I’m surprised by how many couples who have been married for some time end up seeming to view a regular date night like a trip to the dentist—they know it’s something that is good for them, but they don’t really look forward to it. If that’s you, let me suggest some ways to breathe new life into your relationship by going back to your dating days.
In addition to working on your date night checklist, reflect with me on the six things that may have characterized your early days building your relationship, and see how you can re-cultivate some of them.
1. You used to look forward to the next time you would be together.
Excitement ran high; you just couldn’t wait to see them again, so you made it a priority in your calendar. You went out of your way to keep that appointment—going to work early if you needed to so you could be sure to get away on time. And you didn’t let minor inconveniences keep you away. And your commitment to being there was a silent message to them: You are important.
2. You came up with fun and interesting things to do.
Don’t just default to dinner or takeout and a movie. I know that after 27 years of marriage, there have been times when I have just gone with the tried and true, rather than attempting to come up with something new because it was easier. Look in the calendar section of your local newspaper for possible activities. And here are 7 more interesting date night ideas.
3. In the early years, you didn’t just look for things to do and places to go that might interest them; you also made yourself interesting and appealing.
In other words, you worked on your appearance. Just because your spouse has now seen you at your worst doesn’t mean they don’t still like to see you at your best from time to time. Make an effort with your appearance. Trade the shorts and tee-shirt or sweat suit for khakis and a golf shirt or cute outfit. Dress to impress.
4. You wanted to know more and all about them.
Don’t assume you already know what your spouse thinks/feels/knows about a certain subject even though you’ve been married for years. Times and people change; they may surprise you. If you need some help, here are some fun marriage talk questions to spark conversation.
5. You let them into your life, bit by bit, as you shared your thoughts and feelings and told stories.
Don’t assume your spouse knows/understands all about you just because you have said it before. Real openness is one of 6 things you must embrace for a more intimate marriage.
Don’t assume your spouse knows/understands all about you just because you have said it before.
6. You used to talk about the future, and what might/could be.
In the busyness of everyday life, it’s all too easy to get so caught up in today that you forget about tomorrow. Raise your sights again, and make some plans. What do you want life together to look like in ten years? Share your hopes, then work backward to the present and see what steps you need to take to begin getting there.
This “do” list needs to be anchored by a big “don’t.” And that is, avoid the temptation to turn your date night into a business meeting. Don’t try to combine a special time together with a list of errands that need running, or make the children or financial issues the topic of your entire conversation.
What have you done to get out of a married dating rut? Share your thoughts and experiences here.