Sometimes when I read an article, I get the sense that the author has already figured everything out. And we need that from time to time, right? If we are going through a bit of a rough patch, it's nice to read from someone who has been there, done that, and wrote a book about it. If we’re trying to figure out how to get to the next step, getting advice from someone who already has the advice because they’ve lived it is certainly something we can all appreciate. I know I do.

However, sometimes I want to read from people “in the trenches,” of life. I want to know that I’m not alone and there are people out there who can say, “Hey, I’m going through this right now as well.” It's encouraging to know that we're not alone in our current situation because it reminds us that, well, we’re not alone. So, here's where I am right now, and I wonder if you can relate: Date nights with my spouse need to happen more!

Can you relate? If so, let's dive into this a bit deeper.

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My wife and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary this summer. I'd like to say that we get along well but after 15 years and three kids, I can admit that sometimes it feels like we’re just going through the motions. I can remember looking into her eyes and letting her know she was the most important person in my life and how I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with her. Now, it's more like, hey, don't I know you from somewhere? Can't quite put my finger on it but you look really familiar.

The truth is, life gets in the way and dates have become increasingly sparse. We're busy! Everyone is busy! There are things to do, places to go, bills to pay. I get it, it's a hectic world. But let me make a plea to you as I sit here and do the same to myself: it’s time to reprioritize and make date night a regular occurrence in our relationships! We need to change our mindset from, “We'll get to it when we get to it,” to, “Our relationship is too important not to go on date night.”

So, how do we start this process if we've been out of the date game with our significant other for a spell and we want to put it back into our relationship rotation? What can we do to light that fire? Well, it's not rocket science, and it's not that deep. It just takes a bit of awareness, planning, and action.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
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Be Intentional

This isn't about redesigning the wheel. Being intentional about your date night goal is step number one because it puts it in the forefront of your mind that this matters to you. Just giving yourself the goal of having more date nights with your significant other is a huge step to getting started. Letting your SO know that you want to start doing things other than sitting on the couch and watching TV every night is a great way to break the ice and open up the lines of communication.

What are some effective ways that I've found that help the process of intentionality? Treating date night like it's a non-negotiable part of your relationship and that you need it to better yourself and your relationship. Treat it like anything else that requires attention: write it on your calendar and circle it! It's not something you just meander into. Instead, when you make your plans for the week, you already know that you've got plans for this day at this time with your partner, and nothing short of a cataclysmic event will stop you from making that appointment.

Minimize Distractions

This one is tough. We're in a constant state of connection with our phones practically acting as an additional limb. But if we're going to be intentional about making date night meaningful and permanent, we have to make sure it's worth our while, and that means minimizing distractions as best we can. The primary culprit is definitely the phone we use to stay constantly connected to the outside world. If you don't have children, this might be a little bit easier, as you can just silence your device and put it up for a couple hours. But if you've got kids, how are you supposed to keep up with the safety of your children?

One of the best things I've found is setting my phone up to only receive calls/texts from specific numbers. So, if you've got a babysitter that you want to keep in contact with, or a child that is old enough to watch other children, only allowing them to be able to get in touch with you when you're out on the town could be a good idea.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
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It Doesn't Have to be Perfect

Sometimes if it's not perfect, I'd almost rather not do it. But that's not a great mindset when it comes to dating your partner. Tying into this is the idea that the outing has to be expensive or ultra-creative. As I get further along in this "re-dating my spouse" thing, I can see a huge benefit in keeping it simple. No stress, no fuss, just easygoing. Because at the end of the day, it's not about what you're doing or how much you're spending, it's all about creating quality moments and reconnecting with one another.

So, let's say we've picked out the date, we've got the babysitter situation lined up, all the emergency contacts are on the fridge, now what are we supposed to do? Well, here are a few ideas to get us started. They might not seem flashy, but I think they could be just what we need to get the ball rolling.

  • Coffee+Board Games
  • Picnic at the Park
  • Trying a new restaurant
  • Watch the sunset+stargaze at your favorite spot
  • Take an evening walk downtown
  • Trivia night at a local bar
  • Escape Room/Classic Arcade
  • Take a one-night painting class
  • Couples massage
  • Play some mini-golf
  • Take a trolley ride

I hope that seeing this sparks an interest in dating your partner more often, and maybe these ideas have piqued your brain with other ideas that you can use! Best of luck!

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