How to Make the Most of Your Date Nights

Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on How to Make the Most of Your Date Nights

Conventional research tells us that spending time together is important to the health and wellbeing of a relationship. “Date night” is the activity most couples think of when it comes to getting that quality time.

This time becomes especially important after having children.

While family time is certainly a good thing and very valuable for parents and kids, dedicated time away from children is extremely important for you and your partner.

Regularly devoting time to each other is associated with higher relationship satisfaction, lower divorce rate, better communication, and increased sexual satisfaction. This is especially true for women. Marital satisfaction is very highly correlated with how much time women spend with their partners. The more time spent, the more satisfied they are in the relationship.

Interestingly, that is not the case for most men. Though they rarely complain that they don’t spend enough time with their partners, it’s still a good idea for men to consider date night a way to satisfy their partner’s need for togetherness.

Tips for getting the most out of date nights

1. Make it a priority. This, typically, is not that difficult in the early stages of a relationship. However, as partnerships become more settled, couples often prioritize time together less and less. For you and your partner, it is important to realize that if you don’t make it happen, it won’t happen.

Be sure to spend that time together and share the responsibility of date planning. Try to take turns and make choices according to each other’s strengths. This will guard against either of you feeling overburdened.

2. Communicate with each other. Be fully present and engaged. Avoid going to dinner and a movie every time without talking to each other. Instead, find ways to interact with each other.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for couples to use part of their date night to deal with family business or concerns (How are we going to pay for the new water heater or who’s driving the car pool next week?). It’s an opportune time to get those things taken care of. But, beyond those things, it’s important to interact in a more emotional way.

Find out what’s going on in each other’s lives and minds. Investigate what matters, interests, and excites your partner. Find out the answers to questions like the ones below:

  • What are your partner’s current major worries?
  • What is your partner’s fondest unrealized dream?
  • What important events are coming up in your partner’s life? How does he or she feel about them?

Become a relationship detective. Use date nights to really connect and learn as much as you can about each other.

3. Engage in novel activities. Doing things that are fun, interesting, unique, or exciting has a very positive effect on relationships. Novel experiences increase the dopamine level in the brain, enhancing the feeling of romantic love. You’ll naturally feel more connected to each other when you add some fun and variety to date nights.

This doesn’t mean you need to participate in high-risk activities. Simply interject new and different experiences into your date nights.

If you and your partner find that your interests don’t overlap much, make individual lists of preferred activities and see if there are any items that you have in common. Also, try to find activities on each other’s lists that you are open to giving a chance.

Conversely, note which activities are definite solo activities. It’s okay to say no to one of your partner’s favorite outings: many women have turned down an afternoon in their husband fishing boat! However, it’s also good to remain open and interested in as much as you can, the object is to find more novel things you do like to do together.

Finally, activities needn’t be expensive or elaborate. Go to festivals in the park or hit some balls at the neighborhood batting cages. Be creative!

4. Spend some time focusing on romance. After all, it’s a date! If there’s no intimacy or romance in your relationship, then you’re basically just friends.

Flirt, hold hands, snuggle. This can go a long way to rekindling intimacy. For many couples, date night is also a night of planned intimacy that both partners look forward to.

5. Get together with friends. Studies show that couples who gather with other adult friends (without the kids) experience some of the highest quality time spent together. Why?

  • It’s usually a fairly novel activity. Again, novelty is important for keeping date night fresh and interesting.
  • People tend to act differently when they’re with friends. There‘s more opportunity to be surprised by each other, engage in different types of discussions, or try things you might not ordinarily try.
  • Very familiar, long-term relationships benefit from the fresh perspective and interaction of other people. While every date night shouldn’t include other people. It can be fun to look forward to game nights, meals, or an outing with others.

Once a week, look for ways to be together, know each other, and enjoy the things you love most about your relationship. Making the most of Date Night will help keep your emotional connection strong.

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