Having date nights when you’re married is really important. We have been married for 16 years now and we still make it a priority to spend that much needed quality time together. Date nights give you the chance to focus on each other without other distractions. They help you have fun and enjoy each other while also keeping you emotionally connected. Below are just a few of our suggestions when it comes to dating when you’re married:
- Do things you used to enjoy doing together. When you’ve been together a long time, it’s very easy to get stuck in routines. We sometimes forget the fun things we used to do. Try remembering back to your first dates. What did you do and where did you go? Try to incorporate those ideas into your dates now.
- Do “COURT” each other! We know this is an old term. Courting means to try to gain the love or affections or gain the favor of your partner by attention or flattery. When you were first dating, what were you trying to do? Hopefully, one of your goals was to get another date. Use this strategy because you want another date with your partner!
- Do talk to each other and update your love maps. A love map is the “part of the brain where you store all the relevant information about our partner’s life” (Gottman & Silver, 1999, p. 48). For example, one piece of information you might know is your partner’s favorite flower. We learn these things about our partner over the years, but we sometimes assume this information never changes. However, what your partner liked 5, 10, or 20 years ago may not be the same today. Knowing and understanding each other is really important and helps you maintain your connection. So keep talking and sharing with each other so you can update each other’s love maps.
- Do new and novel things together. Pick something that you both would like, but have never done before. For example, it could be as wild as skydiving to as simple as taking a cooking class together. Remember, novelty creates positive energy and excitement!
- Do put away your cell phones. This is time for you to focus on each other! Enough said.
- Don’t go to the same restaurants and places you normally go. This can create a routine and can lead to you getting stuck in a rut.
- Don’t just go to the movies or watch TV. We don’t consider these date night activities. When you do these activities you are focused on the screen, not each other. Remember, close proximity does not equal quality time!
- Don’t talk about problems with work, the children or in your relationship on your date nights. Don’t get us wrong, these are very important things that you want to discuss…just not on date nights. Remember, you are trying to connect and have fun together!
- Don’t have to spend a lot of money. There are many things you can do for a date night that are free or cost little money. How about taking a bike ride, having a romantic picnic at a local park or watching the sunset together?
We hope these dating suggestions help. As always, wishing you deeper connection and passion in your relationship!
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work. New York, New York: Three Rivers Press.