Between grocery lists and bills, sometimes it’s easy to hit a rut with your long-term partner. When routine begins to take over your relationship, it’s normal to want to try to reignite the spark you once shared. The best way to reconnect is through quality one-on-one time together.
If you’re wondering about how to get back the passion and connection in your relationship, look no further. We’ll dive into the statistics that lead to happy relationships and get into some fun date ideas to rekindle a marriage or a domestic partnership.
Date Night Stats
The most proven and effective way to reconnect with your partner is through date nights. According to The Date Night Opportunity, a study from The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, there is a direct correlation between solo couple time and happiness in a marriage.
The studies showed that couples who have designated one on one time together at least once a week were about three times happier in their relationships than those who don’t. Communication, commitment, and sexual satisfaction, which are pillars of a healthy relationship were also higher amongst couples who set aside time for each other.
Alternatively, couples who didn’t make the same effort to spend quality time together reported having less satisfaction in their relationship. In fact, married couples who spend less couple time together are more likely to divorce.
It seems obvious then that to maintain a happy relationship, quality couple time is needed. But why exactly? What does the one on one time together foster?
The Date Night Opportunity references five factors of a happy relationship that greatly benefit from date nights: communication, novelty, eros, commitment, and de-stress.
This one may seem obvious but after living with someone for a long time, it can be forgotten. It may also be difficult to find time to communicate healthily with each other with children or other responsibilities taking the top of your priority list.
However, open communication is a necessity for a healthy and happy relationship. Taking the time apart from your routine, for example, by having a date night, to communicate with your partner is vital in strengthening your relationship.
After years of being together, through children, finances, and jobs, you may have forgotten about the excitement that novelty once brought to your relationship. You shouldn’t. Keeping things fresh and exciting through date nights is key in rekindling the spark in your relationship.
The urge to try new and exciting things may have dissipated, but the novelty doesn’t have to be lost. Couples who try new things together are more likely to have happier relationships.
It may have been hard to keep your hands off each other when you first met, but as time with your partner continues, the initial romantic passion often naturally lessens. However, having a healthy sexual relationship is an important factor in a marriage or domestic partnership.
Date nights are a great way to find the passion that may have been lost. Through a change in routine and the time and space to reconnect, it’s likely that you’ll be able to ignite the physical passion once again.
While it may be out of fashion in today’s time to commit, it is actually an imperative factor in maintaining a happy relationship. Partners who truly commit to each other experience much more stable and quality relationships than those who don’t.
Taking the time to have date nights with each other shows a big commitment to your partner and the relationship you’re sharing. By doing so, you strengthen your relationship.
Stress can be one of the most detrimental factors to a relationship. If one, or both, partners become too stressed, it can create a taxing living situation.
Date night is an easy way to alleviate the everyday stressors that you and your partner may be dealing with. Avoid conversations about difficult topics on your dates. Take the time to have fun with each other.
Date Night Options
Planning a date night with your partner shouldn’t be another chore on your list of things to do. It’s a fun, proven way to reconnect as a couple.
Keeping in mind important relationship factors proven to strengthen your relationship, here’s a list of date night ideas to get you started.
Try something new
At the beginning of your relationship, everything was new and exciting. But after years of being together and divvying up daily responsibilities, it may seem hard to find the novelty again.
Date nights are a fun, easy way to share a new experience together. Part of the fun of date night could even be planning it.
Couple’s Bucket List
Creating a “couple’s bucket list” is a great way to have an endless list of new things to try. It could be as crazy as going to Rome or as accessible as taking a new hike together.
Sit down with your partner and make a list of things you’ve never done together but really want to try. Look forward to the new experiences you will share together. You may be surprised at how quickly date night becomes your favorite night of the week.
Change of routine
Date nights don’t have to be crazy. In fact, in order to make sure you can commit to them, they need to be exciting yet accessible.
Go to a new restaurant, city, or store together. To make it a bit more exotic, get into character. Pretend you’re food critics, travel writers, or celebrity shoppers. Rekindling the spark doesn’t have to be such serious business. There’s nothing sexier than laughing together.
Go down memory lane
Remember why you decided to commit to each other in the first place. What was it that made you take the leap into something as serious as marriage or living together?
Cozy up together and remember some of the first experiences you shared as a couple. Did you have a disastrous first date? Was it love at first sight?
Write about your fondest, funniest, most pivotal shared experiences. It’s a great way to think back on what brought you together and remember what made you want to commit to each other.
Alternatively, each partner could also write their own stories individually. Then come together and share them on date night. Have fun reminiscing and reliving the past through your partner’s eyes.
Recreate your first date
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the first date, maybe just one of the first. Or it could be your favorite date, funniest date, sexiest date, etc. The options are endless.
It’s a fun way to remember where you were when you met and to see how far you’ve come together as a couple. Who knows, maybe those first date jitters might even reappear.
Give back to your community
Doing things for others is a proven way to be a happier person. Think about sharing that experience with your partner.
Get involved in your community together. There are endless opportunities to volunteer. Decide what kind of volunteering you would both like to do together. Or take turns choosing options.
It’s a great way to spend time as a couple out of your normal routine. Volunteering is sure to make you feel better in general and connect as a couple to the community you live in.
Dance it out
When in doubt, just dance. Ok, maybe that’s not your motto, but dancing is an effective way to let loose and de-stress. You don’t have to be a professional to have fun and release some of those happy endorphins.
Go out dancing
This doesn’t mean you have to go to a club and go crazy on the dance floor with a DJ in the background playing house music. However, if that calls to you, then by all means, go for it.
Do some version of dance that works for you. See some live music and sway along or go full out with your goofiest moves. Dance can be a vulnerable experience. Trust in your companion and enjoy the moves that come to you both.
Take dance classes
If you really enjoy the art of dance or just feel like taking on a new challenge, consider taking dance classes together. Agree on a type (ballroom, salsa, hip hop, etc) and sign up.
If you get really into it, maybe you’ll end up practicing the choreographies you learn while making nightly dinners. You could even enjoy a night out to practice your moves together in public.
Sexual satisfaction is vital to a happy relationship. Maybe you don’t naturally feel as sexy as you used to after staying up all night with your kids, but intentionally setting aside time for physical connection with your partner should be a priority.
Much like you fall into daily routines, long-term partners often fall into sexual ruts. It happens because you’re busy, used to each other, and have maybe just lost that sexual spark.
Break up the monotony by sharing your sexual fantasies with your partner. Trying new things in the bedroom is a great way to reconnect.
Make it special
Plan a “sex date night.” But, go all out. Send each other sweet or sexy texts throughout the day. Wear some new lingerie or your sexiest cologne.
You could even plan to go out to a hotel. If that’s not possible, “sexify” your bedroom with mood lighting, roses, and some Marvin Gaye (or whatever music gets you in the mood).
Stay at home dates
Wild and crazy date nights out may not always be possible with both of your busy schedules. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean you skip date night altogether. Spending time together is the important thing.
Date night box
If you don’t have the energy to go out or even decide what to do for a date, don’t stress. Create a box filled with accessible, stay-at-home date night options.
Some great stay-at-home dates could be as simple as board games, movies, a picnic in the living room, etc. Pull from the box any time you’re short on planning time. There’s no problem with spending the night in together.
Date Night Guidelines
The goal of date nights is to reconnect and strengthen your marriage or domestic partnership. To make sure you get the most out of your time together, it’s good to follow some basic guidelines.
Don’t talk routine
Nothing will kill the mood of your outing more than droning on about who’s taking the dog for a walk in the morning or who’s on kid pickup tomorrow. Steer clear of talking shop while out together.
This is your time together, away from your day-to-day routine. Think of it as a special time just for you two. Have fun and forget about your responsibilities for a bit.
Have an open mind
Going into date nights with a positive attitude and an open mind is key in getting the most out of your alone time together. Don’t dwell on something your partner did that annoyed you yesterday. Be present and open to a fresh, new experience together.
Alternatively, if your partner has planned the date or you’re about to take on a new challenge together, be open to what it might bring. Try not to take it too seriously. The goal isn’t to be the best at whatever you’re doing, it’s to rekindle the connection between you and your partner.
It’s not a chore
Ok, maybe sometimes it might feel that way. Push past the urge to cancel date nights because you just aren’t in the mood or it seems like an extra obligation.
Look at these nights as sacred times. While they’re necessary to maintain a healthy relationship, they’re also fun. Focus on the time you get to spend with one of the most important people in your life.
The Magic of Date Nights
Date nights are proven to strengthen marriages and relationships. Commit to at least one date night a week and your relationship is bound to reap the benefits.
Have fun, get creative, and most importantly, enjoy the special time to reconnect with your partner. Happy date nighting!