Date night - do you make time?
How often do you and your partner invest quality time into your relationship? I imagine the answer to that, like many of my clients, is not enough.
The lives we lead today are very busy and fast-paced. I listen to my client’s descriptions of their days, some leaving their homes in the early hours of the morning for the stressful commute to work and not returning until the late evening when the children are in bed. Exhausted, they probably share a warmed-up dinner and get a glimpse at a TV programme with their partner, the constant pinging of their phones, reminding them that work is never far away.
As parents, we strive to provide our children with a good education so they get the best start in life, enjoying opportunities to spend time with their peers as well as regular leisure activities. Weekends, therefore, tend to be crammed with ferrying the children between football practice, dance classes and piano lessons, leaving very little time for ourselves, let alone our relationship with our partners.
Juggling our lives in this way can be very stressful, exhausting and time-consuming; leaving very little time for ourselves or our relationship. This can mean that any relationship issues that may already exist remain unresolved, and this can lead to more serious problems down the line.
“How often do you spend time together as a couple and what do you enjoy doing together?” - these are questions I often ask the couples who come to see me. This is often met with “Um”, “Mm” or “We don’t have time for that!”. When you think about it though our couple relationships are the foundation that our family is built on. Surely, this warrants the same investment as we give to other areas of our lives?
Quality time or 'Date night', as it is often referred to, is time spent where we just focus on each other. This helps us to maintain our close connection but also reminds us of why we fell in love and provides a foundation for reigniting the passion in our relationship. It’s an opportunity to do something together that we enjoy without disturbance, whether that be having a meal together with our favourite music playing, doing a jigsaw or having a romantic massage. Allocating this time together gives us permission to focus solely on each other as well as providing an opportunity to check in on the status of the relationship.
Most importantly, it provides the opportunity to have space to have those in-depth conversations the way we used to rather than the day-to-day conversations about who’s picking the children up from school. Communication is so important in our relationships and enables us to maintain that close intimate connection. This quality time also allows us to build resilience in our relationship which helps to carry us through the challenging times.
Many couples say to me that a lack of money or childcare gets in the way of date nights. My response is always to do what you can, with what you have. Date night doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it require you to leave your house, although I appreciate that if you can every now and again this is great.
Date night tips
Here are some tips on how to organise a date night along with some very inexpensive ideas for things that you can do together.
Before the date:
- Plan. Put a regular date in the diary at least twice monthly and try not to cancel. I understand cancellations can be unavoidable so make sure it gets rebooked.
- Share the responsibility. Take turns in organising the date, so it is not left to one person.
In preparation for the date:
- Scrub up. Make an effort to look nice for yourself and your partner. Enjoy getting ready for your date night.
- Set the scene. Light some candles or put on your favourite music, whatever you like that adds to the setting.
- Switch off. Turn on all your devices so that you are not distracted or disturbed.
Ideas for date night:
- Have a picnic in the garden.
- Give each other a massage.
- Cook a meal together or for each other.
- Stargaze on the lawn under a blanket.
- Create a couple’s scrapbook.
- Games night.
- Play a sexy game of twister.
- Take a bubble bath together.
- Cuddle by the fire.
- Dance in the kitchen.
Use the ideas above to kickstart your own date night, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with plenty more ways to spend quality time together. I’d love to hear from you about the activities you’ve enjoyed on your own date nights, as I have seen first-hand how couples that share date nights are much more satisfied in their relationships, so on that note go and get planning!
Of course, if you feel you need some extra support with your relationship you can speak to a professional. Relationship counselling can help you to communicate with one another and address the underlying causes of unhappiness. Search Counselling Directory to find a qualified therapist that can help.