We’ve all heard the experts go on and on about the importance of date night to maintaining a happy relationship. In fact, researchers at University of Rochester found that watching movies and talking about them may be as effective at preventing divorce as other more intensive marriage interventions*.
While this is an exciting development for couples not interested in therapy or marriage education, getting the most out of date night takes more than Netflix and a pizza every Friday night. It’s not enough to simply make date night a part of your weekly routine. If you want to reap the full benefits for your relationship you need to give date night a little effort. Here are 3 easy ways to make sure that your date nights are helping you to take your relationship to the next level!
1. Be creative.
Remember that feeling you had on your first date? The excitement of anticipation and learning something new about each other is part of the magic of romance. But so often, couples will settle into a comfortable routine of dinner and a movie or the same weekend hike or Sunday brunch and then wonder where the spark went. Every date does not need to be something out of a romantic comedy but variety and novelty are necessary at least some of the time. We humans are inexplicably attracted to what’s new and novel and date night is a chance to keep an old love feeling new. If you’ve been feeling as though the spark is missing from your relationship, try doing something you haven’t done before on your next date night. You’d be surprised how a little creativity can spark a whole lot of passion.
2. Be consistent.
Nothing ruins a relationship faster than emotional inconsistency. Showing up emotionally for another person when they need you most isn’t always easy but it is the foundation of any meaningful connection. In our overscheduled, busy lifestyles it is easy to miss out on the small moments that feed your connection. But when you are consistent with date night you have a built in plan to ensure you are emotionally available to your partner on a regular basis.
3. Commit to it.
When things in our relationships get a little rocky, date night is often one of the first things to go. It feels awkward and forced to go out and “have fun” with someone you’ve spent all week bickering with. But date night is even more important when things aren’t going well. Instead of using it as an opportunity to pretend you’re happy or ignore your problems, think of date night as a chance to get some perspective. You know that there are things you love about each other but some days you just can’t see it. Date night is a chance to remind each other of the good stuff and create a more balanced perspective on your relationship.
*Author’s note: In this study, couples were asked to watch specific movies and given a list of questions to guide their discussions. To learn more about the study and check out the movies and discussion topics used, visit www.couples-research.com