.
- Accept a challenge. Tackling an ambitious project together can strengthen your communications and commitment. Sign up for a foreign language course or train for a triathlon.
- Take a vacation. Use your time off from work to enjoy an extended date. A second honeymoon might rejuvenate your marriage.
- Invite friends along. While you need time alone for just the two of you, you also want to integrate your relationship into the rest of your life and community. Double date with neighbors who you’ve wanted to get to know better. Join a movie club or a volleyball league.
- Fulfill your purpose. The most meaningful dates may be the ones that allow you to share your spiritual beliefs and core values. Participate in a couple’s retreat or volunteer for a cause you both believe in.
Marriage takes work, but date nights can make your labors seem like play. Recapture the excitement you felt when you first met while nurturing the deeper intimacy you’ve been developing during your years together. Regular dates will help you and your spouse to draw closer and stay in love.