If you’re single, the concept of date night is probably fairly laughable. After all, isn’t every night date tonight? But those of you who are married, and have been for any length of time, know what date light night is all about. This is time set aside for a married couple to reconnect, postponing discussion about kids, or household repairs, and even bills, until they reemerge from their evening back into the real world.
After more than 22 years of marriage, the husband and I have a firm grip on date night and its importance. While many view this as nice to do every once in a while, we think it’s critical.
So in this post we’ll share our perspective regarding why date night still matters.
Date night allows you to be your for-real self
If you are married and living with someone on a daily basis, they see every iteration of you. The “I just woke up and don’t talk to me before I have my coffee” version. The “I’m on my way to work so I’m in a rush” version. The “these car repairs cost more than we anticipated so I’m pretty irritable” version. And even the “what was in that meatloaf? I think I’m going to be sick” version.
These real life varieties of you or your spouse are the almost inevitable result of running the small business that is your household. The mundane or dramatic occurrences in everyday life sometimes make you forget where it all began. They cloud the fact that the real person, the one you married, is still in there. But date night reminds you what life was like before your to-do list was quite so long.
On date night, you’re not a mom or dad, not an executive or a board chair, not an organizer of the fundraiser or scheduler of the carpool. You’re just a husband or wife, with your husband or wife, and that’s wonderfully, simplistically special.
Date night is a chance to reconnect and rebuild
An essential element in a good marriage is a strong friendship. Date night helps you cultivate your relationship, and your friendship, by providing time for you to share your thoughts, talk politics, discuss the new guy at work, tell jokes, and engage in uninterrupted conversation. (See this great date night article from Psychology Today to explain more.) You can discuss the most meaningful or the most mundane, but it’s the act of conversation that connects you. And this connection is what you drawn upon in tougher times.
Think of your romantic relationship as a bank account. Date night is an opportunity for you to make “deposits” by deepening your connection as a couple. You build trust and understanding, which strengthens your bond. Then, during tougher times (every marriage has them), the “withdrawals” are less likely to break you. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you don’t have to nurture your relationship. Actually, it’s the opposite.
Date night is an opportunity for adventure
The husband and I have done date night for years, usually spending it at a nice restaurant or at a movie. Don’t get me wrong, any time together is great and we easily fill the time talking and laughing. But a few months ago we decided to make it a bit more special. So we started taking tango lessons.
This is an example of date night’s ability to help push the boundaries of expectations. By experiencing something new together, it strengthens the bond through teamwork and shared learning. This goes for cooking lessons, skydiving, winery tours, pottery class or any excursions you can do together. Especially if you can enjoy a glass of wine together afterwards. Or during. Or both.
Date night is a great model for the kids
If you have kids, your date night shows them that it’s okay to focus on your romantic relationship. That’s an important lesson for children to learn. We know children often model their expectations of relationships on those they witness during their upbringing, and kids raised in a positive atmosphere are more likely to have healthy romantic relationships themselves.
Date night benefits your marriage, which benefits your entire family. And by demonstrating that parents are people, and they need to connect as a couple, you show your kids that relationships need to be nurtured and tended to. It’s a great way to remind your kids that you have a life as well. (They still will not believe you.)
You look good, so you feel good
Theoretically (and hopefully) you put some thought into your appearance and your attire in anticipation of date night, probably more then you would do on a typical Wednesday night at home. That process of grooming, choosing an outfit and getting all buffed and polished to go out with your significant other is part of the charm of date night.
This effort to look great has a beneficial circular effect. We all like to look good. It makes you feel good, and your good mood contributes to the one-on-one interaction on date night. Meanwhile, your spouse is affected by your positive attitude, and responds in kind. This feel-good cycle makes for a truly great date night.
Keep it upscale, if possible
Okay, money isn’t everything. And every date night doesn’t have to have a hefty price tag (although some nights certainly could). But if you frequently dine at nice restaurants with co-workers or the kids, that same restaurant isn’t going to feel very special for date night. On date night, try something new, that’s still somewhere nice. This makes your time together feel even more special, since it’s not your everyday haunts.
Remember, upscale is as much a state of mind as it is a state of finances.
Run out of excuses
And if all that’s not enough, think about it like this. You’ve invested a lot in your relationship. The costs for a wedding, a shared household, cars, kids–it all adds up. Date night is one thing you can do to help ensure a positive return on that investment.
And date night is fun! There are many creative options for date night that allow you to have a great time together. While you’re at it, take some photos of your date so you capture the moment. There’s nothing better than stumbling upon a great date night pic when you’re stuck in a work meeting.
What are your suggestions for date night? Share your memories from your best date nights, along with ideas for the most unexpected and unique date nights. We want to hear from you!
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