Remember date nights? Those special evenings that you and your sweetie spent together, sharing life experiences over food and wine, holding hands in a dark theater, and laughing at poor attempts at bowling?
Sure you do. But what happened? Why did they stop?
The likely answer is that you got busy, tired or lazy – or maybe all three. To keep the connection with the one you love alive and well, however, it’s critical to schedule time where you two can turn off the cell phones and computers, talk about what’s going on in your individual lives, and think about nothing more than enjoying each other’s company for at least a few hours.
Date nights are important for a number of reasons, like getting reacquainted; injecting excitement into a stale marriage; confirming love, not rejection; and, of course, taking time off from the kids. Who doesn’t need that, right?
While there are a million more reasons planning a date with your partner is important – many of which you already know – it’s making that time and thinking of an activity to share that can be a stumbling block and one that can lead you to drop the idea all together.
Don’t let that be an excuse.
The first step in planning a date night is to compare your schedules. Sit down with your partner and discuss what night is available or can be cleared. You can do this in the car, over dinner, or watching TV. If you have something scheduled that can be moved or cancelled all together, by all means do it; the health of your relationship is takes precedence.
After setting the date, discuss what you’d like to do. A great date is fun for both partners, so make sure that you’re each equally interested in the activity. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you adamantly don’t want to do something; likewise, consider compromising if an idea isn’t one you don’t know much about but think you might enjoy anyway.
Keep in mind, too, that if you’re on a budget, date night doesn’t have to break your bank. Get creative. There are endless free and low-fee dates that you can make yourself. If you’re still at a loss for fun and frugal activities, Redbook has compiled this list of 100 date-night ideas that you can use. In addition, Wise Bread offers even more ideas broken down by the cost of a great date, from zero to $30.
Daily deal sites, like Groupon and LivingSocial, are also excellent resources for finding out-of-the-ordinary date-night ideas, like horseback riding, white-water rafting, winery tours, beach excursions, and much more at deep discounts. These sites are worth checking out to help generate ideas and solidify plans. The bonus to using these sites to plan dates is that you’ll often meet and befriend other couples – always a plus.
Although the term date night implies a nighttime activity, your dates most definitely do not have to take place at night. In fact, date-type activities often cost less and are less crowded (if you’re going out, that is) during the day than in the evening. If nighttime schedules don’t coordinate, consider dropping the kids off at the babysitter on a Saturday or using a personal day from work to schedule one-on-one time with your partner.
No matter when you plan your date or what you plan to do, the main objective is to spend uninterrupted time with your partner. You two are in this relationship for a reason, and it’s important to take time every now and then to remember why.