There comes a point in most long-term relationships where the romance starts to fade. Not the love; one would hope if you’re sticking around there’s no problem on the love front. But at some point the excitement and conscious awareness of that love (aka. the romance) moves into the background. It becomes everyday. You’re used to it, you’re comfortable with it.
For my boyfriend and I, this started to happen after we moved in together. We’ve been together over 3 years now, and the moving-in happened at 1 year. Before that, we lived about 30 minutes apart and every time we got to see each other was An Event – something to look forward to and get excited about. And even the initial phase of living together was exciting – I get to see my best friend EVERY DAY!? Awesome. (And this is still awesome, FYI). But eventually we found that we weren’t really going out on actual dates anymore, we were just hanging out together at home. Which is also fine as we both tend to be homebodies anyway, but we both kind of missed getting out of the house and not being distracted by TV/housework/computer/what have you. We missed the occasions where we could focus just on each other and whatever we were doing together. So we decided to get some of that back, and instituted Date Night.
The beauty about Date Night is that it can be whatever and whenever and however often you want it to be. For me and Ian, it’s weekly and usually means going out to dinner. We like getting out of the house, being waited on and not having to cook for a night, and just having a nice conversation over dinner. We go on Wednesday nights usually because places tend to be less crowded than on the weekends, and reservations aren’t as needed. It’s a nice break in the middle of the work week. We also stock up on gift certificates whenever Restaurant.com has the $2 for $25 sale, and use those to help offset the cost. (Just because it’s a Date Night doesn’t mean you can’t be practical about timing and budget!). We’ve tried a bunch of new places, and had some really good times. We’ve also done: dinner & movie nights at the local dine-in movie theater, mini golf, attending a baseball game, and even just taking the puppy on a long walk to a local fast food place. Sometimes we plan a fancy meal and wine to make ourselves at home. However we mix it up, the basic point remains the same: it’s time set aside just for us, without distractions. An elusive thing called quality time, if you will. 😉
We’ve been doing date night for about a year now, and it’s something we both look forward to every week. It definitely works for us, and I think it’s something a lot of couples could benefit from. So I thought I’d share some quick tips for how to get the most from a Date Night:
- Take turns picking what to do on Date Night. It’s only fair, and it can also add a bit of mystery when it’s your partner’s turn and you don’t know what’s in store for the night
- It doesn’t have to be something where you spend money; any activity you can do together with minimal distractions and the ability to have a real conversation works.
- Use it as an excuse to try new things! Whether that be new restaurants, or new hobbies (we’re thinking of doing a cooking class), don’t be afraid to branch out.
- No answering your cell phone. Barring any emergency, of course. Date Night is about quality time with your partner, not leaving them bored while you have a conversation on your phone with someone else. Plus, it’s just rude.
- Don’t be fooled by the name! Just because I’m calling it Date Night doesn’t mean it actually has to be at night. Have a Date Breakfast or a Date Afternoon, or a whole Date Day – whatever works!
If you get stuck for ideas, here are some helpful sites: 24 Frugal Date Night Ideas, 101 Ideas for a Fun Date, 20 Pocket Change Date Night Ideas, 42 Date Night Ideas for the Date Night Challenged, and Best Date Night Ideas on Marie Claire.
Do any of you do a regular date night with your spouse/partner/significant other? What’s your favorite kind of Date Night outing?