Think the pre-engagement courtship you shared with your soon-to-be wife would be the last serious effort you’d ever put into dating? Think again. Taking care of your relationship post-wedding is equally essential. It can mean the difference between a strong, healthy marriage and one that divides a couple. To break down the topic, we’ve brought in some of our favorite bloggers to provide their advice on dating after “I do”.
With life’s many distractions, spending quality time with your spouse can easily go by the wayside. How important is it for couples to maintain a regular date night? What are some fun date night ideas?
Life can have many distractions, but finding quality time with your spouse should be a priority. I recently read a tweet from Busy Philipps (@Busyphilipps25) that said, “You never feel closer to your spouse than when you’re binge watching a TV show together.” It’s funny because it’s true: Some overlooked activities (cooking together in the kitchen, running errands, and yes, ‘binge-watching’ TV shows) can keep you bonded during the week. On the weekend, make time for a coffee date, dress up and go out to dinner, or plan to get away for the weekend. Spend time in conversation and skip the chatter about work, errands and home projects. Some of the best date ideas aren’t expensive either – a rented movie and popcorn date at home, a trip to the cider mill or a walk at a local park are just a few ideas. Date nights shouldn’t fly out the window when you’re married. Make time to keep the romance alive.
Regularly scheduling quality time together is essential in any marriage. Otherwise, life (work commitments, hectic family schedules, home maintenance, financial stress, etc.) quickly tends to get in the way of what you’d rather be doing together — like relaxing on the beach of a remote island, cocktail in hand. So it’s important to schedule a regular date night on a weekly or monthly basis (whatever works for you) where just the two of you can hang out, like you did when you were dating. A date night can be as simple and inexpensive as dinner and a movie or TV marathon at home or out, or trying something new or fun together, such as touring a local vineyard or brewery, taking a cooking class, hitting a concert, or going to your favorite team’s next game.
Regular date nights are extremely important because they keep couples connected. Research has shown that couples who participate in new and exciting activities together report significantly greater marital satisfaction. Part of this is because new experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding the body with the same chemicals that are released during the early romantic phase of a relationship. Just hanging out together, however, won’t have the same effect. You have to do new and exciting things, which is why regular dates are so important.
Before embarking on your adventure, remember that dates should be fun! When coming up with a great date night idea, the simplest source of inspiration can be found in the season and your surroundings. The summer months have county fairs, fall brings about Octoberfest, and when winter arrives, the Christmas lights go up. Build the date around these activities. If you’re going to check out holiday lights, for example, pack a thermos of something hot and maybe find a romantic high-point overlooking the entire area after you’ve seen everything at street level. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make things perfect; just do something you’ll both enjoy.
It’s extremely important for couples to keep the spark alive well after the honeymoon, especially once the kids arrive! While we’ve tried a weekly date night, our schedules don’t always allow for it, so we try to plan weekends away without the kids a few times a year. If you’re not parents, some fun date night ideas might be a fancy dinner and a show (once or twice a year it’s fun to get dressed up), a movie night, an ice cream sundae night (one of my favorites at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor), comedy shows, taking in a game, or some random trivia night at a bar. Whatever you do for date night, make it something you don’t always do so it’s something exciting to try and look forward to.
There’s no doubt you’ll spend more time with your spouse after you’re married. However, I personally don’t consider evenings spent cleaning the house, organizing budgets and grocery shopping as much fun as a night out on the town. This is why maintaining regular date nights is one thing that my wife and I have made a priority in our marriage. We’ve made it a goal to try at least one new restaurant every month. The same concept would easily work for museums, parks or movies. It’s also always refreshing to power off for these date nights and commit to not using your phone, tablet or apps for the evening. It sounds tough, but I know you can do it!
Whats your favorite way to share a date night with your significant other? Low key or out on the town? Share your response below!