Date Nights Are A Must
So many couples tell me that they don't have time to have a date night (or day). Although it can be challenging, time for dates is a must for a close relationship!
Let's face it, we didn't fall in love with our spouse because of the length of their to-do list or the amount of hours they work each day. We fall in love with someone because of how we feel when we are with them and how they make us feel about ourselves. Marriage is based on friendship, and friendship is based on having things in common and having fun with each other. It's hard for a friendship to survive if we don't spend time talking and having fun with that person. Why do we think a marriage can survive without nurturing the friendship on which it is based?
When I suggest to couples in marriage counseling to have a weekly date night, I generally hear a multitude of excuses why this isn't possible: we don't have time, we can't afford to go on a date, we don't have anyone to babysit, we can't think of anything to do, and on and on. My thoughts on the matter are, pay now or pay later. We can pay now by setting boundaries with other things in our lives to have time to spend with our spouse, putting money aside to spend on a date, or doing the work to find a babysitter. Or, we can pay later by being lonely and disconnected in our marriage or paying a divorce attorney to decide who gets the house and how custody will be split. If you're not actively working to enhance and enrich your marriage, the relationship is declining. There is no such thing as simply maintaining in marriage.
Date nights offer a time to reconnect with your spouse and re-familiarize yourself with their world. It's a time to remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. Date nights should be a time to focus on having fun together, not a time to rehash the latest tiff or discuss the household budget. Topics that are stressful or cause conflict should be put on hold during the date. The goal is to have fun, reconnect, build friendship, and increase intimacy.