Relationships take a lot of work. One of the first things that couples often report letting go of is spending quality time together (and that means without the kids). Having a date night ends up being one of the last things on the list. People are busy and it is easy to let things with your husband/wife slide and forget to make your relationship a priority.
When I bring up the idea of a date night with couples I often get a variety of responses such as…
- We used to do that.
- We have been talking about going on a date.
- We went on a date a couple of months ago. It was great.
It doesn’t matter what you like to do on your date night, the key is just that you are putting your efforts into focusing all your attention on connecting with your partner.
I have experienced many couples who come into my office frustrated, hopeless, and disappointed about their relationship. They report that they haven’t been feeling connected to each other. Their communication is horrible. They just can’t get through to each other.
Once couples get to the point where they are feeling this disconnected it can be hard to know how to come back.
It’s kind of like working out and getting in shape. Let’s say there was a time in your life when you could easily run a 5k (3 miles). You felt good. You could get up and go without any problems.
This is like the time you and your partner were first dating. You were communicating well and feeling good about your connection with each other.
Now you almost never have time to run. It has been several months or years. You try to do it once in awhile, but whenever you try it feels really difficult. You are usually sore afterward.
This is just like communication in a relationship. It falls apart over the course of many months and years. It’s not just going to come back in the first try.
Relationships Take Work!
Just like with exercise, having a great relationship takes a lot of work! Part of that work includes setting aside time every week to connect with your partner. When you want to exercise you have to make it part of your life and schedule. This is necessary for dating your husband/wife too.
When couples put a date night on the schedule they are much more likely to follow through on it. It is essential to make a date night part of your weekly routine.
Many people report feeling too busy to take the time for a date night. I can’t emphasize enough that you have to make your relationship and your partner a priority! If you are too busy for your relationship now you are going to be spending a lot of time later in marriage counseling, divorce court or in an unfulfilling relationship.
Here are some ideas for making sure date night happens.
- Have a date night during the day. Do you have a school meeting or Drs. Appointment scheduled that takes you away from work? Why not grab a quick lunch or coffee with that special someone after the meeting?
- Date nights can be at home too. After getting the kids to bed sometimes all you want to do is turn your brain off and watch Netflix. That’s fine, but I would encourage you to take 15-20 minutes before you start watching. Put away your phones, pay attention to each other and talk about your day, goals, plans, what you’re grateful for, etc.
- Do it like it’s your job (because it is). If you want to be successful at work, the first thing you have to do is show up. It is the same if you want to have a successful marriage. Make it a priority. I would encourage you to put it on the schedule every week.
If it’s difficult to find the time, check out these 6 Ways to Find More Time in Your Relationship.
Making date night a priority means making your partner a priority. The future of your relationship and your life depends on how much effort you are willing to put in now. You can’t afford to take this for granted.
Shane Birkel is a couples therapist with offices in Dover and Portsmouth, NH. He and his wife try to have a weekly date night, but often fall short of making happen every week. Check out the couples therapy page for more information on what the experience is like and whether it is right for you. Please call 603-852-3654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.