It’s awful to be struggling in your marriage. When you’re feeling stuck and unable to connect with the one you love most, it can leave you utterly helpless. You want the quickest solution to resolve the problem and get back to feeling solid together.
Date night has become the most commonly suggested quick fix and doable idea for floundering relationships. It makes sense. More time together should equal a better relationship.
But too often this equation falls short. And when date night fails, you find yourself sinking deeper into a hole of despair. You’re left thinking and wondering, “What do we (or I) do now?!”
“Why is it that date night remains the most common suggestion for struggling relationships, while it also continues to fail as a helpful remedy?
It’s honestly a pretty dang simple answer. When you’re struggling to connect with your partner you are both caught in strong patterns of actions, feelings, and ideas that keep you disconnected. And if you’re disconnecting more often than not, going to your favorite restaurant is not going to self-correct your toxic patterns. In fact, sitting at a romantic corner table could be outright painful at this point. Rather than getting relief, you walk away from your meal sometimes feeling even further apart than when you walked in.
Because the truth is, when couples are struggling to feel love, connection, and trust in their relationships they often either don’t desire to spend time together or being together heightens the realty of how severe the disconnection is. And we know forcing connection never helps to create connection!
Spending time together, away from the kids and other obligations is absolutely important to the health of your marriage. We simply need to be more intentional and purposeful with how we approach a night out.
Here are four ways date night will actually help your relationship:
1. Adjust Expectations
Understanding that date night isn’t a cure all to your relationship ailments is an essential first step. Use date night as a way to step toward reconnection. Expect it to feel awkward and expect it to take a while to get used to spending protected time together again. You may even experience jitters similar to when you were just starting to date! This is all perfectly Ok and in fact, normal.
2. Keep it Simple
Let’s keep the pressure off by simplifying what date night entails. Shooting for the perfect dinner at the finest restaurant is a mismatch when you and your partner are struggling to connect. Grabbing a simple meal at a casual local spot may be more comfortable and allow you both to relax. Going for a walk together could also be the perfect kick off to a night out. Focus more on getting back to basics together.
3. Learn About Each Other
Rather than hope for date night to dissolve the issues you may be having, seek to learn about your partner again. I encourage you to explore who your partner is and ask questions just as you would when you were first dating. I discourage you to go into the problem areas and hot button issues you may be facing. It will be tempting for you both to use this time to jump into issues that are real and present in your lives. Do your best to step away from the problem areas and start by being curious about partner.
4. Commitment + Consistency
This fourth step is absolutely the most important. Keeping your date night consistently scheduled will be essential to feeling closer and more connected. Because when you begin to protect this time together, you’re also acting to protect one another and your marriage. You are making it a priority against the many competing demands in your lives. You’re essentially proving to one another that they are what matters most.