We get it…you’re busy. We all are! But it’s important to your health and the health of your relationship to quit using that as an excuse for why you’re not spending time with your significant other! Read on for some of the ways keeping a regular date night with your love can boost your intimacy, and some ideas to help keep those date nights sacred and special.
No matter how long you have been together, you and your partner should continue to “date” each other. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds; it just means you need to ensure to carve out special blocks for quality time spent just with them. As humans, we naturally invest most of our time into what matters most to us, and our relationship should be near the top of that priority list. Wanting to spend time with your partner shows that you care and that they are important to you. Planning regular date nights and keeping them is just one small way you can make a big impact on the health of your relationship.
Sure, life happens. Family emergencies, unexpected late nights at work, or even just bad moods or exhaustion can sometimes get the best of us and wind up canceling plans. When this happens on what is supposed to be a date night with your S.O., though, you should always do your best to reschedule. Special occasions like Sweetest Day, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and birthdays always call for an extra special date night, but planned quality time and dates should happen regularly, all year long. As we like to say at Lover’s Lane, couples who play together, stay together!
Why is it important?
- It gives us a chance to talk: As busy as our lives may get, it’s important to fill our loved ones in on major events, news we’ve gotten, and even just how our day went. Sometimes, we also need to check in and talk about how the relationship is going, too; good and bad. Date nights give us a chance to truly communicate with each other.
- It makes memories: Doing things together regularly gives us a shared narrative about our lives, and these activities become memories that are fun to bring up later in life. Every couple needs some “remember that time…” stories about funny shared memories to bring up when smiles are needed.
- It builds our friendship with our significant other: Your spouse or partner should be your best friend, but even friendships can go south if you stop seeing each other or having mutual interests. Enjoying activities and common interests together during quality time gives you opportunities to have fun and laugh together, reconnect, and remember the early days of when you were dating.
- It leads to more intimacy: Making time for each other to talk, to date, and to connect physically will help you grow your romantic connection and deepen all forms of intimacy with one another. Sharing quality time and date night experiences helps create and strengthen your closeness as a couple. Stronger feelings of connectedness, love, and exclusivity often lead to a better bond between the sheets as you show your affection physically.
There are even more reasons than this why quality time and maintaining regular date nights is important to your wellness as an individual and as a couple. You can read about 15 more of them here from Marriage.com. In addition to higher self-esteem, less stress and depression, and an enhanced sense of security in your relationship, regular date nights also stave off feelings of loneliness. When couples don’t spend enough couple time together, negative feelings and effects can start to crop up, leaving room for feelings of sadness or resentment. Watch for these red flags that you and your love are not spending enough quality time together, and get ready to make a change if that’s the case.
What do we do, though?
Generating enough ideas for a lifetime of “date nights” may sound terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. First of all, not every piece of quality time together needs to be a formal “date” where you go out or do something special. The quality of the time spent together is what’s important. Take movie night for example. If you two usually put on Netflix and both sit separately on the couch and “watch” while you’re actually working, texting, or playing on your phone, that’s not quality time. Change your typical movie night into date night by discussing your movie choice together (maybe splurge and pay to rent a new release you’re both interested in) and then truly watching it together. Put the other tech away, pop popcorn, dim the lights, and cuddle under a blanket while you watch. Then take some time after to talk about the movie, or your day. Just go with the flow, and conversations will often lead the way to even more intimacy in the bedroom.
Secondly, focus on ideas for date activities you know you like to do together, and do them over and over. Don’t be afraid to recycle “take a walk to go get ice cream”, “ride bikes in the park”, or “play video games together” as often as you need to, as long as you both still enjoy them. Taking turns planning your date nights is another great way to keep them interesting while cultivating shared interests.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Having novel things to do with your partner on the regular helps both of you maintain excitement about the relationship. It also gives you something to look forward to, which is a huge serotonin booster. Not all of your date night ideas have to cost a lot of money, either, or even require leaving the house. Check out this list of 41 Creative At-Home Date Ideas from Relish to get the creative juices flowing. Some of my favorites? Couple’s massages with a little candle-warmed oil, or making your own private photo booth! Some new lingerie or sexy underwear will make the session even spicier!
How do we make the time?
This can be the most challenging aspect for many couples, but it’s too important to the well-being of your relationship to throw in the towel. Just like it’s okay (and sometimes necessary) to schedule sex, it’s okay to schedule your quality time. Sit down with your partner periodically and plan your “date nights”. Schedule blocks of time that are for just the two of you. Ideally, true quality time should last at least an hour per session, but it’s okay to start small and fit in what you can. Put these plans on your calendar, and do your best to stick to the schedule. Making a set plan like this is much more meaningful, and easier to make good on than vague promises of “we should do something together soon.”
If you have kids, capitalize on the time after they go to bed to enjoy quality time together. You are probably both tired, too, so keep activities low-key and just enjoy cuddling, bonding, and reconnecting. Enjoying adult conversations and activities is important after a busy day that feels like it revolves around your kids. It’s okay to keep late night date nights quiet, too. Have a movie night in bed, color in adult coloring books (bust out the GOOD colored pencils you don’t let the kids touch), or put in your earbuds and have a silent disco to your own music until you both fall into each other’s arms laughing because you’re such bad dancers. At least once a month, though, make sure you get a babysitter and go out on the town (consider making arrangements with another couple to alternate sitting so you can both get date nights in). A change of scenery and time without parental duties is important for remembering your foundation as a loving couple and why you chose to build a family together in the first place. It also gives your children an example of healthy adult love relationships, which will strengthen their own feelings of love and security as they grow.