In the early years of marriage, couples usually find it easy to schedule date nights. Once children come along and careers get more intense though, date night takes last place on the list of important things needing attention. Before long, couples find themselves going through the motions of marriage and stuck in a rut when it comes to romance, all the while looking for a cure.
Guess what? Date night could be the cure and here are reasons why. When life gets crazy, intentionally scheduling regular time to move away from all the distractions – children, jobs, other commitments – to focus on each other and talk about important topics helps you stay connected. This connectedness helps you feel less stressed in the midst of the chaos that is life.
Speaking of less stress, another benefit of regular date nights is increasing intimacy and passion in your marriage. In the early years of marriage, romantic moments tend to come easily for couples. Romance often fades, however, without intentional effort to stoke the flames of desire. Date night helps couples remember why they first fell in love, and it lays the foundation for reigniting passion.
Regular date nights also help to build resilience to carry your marriage relationship during the challenging times. Focusing on each other and nurturing your relationship helps you build a strong foundation for your marriage. As a result, when you encounter tough times, you have built up enough marital bandwidth to face difficulties as a team. When you come out on the other side of the challenge, your couple bond is strong instead of feeling frayed.
There is plenty of research about the significance of play and fun moments in a marriage. Howard Markman, a psychologist who co-directs the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies, says their research indicates the more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant. For men, the connection is even more important. Research showed men are more likely than women to call their spouse their best friend. So go ahead and make plans to play. It’s vital for your marriage.
Most couples who have been married an extended period of time will probably tell you it’s easy to fall in a rut. One day you look at each other and ask how you got to this place, especially when you vowed that you would never be that boring couple who barely has the energy to crawl to bed, much less plan a date night. Believe it or not, the routine and mundane can be the quiet killer of relationships. If this is you, it’s not too late to do something different.
Shake things up a bit. It’s kind of like working out. There are plenty of times you don’t feel like exercising, but you are so glad you pushed yourself after your workout is done. The same principle applies here. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just different than what you usually do.
Date night may seem like an optional item on your “to-do” list that requires planning and energy you don’t feel like you have right now. The truth is, date night is vital for the health of your relationship. If money is keeping you from going on a date, barter childcare with a friend for whom you can return the favor, collect all the loose change in your house and car and challenge yourselves to go on a date using that loose change.
Not feeling very creative? Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing:
Put the kids to bed early, pull out the candles, cook something easy or order carry out and have dinner by candlelight sans children.
If your spouse can handle surprises, leave clues for a mystery date to their favorite restaurant or a location that has significant meaning to the two of you.
Pull out the board games, order pizza and play on.
Hop in the car, decide what direction you will head and how many miles you will drive. Grab a bite to eat at the restaurant closest to that mile marker and enjoy each other’s company.
Date night doesn’t have to be extravagant to make a significant positive impact on your marriage. Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent crowd out nurturing your relationship. It’s well worth the investment.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR SPOUSE SHOULD BE FULFILLING, NOT FRUSTRATING.
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