Having a regular date night is one of the simplest ways to keep your relationship strong, but keeping those dates interesting is tough. Here's how you can set yourself up to be able to easily plan dates that are fun and memorable.
Being committed to a weekly date night with your partner helps you two become closer and more connected. You probably know at least one couple who swears by scheduled date nights as a way to keep their relationship going. Once you have the right tools, you and your partner can use them to keep the fire burning in your own relationship.
Get Organised And Commit To Regular Dates
Before you start regular date nights, talk over a few things with your partner to make sure you're on the same page. Set expectations around who is responsible for planning them. Taking turns is a great way for both people to get to experience the surprise of not knowing what the date will entail. If you don't have combined finances, you should also talk about how paying will work. The rule I use: whoever planned the date night should pay.
Once you start planning, put your date nights on your calendar and make them a priority. If you have demanding work commitments, this may be a challenge, but it's important. By setting aside specific time and not letting anything else interfere, you're showing your partner that they're a priority and that you value them. Getting date night on your calendar also makes it more likely that you'll establish them as part of your relationship routine.
If you have kids (or pets that get lonely), find a reliable babysitting option, along with a backup, so your plans don't get derailed by the kids. Alternatively, save on the cost of a sitter by trading off child care services with friends.
Keep Things Fresh With Novel Activities
Adding date nights to your calendar isn't enough, of course — you have to do more than go through the motions. To have successful date nights, you need to plan activities that make you and your partner feel excited. Focus on having a variety of activities that are new for both of you. You can use the novelty of these activities to revitalise your relationship.
Keep unique date ideas flowing by finding good sources of inspiration. Riff on activities you both already enjoy. If you like food, make a list of restaurants you want to try or look for local gatherings of food trucks. Sign up for email lists for attractions you like to visit, local forums, and community mailing lists — they will give you a curated list of nearby events to pick from. You can also see if any local museums offer nightlife events, which are great for date night as they usually happen after work hours and offer food and drinks.
If you're really busy, try outsourcing your date ideas. There are plenty of services, sites and apps out there that will send you ideas for dates. To start off, see if It's Date Night, Delightful, BetterHalf, or 301 Date Ideas work for you and your partner. If you want to go a step beyond just outsourcing the date ideas, there are services (like Date Night Planners and For Love and Charmed) that will plan entire dates for you for a fee.
Go big every once in a while — not just for anniversaries or birthdays. You'll surprise your partner, try something really new, and get to feel pampered.
Fill the Gap Between Dates With Small Gestures
Once you start going on regular date nights, you'll see an improvement in how you and your partner feel about each other and your relationship. Keep the good feelings going with small gestures between your scheduled date nights, like flowers, candles at dinner, or doing something special for the other person. Even just making them a home cooked meal or straightening up the house can build on the positivity that date night brings to your relationship (knowing their love language helps a lot in knowing which small gestures make the biggest impact). You can also capture those feelings by documenting your date nights with photos and other keepsakes, then displaying them so you're reminded of the awesome stuff you've done.
Remember What Date Night Is Really About
Keep in mind that date nights don't always have to be super-romantic in nature. Just finding something that gives you and your partner the chance to spend time together and reconnect is the most important part.
Some of the best date nights don't have to cost anything, either. Having a picnic in the park, making drinks at home then going on a stroll through the neighbourhood, or an afternoon spent exploring a nearby attraction can all be wonderful dates.
Also, in addition to new activities, you should also work on how to have interesting conversations that go beyond normal small talk. As tempting as it may be to use this time to address "housekeeping" topics, steer the conversation towards areas that allow you to learn more about your partner. Even if you've been together for a long time, you can still discover new things about your partner — or see how their thoughts and opinions have changed over the years. Avoid interruptions or temptations to check your phone by both agreeing to put your phones on aeroplane mode.
If you're at a loss for what to talk about, plan your date around a conversation sparking activity or ask your partner about a time in their life before you knew them. You might be surprised at some of the interesting anecdotes that arise.
Relationships are tricky to keep going, but with a little preparation and work you can use awesome date nights to help.