Date Night. What on earth is that? I hear you ask…
Well, there are some not so mythical moms, dads, and partners, who have not so mythical date nights.
I am not lying. They are dedicated enough to each other to find the time to connect, have fun, plan, and romance!
Okay, Okay. I will cut the sarcasm.
Date night is probably the most important thing that you can do for your relationship with your other half after bringing children into the mix. It is more than just a lavish event saved for the privileged (like most of us think). It is essential for the success of your relationship.
As I want to be completely transparent, this article is being written in collaboration with my sexy, intelligent, considerate, empathetic and annoying (at times) partner Ben although I am going to add a few suggestions in before publishing because I don’t want him to see what I have planned.
Don’t worry; he is qualified.
Having three children of his own and together we successfully juggle and love 5 GIRLS as a blended family that travels and operate a business together. And YES, we make time for date night.
Previous to Ben I was in a relationship with my children’s father. I care about him of course, but we didn’t give precedence or understand the importance of ‘us time’. There are many reasons why our relationship broke down, but I believe the lack of us time was one of them. Putting more conscious effort into this could have even saved it.
Many of you will understand what I am going to say next. We had lost everything that we first found in each other. In fact, we had kids and life stressors built up around us. We didn’t deal with them well, and as a result, we merely existed under the same roof. Going extreme, we would pass each other in the lounge room and if we had time to talk it was usually about money or other issues.
To add to that we were always so busy, not only did we have kids, but we also had work. Greg worked in two jobs that he was required to work after hours and be on call and when he did have the time he usually spent it outside of the house doing other things.
I also had work, and when I did get time to spend with Greg, it wasn’t nice.
We had lost that romantic spark and to be honest we weren’t even friends anymore.
Ben’s story is very similar to mine.
If this speaks to you and touches a nerve, it is okay; there is still hope. Date night might be just what you need to start reconnecting.
What is Date Night?
Date Night, or day, or morning, or arvo, or Skype call, or holiday, or weekend (depending on your schedule and circumstance) is the time that you take dedicated purely for yourself and your partner (if you have one, we will provide ideas for single momma’s here too!).
It is about not having to worry about anything else other than the person in front of you (your partner).
Date night is about letting go, freeing your mind of day to day stressors and reconnecting with who you are together and as individuals.
It is about staying connected and continually growing with your partner.
5 Reasons Why Date Night is Important
Through all of the BS of everyday life, it is important to remember why you decided to be together in the first place. It is a little slice of the honeymoon period saved for every week.
A relationship is forever evolving, and you need to PROVIDE TIME to EVOLVE together. It is NOT A CERTAINTY and involves two different people. It is a variable, and it takes WORK. If your relationship matters to both of you, this is the time you find to help make it work.
A date night ensures that you both don’t turn into robots. Boring and on automation. Both Ben and I found with our previous relationships that we didn’t take time to work on them and be with our partners and we wound up going about our day to day, in a flurry of subconscious behaviours and habits (not always good ones), fighting about the same things and not moving forward together.
I was speaking to a friend the other day. She has three children and has been married for more than a decade. She was telling me about how she would probably leave if it weren’t for the kids. There was no connection, no spark. She told me that it had been 2 or 3 years since she had that “intense feeling of love”. She isn’t alone.
They have not dedicated time to their relationship in years which will contribute to the decline of intimacy, passion, trust, commitment, sexual attitudes, understanding, growth, and communication.
Date night is a “skill”, it may take time to develop the art of putting aside time for the two of you, but over time it will help improve the health of your relationship.
1. It could save your relationship.
Seriously. The marriage foundation undertook research that suggested couples who go on a date night together are “more likely to stay together”. In this report, The National Marriage Project, over 1600 married couples took the survey and those who did date night were:
- 350% happier than those who didn’t
- 350% more like to have sexual satisfaction above the average – whit wheow
- 250% stronger feelings of commitment to the relationship
- Better communication and less likely to predict divorce.
If you are a person that is considering ending your relationship and are thinking or saying Ï have tried everything”… have you tried date night?
2. Bring back laughter.
Laughter is key to improving any relationship and helping it to last. It can strengthen bonds and break down anger and contempt that we hold towards the other partner in a relationship. Couples who “stop laughing together” are more likely to split up. (Dacher Keltner – Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life)
Laughing together and being playful will help you and your partner to relieve stress, relate and repair anger and conflict.
Find ways to be silly or reintroduce laughter into your relationship through date night. Give a comedy show a go, a funny movie or designate a night playing game designed to get you giggling. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
3. Introduce or re-introduce whatever is lacking is in your relationship.
Whether you need to Spice it up, reform a Connection, reignite communication, keep the love alive, or have time for future planning – Date night ticks all of these boxes. You can mould your date nights to accommodate any of your needs and plan for whatever outcome you want. The answer here is that you have to be honest with yourself and you have to be honest with your partner.
Do you need to add some romance and some potential sexy time?
It may be that you haven’t put a concerted effort into looking at the kind of life you both want to create for your future.
Not only that, spending time alone, without distractions will naturally help you to reconnect if you keep it positive and work hard to form new foundations and strengths in your relationship.
4. De-Stress from the day to day.
Work, money, family, kids, community, pressure – pressure – pressure! The average person and couple experience more stress than in any previous generation. Many of us get around feeling like the whole world is on our shoulders and we just can’t cut a break!
Let Date Night Be Your Break!
Date night is a time to get away from all of this and in some cases, to find solutions in a way that is positive and exciting.
So many relationships break down because all of the conversation and energy focused on problems, not solutions. We speak about everything that is going wrong and dismiss or can’t even see everything that is going right. Many relationships never get a break from all of the stress. Being fixated on stressors without a solution is not allowed at date night, get away from it for a bit. It will improve your relationship and also your HEALTH and WELLBEING!
Create a Friendship
How many of you feel like your partner and yourself have lost your friendship. It has become so drab, or you are so stuck in a comfort zone that your ant marching routine has overtaken the banter and bond?
Date night will help you begin to belong together and act as a team, rather than seeing them as a person who you are in conflict with or someone that you pass in the hallway every morning.
For many women to get down and dirty or share a little bit of romance with their other half, they need to feel comfortable and feel a friendship connection in their relationship. Building a friendship can be a precursor for more loving and exciting sex and romantic action.
How to Plan Date Nights to Get What You Want
Sit down and let your partner know that you want to start going on date nights and then agree to have a safe conversation (where no one takes offence to what is said) to discuss what outcomes you would like your date night to have.
In this way, it will allow you to communicate the elements that you want to improve or introduce into your relationship. It can also be confronting as it means you both have to expose what you feel is lacking in the relationship. It is vital that neither of you takes anything personally.
- Sit together in a quiet space with no distractions
- Discuss together why date night is important
- Write down the outcomes/elements of your relationship that you want to improve or bring back to life.
- Remember, both people must contribute. Your ears are twice as many as you do a mouth. It is about the needs of both partners.
Rules for Date Night
Unless your children are your waiters or massage therapist, this is not an event that they need to attend.
No Candy Crush or phones. Turn them off.
Put all pressures and stresses aside. Try to avoid talking about Work, finances, etc
Note: There is an exception to this rule if you are doing future planning.
Make It About You
Date Night is a NO gossip zone, (this isn’t about your neighbours, it is about you)
Not every date night can include friends or family. Double dates and friends BBQ’s are okay on occasion.
Not every date night is going to result in sex (unless you have planned for it). Although this may be the case because you are reconnecting, the outcome is not always Bumping Uglies (but we won’t blame you if this happens after some of the games we are going to throw your way).
Date night is not for bringing up problems of the past. It is about focusing on the positives. It is meant to be enjoyable
No demeaning language is allowed. A great way to ruin romance and connection is by calling your partner names and speaking down to them. Self-control is vital.
Stay away from triggers. If you wind up in an argument with your partner when you are both drinking… No Alcohol
Have Fun and Change It Up
You MUST practice variety. Change the location, type, theme, and purpose.
Relax, let go of your inhibitions, and have fun. Get out of your comfort zone a little. You may be like me and have the Grace of a Drunk Elephant on the Dance floor but your partner might love a little tecnho light jive. Do it for them.
The Ultimate Key to Date Night
One of the ‘must do’s’ when it comes to date night is to ‘do something different”. So many of us are caught on a rat wheel and stuck in a rut of the same old same old.
Studies have shown that doing new things in your relationship is vital to keeping it healthy. Brain and behavioural researchers are suggesting that quality time is not enough. You need to tweak it up a bit sometimes and try new things together.
Find ways to introduce freshness into your relationship. It alleviates the danger of getting bored and becoming mundane. New experiences cause your brain to produce dopamine which is your brain’s ‘reward system’. New experiences also ignite parts of your brain that are responsible for those exciting and butterfly feelings you get when you are falling in love.