After saying “I do,” so many couples, whether they’ve been married for a year or 20 years, let their dating lives lapse. “The longer the couple is together, it tends to be that those date nights decrease, unfortunately, and those couples tend to have to work harder to make them happen,” notes therapist K’Hara McKinney.
You probably don’t believe you need to continue the dating game well into your married life because you invested a lot of time in igniting the spark and getting to know your spouse before you got married. Not to add, finding the time to strengthen your relationship becomes even more difficult as marriage brings with it increased responsibility, particularly when children are involved.
Yes, you may have already found love, but maintaining that love is just as crucial. What is the greatest strategy to maintain the spark and avoid being comfortable in your marriage? No of how long you’ve been together, keep dating your mate. To have a healthier marriage, you must schedule time each week for date nights. According to McKinney, “the advantages of date evenings are enhanced connection and a reminder of why the couple wants to be together.” Whether it’s dinner and drinks at your favorite restaurant or an evening walk around the block, dating your spouse will elevate your relationship to a new level. “Routine dates are a good way to help nurture and nourish the friendship, which is the quintessential component of a long-lasting relationship and marriage.”
We polled the experts to find out how frequently married couples should schedule date nights to help you get into a routine. These relationship experts also provided the greatest advice on how to plan these dates without difficulty and how to make the most of your date evenings. What you need to know about having a good date night as a married couple is provided here.
Marriage and family therapist K’Hara McKinney practices in Los Angeles. She has 16 years of experience in counseling.
Yasmine Saad is the founder and CEO of Madison Park Psychological Services in New York City. She is a clinical psychologist with a license and 15 years of experience. Additionally, she is an internationally acclaimed writer.
When Should You Schedule Date Nights?
For married couples, McKinney recommends one date night every week as a basic guideline. But a number of things can influence how frequently you and your partner plan these dates. Three factors that affect this value are listed below.
Respect each person’s preferences
One is that each person has unique wants and lifestyles. For other couples, having their own space during the workweek is preferable to finding fulfillment in a regular Friday night dinner date. Other couples might feel the need for greater closeness, so they could opt to schedule three date nights each week. According to psychotherapist Yasmine Saad, “what each couple needs to consider to decide the number of date evenings that will suit them is how much companionship they desire and need.” How much diversion from their daily routine do they need to maintain the spark? ”
To avoid a disagreement and prevent any pent-up resentment from undermining your relationship, make sure to vocalize your needs during an open conversation with your partner. Depending on different personality styles, sometimes one partner may desire more quality time, while the other might need more alone time.
Examine your schedule.
Instead of trying to meet a certain quota, it’s more crucial to make sure that your date nights seamlessly fit into your schedule. “[The dates] are more likely to continue if it’s not hard to do or inconvenient,” McKinney notes. You’ll also avoid the stress of trying to balance your busy lives with a dating schedule.
Focusing on the outcome rather than the experience of spending time with your partner will prove to be counterproductive. “As long as the date is mindfully focused on the couple without distraction, that’s ideal,” McKinney says. “If you concentrate too much on quantity, you’ll quickly start to view date nights as an obligation, something to check off your to-do list.”
Advice on Planning Date Nights
We consulted the pros to get their best advice and tactics for prioritizing date evenings without the stress of a full-time job and household duties. Married life is busy, so finding the time to arrange an elaborate date night is probably impossible.
Since any time spent with your partner is valuable, start with something small, like a 15-minute stroll on Sunday evening or grabbing a quick bite after work one night. “The easier and more seamless [the date is] into their existing routine, the more likely it’ll continue,” McKinney says. “As long as the intent to connect is the driver and it’s abiding by that, the more likely it’ll continue.”
Activate Your Values
“The easiest way to prioritize date nights if you have difficulty doing so is linking them to something you value more,” Saad says. “If you enjoy giving back to the community, volunteer at a soup kitchen with your significant other. If you love living a healthy lifestyle, lace up your sneakers and tackle a nearby fitness challenge.”
Make it a regular practice.
Block off a regular time in your calendar for quality time with your partner; if you’re both typically free on Saturday nights, reserve 7 to 10 p.m. for date night activities; to avoid boredom, make sure you switch up the types of dates you go on. According to Saad, the easiest way to ensure you stick to your date night regimen is to make a habit of going on a date at the same time every week.
The Best Ways to Utilize Your Date Nights
You won’t begin to enjoy the advantages of frequent date nights until you’ve actually gone on the date, so keep in mind these four suggestions to help you make the most of your one-on-one time.
Participate in the discussion.
Asking questions is a great way to show interest and learn more about each other, according to McKinney, and moving past surface-level conversations and digging deeper will also build intimacy. Being present and giving your partner your undivided attention will help you make the most of your time together.
Listening intently is another foolproof way to profit from date nights. “There doesn’t necessarily have to be conversation involved, but each person should feel heard, seen, and listened to,” McKinney says.
Consider whether certain topics increase your cortisol levels. If you’d rather spend the date focusing on your relationship, set boundaries in the conversation and let your partner know. Do you want to spend the date venting about workplace drama or planning your kids’ schedules? “For some couples, it creates more intimacy, and for others, it creates less stress,” Saad says.
You may also set boundaries around technology, advises McKinney, by limiting distractions by switching to “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone and focusing solely on your partner.
Maintain Regular Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact with your significant other fosters trust and intimacy, thereby strengthening your marriage, but this nonverbal communication technique is something that couples frequently overlook. “I’m always surprised at how little we make eye contact with our partner, and this becomes true the longer the relationship and the more variables involved,” McKinney says.
Stick to what works for you and tune out the noise since, at the end of the day, your date nights won’t look the same as those of your friends and family. “Couples should not criticize each other and define their date night’s frequency by looking at others,” Saad urges.
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