4. Dating Doesn’t End At the Wedding: 5 Tips For Making Every Date Count
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
The early stages of dating are exciting because there’s so much to discover about each other, and in the long run, dating doesn’t have to lose that excitement when you and your partner create opportunities for rediscovery.
How do you spend your time with your partner now compared to when you first started dating? At the time, you each made a considerable effort to make time to see each other regularly. It’s easy to understand why it was important to do so--you need to get to know each other. That process of discovery that feels new, exciting and fun doesn’t have to wear down with time. People are always evolving and changing; you and your partner are no exceptions, and your relationship is always evolving and changing too.
The first dates were for discovery--you can think of date nights as rediscovery. It is not only possible to feel that newness and excitement over and over again throughout your relationship, but it’s also very important for the health of your relationship.
These five rules will help enhance your dates at any and every stage of your relationship
#1: Leave Business Behind
You wouldn’t discuss bills with someone on a first date, and it’s best to avoid that topic of conversation on your date nights for the same reason: the purpose of dating is to get to know someone and grow closer to them.
No matter how important it might be to discuss what temperature your home should be or how to handle difficulties your children are having at school for instance, these topics should be addressed during a time other than date night.
It’s easy to fall into “the business trap” for a lot of couples whose date nights are the only time they find to spend together alone. It’s important to set time aside to address these issues if and when they come up, but never at the expense of the relationship.
You don’t always have something to worry about, but you do always have someone to love and grow closer to. So you should always have time for your relationship, and make time for business when you need it.
#2: Skip The Smartphone
We turn off our phones during movies so that the audience can enjoy the experience without distractions, we owe as much to our partners and ourselves. For all the conveniences and utility phones provide for everyday life, our phones do more harm than good for dates because they invite distraction. You can get a text, an email, a notification--even if you’re good about not checking, the notification can take you out of the present you’re enjoying with your partner.
Periodically disconnecting from the rest of the world in order to fully commit your availability to your partner is essential to the health of your relationship and what truly enables you both to enjoy your time together.
That said, we all want to be available for our children in case of true emergencies. You can leave the restaurant's phone number with your sitter or oldest kid(s) in case anyone really needs to get in touch. We are reachable everywhere because we live in a well-connected society: not from being glued to our phones.
#3: Be With Each Other, Not Just Near Each Other
Phones aren’t the only screens to avoid staring at during date night--save the movies for something more casual. This is about connection. You want to be able to talk, listen, hear, and explore just the same as you do on a first date with someone.
Sharing a meal is fine if that’s all you have time for, but ideally you can find something that helps you escape and explore together. Whether it’s a couple’s getaway, a brief day trip or even a long walk together will set you up for success because being on an adventure creates opportunities for conversation organically even if you’re struggling with running out of things to talk about.
#4: Re-Discover Who You Are
What’s left to discuss when you can’t talk about the chores and craziness of your over-scheduled lives? Plenty on a first date, and plenty now. Hobbies, interests, favorites, ambitions, a game of would-you-rather, and/or whatever’s going on in the moment.
It’s also good as a general rule to aim for light and positive topics, just as you would on a first date. There will be times to touch on deeper topics, but like the business conversations, they shouldn’t interrupt your fun time or come at the expense of your happiness.
What’s most important on these dates is creating a positive experience, and that often comes from discovery--whether it’s discovering something factual at a museum, a new restaurant in your area, or something about your partner and what makes them tick. Be an active listener. Embrace your curiosity. Celebrate your partner’s growth--you’ve played a big part in it!
#5 Stick With It
It doesn’t matter when you schedule your date nights, but make them regular and make them a priority. It can be a convenient time when you and your partner’s schedules align, it can be every Monday morning every second Sunday of the month, every Friday night--whatever works for you as long as you’re consistent in making time to date one another.
But what about time you need for everyone else? You didn’t marry everyone else--you married your partner.
Only devoting time to your children compares to the importance of devoting time to your relationship. Make time for them in addition to, not instead, and not during your dating time.
Your children will see from your example how important it is to devote time to your partner. Your friends will admire how true you and your partner are to each other. And your relationship will strengthen. You’ll be better parents and business partners because of the stronger bond that you have and continue to cultivate with your partner.
Cultivate Your Relationship
As mentioned in a previous blog, relationships are like a tree and dating is one of the most fundamental practices that keeps its trunk healthy, its branches strong, and its fruits of positive experiences growing in abundance. It is work, but did it feel like work when you started dating? It is sacrifice--you have to sacrifice any temptation to use this time for dealing with unpleasant aspects of life. It is commitment: when you say “I do” you are not saying that you did, or that you will: you do. So keep the fun of dating and discovery alive and enjoy the rest of your life that you are creating together.
What are some of your favorite date night activities? How do you keep your special nights special? Let us know and we’ll share the top suggestions on our facebook!