Date-night obstacles vary depending on the couple, but the majority we’ve seen fit under three common challenges couples face when trying to re-establish the practice: our lives are too busy; planning is too difficult; or we’re too broke.
Today, we share a handful of our clients’ favorite fail-safe solutions to those three common challenges in planning date night.
Set Ground Rules
Do what’s right for you, but consider answering these questions to overcome your personal challenges:
Who’s planning? You’re both busy, so we recommend 50/50 split — but other percentages can work, too.
How often will you date? Whether it’s once a week or once a month, decide now.
How far ahead should you plan? Many plan date night during monthly budgeting. Some knock out a year all at once!
Mark Your Dates
Get your dates on your calendars, set reminders, share the appointments electronically, and keep your commitment to one another like any other doctor, hair, or spa appointment you might make. Remember, this is “you” time, too.
Mix It Up
A low-pressure way to ensure you don’t get stuck in the dinner-and-a-movie rut, jot down 52 different date night ideas and throw them in a jar. Whoever’s turn it is, draw a week in advance to give yourself time to plan.
Planning ahead also allows you to decide how often you want to hire a babysitter and when to phone in family and friend favors. It’s also great to get those nights on their calendars so they’re less likely to cancel.
Try New Things
The exciting part of dating your spouse initially was the anticipation, not knowing what was in store. Surprise one another by planning a day date or an in-town overnight hotel stay. Get tickets to a show you’ve never seen, or reserve a table at a restaurant with never-tried cuisine.
Revisit Old Favorites, Too
Trying new things never negates old favorites, of course! When you’re feeling distant and insecure about your connection, revisiting the place you met or seeing a favorite band together can remind you of what you had in common in the first place.
Whatever you do, snap a few selfies, buy the t-shirt, make a memorable toast. Those memories become the reminders you need for how much you love each other when times get tough. Research even shows the body doesn’t know the difference between memory and experience. Reminiscing keeps the bond strong and the good feelings flowing.
If these don’t get date night on track, consider getting in touch with marriage counselors Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski. With their help, you may discover the obstacles keeping the two of you from regularly-scheduled fun are actually self-imposed.