8 Ways To Bring Back Date Night

Date Night

A weekly date night is your built-in resistance to your marriage’s inevitable drift toward loneliness.

Everyone knows it’s essential; most couples want it, but few do it. In fact, over 90% of the couples we see for counseling are not spending regular time together. 

As necessary as weekly date night is, it isn’t easy to consistently put it into practice. And I would argue, not because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of priority. 

Think back to your level of responsibility when you were dating your spouse compared to your level of responsibility now. For most, I imagine you have exponentially more responsibilities and pressures now than back then: young kids, busy schedules, increased financial demands, the stress of careers, and lack of trusted babysitters, to name a few.

Having a weekly date night might seem impossible, but it is worth the effort to put it near the top of your priorities when caring for and building your marriage. 

Think of it this way: how successful would your dating relationship have been if you took each other out once a month? Or worse yet, once every couple of months? Let me answer for you…not very successful. If that were your frequency of dating each other, your marriage probably wouldn’t have happened. 

I’ve heard it said this way, “what comes naturally in dating has to become purposeful and intentional in marriage.”

Time together on a weekly date night won’t fix your marriage by itself, but time regular time together is necessary for you to work on your marriage and make it everything you want it to be. 

So, how do you bring a weekly date night back? Here are eight tips to bring it back, and bring it back for good!

Prioritize It

Chances are both of you desire a weekly date night, but only one of you thinks it can happen. If you’re the one who says it can happen, casually talk about your desire with your spouse. Tell them you miss spending regular time with them. Not in an accusatory way that makes them feel like they’ve done something wrong, but in an inviting way that expresses your desire with hope. Maybe something like, “I miss you” or “I miss us”. 

Schedule It

If you leave date night to chance, there’s little chance it will happen. I’ve heard it said this way, “What gets calendared, gets done.” Try to pick a time that will work 75% of the time. Pick another night if it won’t work 75% of the time. If there’s not a time that works, you might be too busy. 

Let me say it this way: you can’t have a growing marriage and an overly busy life. Saying YES to your marriage requires saying NO to some great but less important people, activities, opportunities, and responsibilities—notice I said less important and not unimportant. You’re probably not involved in anything completely unimportant, but the issue is discerning what is most important. And caring for your marriage is one of the most important things you can prioritize. Prioritize it by putting it as a non-negotiable appointment on your calendar.

Protect It

Once you put it on the calendar, make it a non-negotiable. Expect something to come up at work, with the kids, or an expected invitation somewhere, and then plan on how you will respond. Make this a priority. If you don’t, something will get in the way. 

Plan it

Make a reservation, get a babysitter, get your movie tickets in advance, set aside finances, and figure out how to get there and what you will do afterward. Don’t get in the car and ask the date-ending question, “What do you want to do?” or, “Where do you want to go eat?”

Occasionally, plan a conversation topic or a question to discuss at dinner. Or, prepare a few words of appreciation for your spouse. 

Spice it up

To avoid the date night rut, spice it up sometimes as well. My wife and I have our staples that we love, but we also love to try new places about once per month. Some are complete failures, but sometimes, we encounter some hidden gems. Regardless of whether your finds are a success or failure, the most important thing is spending time together.

One last word: planning also involves having a contingency plan. What happens if the babysitter cancels? What happens if someone has to be a little late and that causes a missed reservation or movie time? Or what if the finances just aren’t there? Doing a date night at home might be your answer.

We recently came across a tool that makes a date night “in” feel more spontaneous and fun -The Happily Co’s Date Box. You can subscribe to this box (your first one is on us!) and get unique at-home date ideas, activities, conversation starters, and more sent to you once a month!

Date Box

Talk about it

Once you plan it, talk about it together. Let each other know through a text or call that you can’t wait to spend time together. Talk about the menu and what you will order from start to finish. Anticipating a date night together might be as exciting as the date night itself. At the very least, it will create a momentum of connection leading up to date night, making your time together even more incredible.  

Pray for it

I believe busyness is one of Satan’s attacks to distract us from spending quality time with the people who matter the most to us. Not to over-spiritualize this, but if spending regular time together is a pillar of a growing marriage, then make no mistake: Satan will try to destroy it. 

A babysitter cancels. 

Your reservation didn’t go through. 

Your car breaks down. 

A seemingly more important engagement pops up on your calendar.

Whatever tries to stand in the way of your date night, recognize where it comes from and respond accordingly. Pray for nothing to come in the way of your date night and that God would allow it to be a connecting time for you as a couple. And when a potential distraction comes up, pray together and agree whether you should persevere or press pause on the date night. Some distractions will legitimately stand in the way of some date nights, but again, the goal is 75%. 

Do it

All the planning and preparation in the world doesn’t make up for just doing it. We do what’s important to us. Hopefully, you realize how foundational date night is to the health and longevity of your marriage, and you prioritize it as a result. 

Happy dating!

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