One of the greatest reported reasons for breakup, divorce, and couple therapy is a lack of communication. Many experts agree that regular and open communication is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy relationship. However, some couples struggle to find time to regularly communicate with their significant other when juggling other responsibilities. Due to the perceived lack of time for communicating, dates can serve as the perfect medium for opening a dialogue between your partner.
It is important that couples understand the current struggles and achievements of their partner. In a study of relationships, three college professors determined that communication plays one of the largest roles in relationships. Communication is the medium through which we can express the need for help, comfort or reassurance (Guerrero et al., 2001). Whenever spouses communicate frequently, they get a better understanding of their partner and their relationship. Through dates, couples are able to focus on one another without the regular distractions in their lives. However, it does not mean that simply communicating is the only step to take.
Communication without proper connection is potentially even more problematic than no communication at all. The official definition of a relationship is the sensation of being connected to another person. When couples do not feel connected, they might begin to feel withdrawn and distant from their partner. Connection is something that is felt by deeply understanding one another and getting the sense of "we" or being a team. To achieve this though, there must be communication before the date night even begins.
Who is in charge of planning the date night? If possible, this responsibility should be split between both partners. However, if your spouse is typically forgetful it may be beneficial that you always make the reservations and they could pick the activities. If you are typically forgetful, you could use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the relationship. One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning a date is that you include an atmosphere that encourages communication (Williamson 2017). For example, a restaurant may be a good choice as it forces closeness and the opportunity to communicate. Going for a movie afterwards may also be a good choice, but it would be a poor choice if that is the only plan for date night. Watching a movie in public does not allow for open communication, so make sure to keep the activity in mind.
Finally, plan what you would like to talk about during date night. It is best that you open an honest dialogue while talking about things that aren't openly discussed normally. This does not mean venting frustrations with one another on date night, but giving support to one another or expressing concerns in a non-hostile manner. Additionally, the topics discussed during date night should not include those that are talked about in your daily lives. You should mention whatever is on your mind, but make sure not to only talk about work or the kids.
Guerrero, Laura K., et al. Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships. SAGE, 2001.
Wilcox, W. Bradford, and Jeffrey Dew. "The Date Night Opportunity." National Marriage Project, 2012, nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/NMP-DateNight.pdf.
Williamson, Jamie C. "Why and How to Date Your Spouse: 6 Tips for Successful Date Nights." HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/why-how-to-date-your-spouse_b_12801800?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAACmkqv0ahbPuDo3sEsiN1n-JVs0xxhFnCKr9O29aBpP5aofypIZB8WhxFz_uFHFMlEu3swAf4O0t3V76-el_3lO6qJnLqTX0YGMiodafmi4B6CGR_Oi528DnjnlXwhqhoRHfKcVDvNUQONKdnaV1BlbCxFMVpYWEVeMy4PQxP0N_.