Long-time couples often credit the health of their relationship to regular date nights, so then is that the solution to a long and healthy relationship? According to Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe of the National Marriage Project, couples are requiring higher levels of communication, intimacy, and personal fulfillment. With this in mind, it is worth considering that date nights may provide elements of each of these requirements.
Why do date nights appear to be one of the best ways to maintain a healthy relationship? One of the most important points experts consider to be key in any healthy relationship is communication. The Director of the National Marriage Project, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Utah State University Professor, Jeffrey Dew, note that an open, one-on-one dialogue creates an opportunity for each spouse to express concerns and appreciation of one another. By eliminating the other distractions in their lives that may keep them from discussing important topics, such as work or children, they are better able to have open conversations about the most important topics in their lives. However, communication is only the beginning of how date nights can serve a vital role in maintaining a long-lasting relationship.
Date nights may be used to try something new or unusual. The feeling of doing something new and exciting is beneficial for most relationships, according to Wilcox and Dew. When going to new places or doing new activities, it is important to consider each person's interests and plan things that both people will enjoy or take turns picking new things to do or places to visit. The excitement of doing something new is a feeling that often declines the longer that a couple is together. New activities may help to bring back that feeling of excitement and romance.
By picking activities that both partners will enjoy, it creates a sense of commitment by showing that each partner cares about the interests of the other. Also, partners who put each other first tend to be more committed to one another. When couples engage in date nights, they are signifying that they are still committed to their relationship and it brings each other closer.
One of the largest factors in determining the health of a relationship is the stress level of each partner. Work-life balance, personal finances, family issues, mental health, and especially parenthood can cause large amounts of stress in any relationship. Taking the time to focus on something else can provide a good method of de-stressing. Date nights are the perfect opportunity to forget about some of life's greatest stressors while taking time to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner.
Children are a blessing and one of life's greatest gifts, but being a parent can be hard at times. Take the time soon to focus on yourself and your relationship without the worry of knowing whether or not your children are being taken care of. Schedule a babysitter with SeekingSitters for a date night today.
Popenoe, David, and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. "The State of Our Unions." National Marriage Project, 2010, nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Union_11_12_10.pdf.
Wilcox, W. Bradford, and Jeffrey Dew. "The Date Night Opportunity." National Marriage Project, 2012, nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/NMP-DateNight.pdf.