The social-science literature clearly tells us that Date Night builds stronger marriages in five ways:
Date Night helps with communication. This is an essential element of an intimate relationship. But communication also involves the willingness to deliberately remove distractions such as children and career demands. Date nights offers couples the opportunity to discuss topics of mutual importance. They can self-define, and dialogue about mutual aspirations. Communication is like a muscle. Sometimes you plan your communication work-outs. Gottman’s research, in particular, tells us that a “stress-reducing” conversation can help couples to stay current with what is actually moving through their intimate partner’s life.
Couples typically experience an habituation, a “settling in” quality where both are more likely to take each other for granted. The symbiotic “we are a couple” can settle into an ordinary domestic routine. But new research indicates that a deficit in fun and novelty is toxic. A balance of activities, interesting to both, which emphasizes novel and different experiences can help increase intimacy.
Let’s Do It.
Romantic love is that erotic spark, excitement, and an overwhelming sense of attraction to your significant other. But with time, the emotional and physical expression of erotic love tend to fade in many couples.
Because Date Night allows a couple to completely focus on their connection, the erotic spark may be restored by the intentional pursuit of romance, novelty, and deeper communication. Date nights may not only rekindle the romance, regular Date Nights can also be helpful in sustaining the fires of love over the long haul.
Couples that have a regular Date Night maintain a connection through intimate conversation and emotional support. They also lower the stress on their own brains, as well as their partners. Fortunately, nature has endowed us with great resiliency in this area. We don’t always have to connect with our partner perfectly, but we do have to preserve and develop our capacity to pay attention and be fully present to our partners when they are stressed and to be a solidly loyal and reliable friend.
Abiding Relationship Commitment.
Date Night builds attachment. When you experience the commitment of your partner, your sense of being firmly attached will provide you with a stable, deeply satisfying relationship. Partners who cherish and prize each other, who steer clear of other romantic opportunities, and who nurture a strong sense of “we-ness” or togetherness are significantly more happy than are less-committed, “iffy” couples. Commitment is scary. But commitment satisfies deeply.
Date night fosters an abiding sense of “couplehood.” The deliberate planning and pursuit of date night allow partners to choose one another—in front of friends and family.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.