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Are "Date Nights" Important in Your Relationship?

Are date nights really that important in your relationship? The short answer is yes! It’s so important to remember that courting, dating, and keeping intimacy and connection alive in your relationship. It’s essential to the wellbeing and overall relationship happiness. 

Being consistent with having a date night or always setting aside time to spend alone time with your partner can sometimes be really challenging. We all know that life can be hectic, chaotic, and just plain stressful. So finding the time, energy and effort to get some alone time with your significant other can sometimes be difficult. It is very important that this not get overlooked, however. Once we get too wrapped up in our day to day activities and forget about putting importance into our relationships, we are letting the passion drift away. 

When people have been in a relationship for many years, it’s easy to get comfortable, complacent and not put in the work that relationships require in order to stay connected. We have all heard people say that relationships take hard work and honestly, they are exactly right, but this “hard work” does not have to be viewed as a negative thing. Working hard on your relationship can also be fun. Date nights are one of those fun aspects. Having connection, intimacy and relationships are an important social aspect of being human. It keeps us motivated, supported, feeling good about ourselves and loving of others. 

So now that we’ve reviewed the importance of date nights, let’s look at how you can establish this as a routine in your relationship.

Tips for Establishing a Date Night Routine:

1. Set a Goal: 

It is important that you and your partner agree on your goal for establishing a date night. People have various thoughts on what is realistic and helpful for them. While one couple may prefer weekly date nights, another may find that to be too much and too difficult to accomplish so they will aim for one time per month. Find what is right for you and your partner. Be sure to discuss this as a goal with your partner so that you are on the same page and have the same expectations. Having a shared goal, such as this, may seem simple, but it really allows both parties to know what is expected and puts the expectation on both people to carry this goal out.

2. Get Creative:

This is an opportunity to try something new and different. One thing to remember; however, is that date nights do not have to be going out. After working for many years with couples who were raising young children, it was very easy to see that sometimes finding a babysitter and making the time to go out was an impossible task. So you may have to get creative if you aren’t able to go out for a date night. One idea may be to eat a small snack with your children at the “usual” dinner time and then once kids are in bed, have take-out from your favorite restaurant or enjoy a decadent dessert with your partner. Set up something different and special at home. You could light candles in the living room or set up a nice table on the patio. This way if you are not able to leave the house, then you still feel that this is a unique and different experience than your regular routine. You can still bring in romance and intimacy even in the most familiar environment. The importance is that you and your partner are getting time alone together.

If you are able to go out regularly and this is an important aspect for you, then get creative! Make a list of new restaurants that you want to try or a list of fun activities that you can do together. Maybe it’s having a picnic at a local park, going to a concert, finding a local Facebook event in your area that’s new and different, or taking a day trip to a nearby venue. It’s important that both partners contribute this list and put down each of your interests. So take some time to brainstorm some creative ideas together.

3. Take Turns Planning:

This can be a fun step. Have each partner take turns in planning the date night to surprise the other person. So if you choose weekly date nights then each partner takes responsibility for a week that is theirs to plan. This is where you can pull in that creativity to find something new to do or surprise your partner with a thoughtful activity. Each person may have a different idea on what is important for them, which is why it can be beneficial that each partner gets to plan ideas that they enjoy and think their partner will enjoy also. This also changes up who initiates things in the relationship, which can be a nice change of pace if you have been stuck in a familiar routine with your partner. Also, this allows for each partner to feel surprised and it brings in an element of spontaneity. 

4. Enjoy:

When you set the goal, get creative and take turns to plan a date, be sure to have fun and enjoy the moment. This can be easier said than done. It can be easy for some people to stay distracted while on a date and think or talk about their work and/or their kids and not focus on being connected to their partner. The goal here is to increase connection with your partner. Do your best to disconnect from other activities and stay in the present moment. This is a time to focus on your relationship and enjoy the moment together. Date nights can provide an opportunity to talk about things that are important to your relationship that you might not otherwise get a chance to discuss so take that opportunity to be present and attentive to your partner. Having meaningful conversations is very important when it comes to reconnecting and strengthening your relationship.

Date nights should be positive, pleasurable and fun. So set up a date night routine with your partner, get creative and most importantly, enjoy!

If you’d like to read more on relationship topics and hear tips for couples, be sure to JOIN our free Facebook group about Love & Relationships. This is a closed online support group that provides tips and inspirational material for couples and supportive discussions on challenging relationship-related issues.

Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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