It’s a cliché that’s thrown around at weddings: Your wedding day isn’t the end of something so much as it’s the beginning of something new. You’re also subject to a host of clichés as a newlywed couple and more than several aunts with failed marriages giving their two cents. However, under all the clichés and unwanted pieces of advice (usually) lies some truth. If you want your marriage to work, you need to work at it. This is why incorporating a date night into your married life routine is a great way to keep your love alive.
What Does Date Night Have to Entail?
It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it does have to be deliberate and planned out. You don’t need to bestow a new wedding ring set each date night (though that’s a nice thing to do occasionally), but you do want to at least give your time deliberately.
A Planned Activity
Go see a movie, get dinner, walk in the park. Whatever you like to do, do that! As we stated before, the only rule here is that it has to be deliberately planned. While it doesn’t have to be out of the house, that’s usually a good idea. Stay-in date nights are good here and there, but you want to get out of the house more often than not. If you stay in, it’s easy to let chores and other life responsibilities creep in and distract you.
A Block of Time
You don’t have to take the whole day, but block out at least two hours. In an ideal world, you’d have more than two hours, but if your schedule is busy, that’s enough time. Regardless, you want to define a time and consider it sacred such that nothing (outside of emergencies, of course) gets in the way of it. That time doesn’t get moved for anything short of a natural disaster. You can always have date night in the storm cellar, although we foresee that being pretty unromantic.
Do you have to leave your phones at home? Well, no. There are good reasons to have your phone on you, especially if you have young children with a babysitter. If you two find it easy to leave your phones in your pocket and not check them, no worries. However, you know your distractions. Whatever those things are, do your absolute best to minimize or remove them ahead of time.
How Often Should You Have Date Night?
There are a couple of schools of thought on this one. Some say once a week, some say about twice a month. Both agree that more often is better, though. There’s something called the “2-2-2 Rule” that’s been popularized as of late. Basically, the breakdown is a date every two weeks, a weekend away every two months and a week-long vacation every two years. Those aren’t hard and fast numbers, but they are great points of reference.
Why It’s Important to Prioritize Date Nights After Marriage
Ever heard of the seven-year itch? No, it’s not a slang term for a disease, we promise. It’s the idea that after seven years, you start to get tired of your partner. Is this an empirical fact? Kind of. Studies do seem to indicate there’s some truth to it. The average divorce happens in the eighth year of marriage. Factor in that an average divorce takes more or less a year, and this term is actually pretty on the nose.
As cliché as the whole “love is a choice” thing is, there’s really truth behind it. As we said before, you’ve gotta work at it, or you increase your likelihood of ending up a statistic here. Will date nights prevent divorce? Well, not on their own. However, they can definitely help. Beyond that, there are a few other things to consider.
Reason 1: It Makes Time for Just the Two of You
It’s easy to get caught up in life, especially if you both work or you have children (or both). It feels like there’s always so much to do that you don’t get time alone. While busyness may be a part of life, it’s critical to make time for just the two of you with some regularity. You’ll feel better, and your relationship overall will be better for it.
Reason 2: It Makes You Better Communicators
Really, we promise. Your date nights can be great ways to talk about what you need from each other, what you’re doing well and what you want to improve on. Of course, if there’s a really sensitive topic, that probably deserves its own time for discussion. Lower-level stuff, both positive and negative, can easily be brought up on date night, though.
Reason 3: It Helps Keep the Spark
Remember when you first started dating and everything was exciting? All the little things were new, and there was just a certain spark. You bought everyday jewelry as presents just because you wanted to give a gift. You’re never going to get that honeymoon phase back exactly, but that’s perfectly fine. Your relationship has matured and it looks different, but that spark — though a different version of itself — can absolutely remain.
Reason 4: It’s Just Fun!
And sometimes that’s all it needs to be. Dating was fun and marriage is supposed to be fun, too! It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but there are always little moments for fun.
Sure, it takes a bit more work to prioritize date nights after marriage. However, if you can, you’ll both find yourselves happier for it.