When you hear, “date night,” what do you picture? Getting a great babysitter to watch the kids and heading out for dinner and a movie? Or maybe, “who has time for date night?” is what flashes through your mind. Whether it’s been years since your last date night or you’re looking for ways to shake up your routine, we’ve got a few ideas for you.
1. Talk To Each Other
With busy days, we may not realize that time to talk with our partner has slipped away. Just the act of communicating about intimate and vulnerable topics with another person can strengthen our connections (Aron et al, 1997). Here are some ideas for how to set time aside for talking with examples linked:
- Ask and answer the 10 Relationship Checkup Questions or the 36 Questions to Build Intimacy
- Use a Couple’s Journal to guide your conversation in new ways
- Do some MadLibs
- Use the Card Deck Gottman app to help you explore what is most important to you both
2. Play Together
Play promotes greater closeness and positive feelings between people which has been associated with better couple bonding, communication, and ability to resolve conflicts (Aune & Wong, 2002; Vanderbleek et al, 2011). What that play looks like is entirely up to you. Play should be lighthearted and something that you both find fun, funny, or entertaining (Aune & Wong, 2002). Here are a few ideas and links to get you started:
- Sign up for a Murder Mystery kit or similar kits that you can do together
- Go for a hike on a local trail, get outdoors together
- Play a game
3. Do Something Totally New
It’s easy to get stuck in a comfortable pattern. However, boredom can be harmful to our relationships and “lack of novelty” or not having enough new experiences with your partner can lead to boredom (Ursu & Turliuc, 2019). Finding something that pushes you out of your comfort zone a little or allows you and your partner to have a new experience together might be just what you need:
- Take a class (online or in person) and learn something new together
- Find something happening in Utah that you’ve never heard of and try it out
- Go to an amusement park or arcade without the kids
The most important factor in any date night is the people involved. Making the effort to spend time together regularly and connecting in ways that you both find enjoyable is the most important goal. These few ideas can get you started on new adventures, but don’t be afraid to find more and create your own date nights, too!
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Aron, A, Melinat, E, Aron, E.N., Vallone, R.D., & Bator, R.J. (1997). The experimental generation of interpersonal closeness: A procedure and some preliminary findings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(4), 363-377.
Aune, K.S. & Wong, N.C.H. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of adult play in romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 9, 279-286.
Ursu, A. & Turliuc, M.N. (2019). When partners get bored in their relationships? A mixed method and cross cultural approach of romantic relational boredom. International Journal of Education and Psychology in the Community, 9(1&2), 132-148.
Vanderbleek, L., Robinson III, E.H., Casado-Kehoe, M., & Young, M.E. (2011). The relationship between play and couple satisfaction and stability. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 19(2), 132-139. DOI: 10.1177/1066480711399729
By Chapel Taylor-Olsen, BA and Ashley Yaugher, Professional Practice Extension Assistant Professor, PhD
Categories: Relationships & Marriage