When I bring up date night to couples, I frequently get an eye roll. Sometimes, that means “Lame. We are in real trouble here! Dinner and a movie won’t fix this.” Sometimes, the couple will say wistfully, “We did that once. It was fun.” Often, Date Night doesn’t seem attainable to couples. They are sad and disappointed in their relationship. They express hopelessness. When they speak of how they’ve lost their connection, all of their energy seems to drain away. They admit that they have lost the emotional and physical intimacy that they once enjoyed and that sustained them during rough times.
When couples feel this disconnected, they can’t imagine how to find their way back.
Date Night is a start! First, let’s define Date Night. Date Night means without kids and without friends. Date Night means that you leave the house. Go out in your fair city and see and be seen! Date Night deserves respect and commitment. Date Night is a priority. Put it on the calendar every week. Or, a least, every other week. This is a block of time that belongs to only you and your partner. It’s an event that you will look forward to all week. This is your opportunity to hold hands and to have intimate and uninterrupted conversations about interesting things. This is a chance to have fun with your partner. Fun cannot be overrated!
Okay. Let’s talk about the Obstacles to Date Night:
- Time. Again – Date Night is a priority! You can find time for this pleasurable and relationship restoring activity. Be creative – your date doesn’t have to be Friday or Saturday night – leave that to the amateurs. You can even have a daytime date which may eliminate Obstacle #2.
- Babysitters – or a lack thereof. This is a good time to make the grandparents feel needed. If no grandparents are available, think about trading Date Night babysitting with friends or neighbors. Or call up Cabrini or Holy Cross and tell them you are looking for a Senior (they drive) who is looking to make extra money babysitting.
- Money. Date Night doesn’t have to be at Commander’s. Pack a picnic and a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and go and sit on the lakefront. Watch the boat races. (Wednesdays) A couple who I am very fond of and who have become very successful at Date Night, often go bowling. No one can be angry or resentful while bowling!
- One person always plans Date Night. This is a recipe for failure. Date Night is a joint venture. Either discuss your next date night – not at the last minute – and plan it together or take turns planning it and make it a surprise. To really show the love, plan an outing that you know your partner will enjoy even if it’s not really your thing.
It’s up to you to make it happen. Date Night is more than it appears to be. Date Night is precious! Make it a priority and protect it.