Are you skipping date night with your mate? Do you find yourself spending less time with your spouse because of everyday responsibilities, work and children? A recent study shows you may want to rethink the amount of time you spend with the one you love.
According to a study from the National Marriage Project, “The Date Night Opportunity Report,” couples who spend more one-on-one time together are “less prone to divorce” and “report higher levels of sexual satisfaction, communication and commitment.” What better way to have one-on-one time than date night?
“I am a big believer in date night. I tell all my clients and students in workshops that it is essential for keeping romance alive,” says Linda Bloom, relationship counselor, seminar leader and author. “What happens to a lot of couples is that they drift into becoming roommates, business partners, and co-parents. It’s not good to let those important parts of the relationship get emphasized while the romantic part is malnourished.”
Do you want to rekindle couple time with your mate, but can’t think of a date other than dinner and a movie? Hire a sitter or trade child care with another couple and try one of these 50 ways to date your mate.
1. Stargaze. Find a spot away from city lights and look at the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt or possibly a shooting star.
2. Go to a local wine-tasting or coffee-tasting.
3. Rent bikes and ride around town. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try a tandem bike.
4. Test your knowledge by participating in a local trivia night. Before making a debut, check out sporcle.com or funtrivia.com to play games that challenge your trivia knowledge.
5. Visit a local pool hall. Shoot pool and play darts.
6. Make your most exquisite meal at home. Use silverware, China, candles and cloth napkins.
7. Take a cruise on a dinner yacht.
8. Dine at a restaurant that has live entertainment like jazz, blues or theater.
9. Ride on a dinner train. Visit dinnertrains.com to find one near you.
10. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city at night.
11. Make popcorn the old-fashioned way, with an air popper, and enjoy a romantic movie like “Casablanca,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Sleepless in Seattle” or “The Notebook.”
12. Play a board game for couples like “Scene It?,” “Squabble” or “Battle of the Sexes.”
13. Share pictures and home videos from before and after you became a couple. Prepare to laugh and maybe even shed a few warm tears.
14. If you have a fire pit in the backyard, build a roaring fire, make s’mores and snuggle up together.
15. Share letters describing what you love and admire about each other. Write why your mate is so important to you.
16. Take a hot-air balloon ride.
17. Visit an amusement park and ride all the roller coasters.
18. Race go-carts at a track.
19. Take a helicopter or airplane ride together. If you really want a thrill, sky dive out of the plane.
20. Take SCUBA diving certification classes together. Plan a trip to an exotic place to go diving.
21. Hold hands and wade in a creek.
22. Canoe or kayak together.
23. Go spelunking. Find out if cave camping is allowed. Pack your gear and spend the night in a cave.
24. Go on an outdoor treasure hunt by geocaching. Using a GPS, treasure seekers enter a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find a hidden container at the location. Check out geocaching.com to find out more.
25. Grab life jackets and inner tubes and spend a lazy afternoon floating down a river.
Around Town Dates
26. Visit your local planetarium. There is something romantic about viewing constellations in the night sky, even if it is indoors.
27. Audition for a part in a community theater production together.
28. Attend a gallery hop, an event where several art galleries open their doors for free viewings on the same night.
29. Take a self-guided tour of your town. Check out shops and attractions and, to mix things up, eat appetizers, dinner and dessert in three different restaurants.
30. Pack a picnic and attend a live concert on your town’s green.
Socially Conscious Dates
31. Volunteer at a community garden. Grow your relationship along with some vegetables and donate your harvest to a food bank.
32. Love animals? Volunteer at your local humane society.
33. Serve together at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
34. Volunteer as docents, greeters or servers at one of your favorite charity events.
35. Buy tickets to a charity gala. Dress up in your evening wear and have a glamorous night helping others.
Book Lover Dates
36. Buy a book you both want to read. Take turns reading and write notes to each other in the margins.
37. Read a relationship book together. Try to outdo each other following its advice.
38. Visit a bookshop/coffee house combo. Peruse the bookshelves and then sit, sip and read together.
39. Take a class together at a local college or community center.
40. Start your own memory book. Take turns writing in a journal about your life together. If you have children, they will cherish the book one day.
Dates that make you feel like a kid again
41. Go to a carnival, fair or festival. Ride the rides, visit booths and eat food on a stick.
42. Go putt-putting
43. Visit your local roller rink and skate.
44. Visit a farm and take a hay ride.
45. Go to the zoo.
Physically Fit Dates
46. Take a dance lesson together. Whether you pick a steamy salsa, intimate tango, flirty cha-cha or country line dancing it will be good for your heart both physically and romantically.
47. Run a marathon. Cross the finish line together.
48. Take aerobics, yoga or Pilates together.
49. Lift weights together.
50. Take karate together.
Seven Secrets of a Great Date
Relationship therapists Charlie and Linda Bloom, authors of “Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love,” give the following advice for how to have a great date:
1. Do make date night a priority.
“Schedule it. Recognize the need. It is part of your responsibility in a relationship,” says Charlie.
“When you do, you are saying ‘I value you and our relationship,” says Linda.
2. Don’t make it a to-do list.
“Every couple has budgeting, bill paying or issues with children,” says Linda. “Don’t desecrate date night. Have another meeting to deal with issues.”
3. Do set an intention.
“Make the date something you are both excited about, advises Charlie. “Both people should articulate what they are hoping they will experience together.”
4. Don’t bring your own device.
“Close the cell phone down and really be together,” says Charlie. “Couples need to experience each other’s physical presence. They need to experience each other’s touch and look into one another’s eyes.”
5. Do make it a part of your daily life.
The point of date night is to deepen your bond with the one you love, so caring for the relationship should be a daily goal. “A relationship is a living entity. It requires maintenance,” says Charlie. “Really integrate date night into your life.”
6. Don’t make one person shoulder all the responsibility for the date.
One person shouldn’t be planning the date, making the reservations and arranging the childcare advises Linda. “Usually it falls to the woman to take care of the relationship,” says Linda. “It is a great gift to the relationship if both people take responsibility.”
7. Do remember why you got together in the first place.
“Acknowledge one another,” says Linda. “Say ‘this is what I love about you, what I appreciate about you or what I have learned from you.’”
Linda and Charlie Bloom are also the authors of “101 Things I Wish I knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last.”