When it comes to romancing your mate for special holidays like Valentine's Day or birthdays, some couples have a head start on the celebration. Why? They've discovered that making regular time for each other is linked to lots of relationship benefits.
According to The Date Night Opportunity, a 2012 report released by the National Marriage Project, couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week:
Are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another;
Are about three times more likely to report that they are “very happy” in their marriages;
Report higher levels of communication and commitment;
State that they have a highly satisfying sexual relationship compared to couples who spend less couple time together; and
Take that time as a chance to de-stress and engage in novel activities that are fun, active or otherwise arousing – from hiking or dancing to cooking together or playing cards.
Regular date nights probably benefit couples most when they do more than dinner and a movie. Doing fun things together feels good, and your brain associates these times with pleasure.
Report co-author W. Bradford Wilcox states that:
The couples who find date night particularly valuable are those who are less integrated into the local civic or religious fabric of their communities and those who are less committed to one another; and
Couples with a more fragile foundation for their marriage need to devote more time to one another to keep their marriage strong.
It is always a good time to celebrate your own marriage and/or the marriages of those around you. Marriage is like anything else in life… cars, plants, or your body. If you don’t do preventive maintenance, a major overhaul could be on the horizon.
Most marriages begin with romantic love that is linked to passion, excitement and an overwhelming attraction to each other. Over time the passion fades, but date nights have the potential to take your ho-hum marriage and make it spicy and meaningful again.
If couple time hasn’t been a part of your regular routine, here’s a challenge:
Start by making a 6-week commitment to set aside an hour or two each week for a date night.
Agree that you won’t talk about the kids, your job or the in-laws. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. Just play together.
At the end of the six weeks, take time to discuss any changes you have experienced in your relationship.
Who knows? “Couple time” might surprise you with the difference it makes in your relationship.