Yesterday, I had a craving for chips and salsa. I started thinking about it around lunch time, but couldn’t take a break until an hour or two later. I salivated at the first hint of salsa in the bowl, opened the tortilla chip bag, and plunged in. Smelling the “hint of lime” and readying my pallet for heaven, I was deeply disappointed when I tasted the chips were stale.
Noooooo! How can this be? How old are these? Who opened these in the first place? Who didn’t put a clip on them? Arg!
Well, sometimes marriage can get stale too, especially if it is not cared for the way it needs. I’ve been writing a good bit on destructive relationships, and have gotten tons of positive feedback. But today, I want to address marriages that don’t fall into the “destructive” category. Today, we will talk about one way to Make Good Marriages Great.
The Great Date
We can all agree that date nights are important, but are difficult to schedule with competing calendars. This kid has practice, that kid has rehearsal, one partner works late, and the other one travels. It’s hard to carve out time for each other, but not impossible. Here are some ideas to help you make Date Night Great!
- Prioritize: one goal of marriage is to stay married and happy long after the kids are gone. Prioritizing time together now, can make life together later much more satisfying. Prioritizing together time, may require saying “no” to other events and invitations. This may be a necessary sacrifice in order to put the marriage 1st. My first clinical supervisor was married with teenagers and dated his wife every Friday night. EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT! They made an impression on Mr. Dashing and I early in our marriage to always make together-time a priority.
- Invest a Little: Good date nights don’t always take a lot of money, but don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money to make it special. Date nights are special. With some thoughtfulness, the couple can feel special to each other too. When we spend money on something, we are more likely to value it and treat it with care.
- Do Something Fun: Shared experiences turn into shared memories which turn into strong bonds. Doing something creative, new, different or active gets the body and the brain engaged, and results in lower stress, release of feel-good endorphins, and even a bump in the attachment hormone called oxytocin.
- Stay Positive: Date nights in general, should be a positive experience for both people. Of course date nights can be used for problem solving, hashing out issues, or venting every once in a while. However, date nights shouldn’t always be a beat down or a melt down. They should be a “shot in the arm,” infusing the fun, the closeness and the romance back into your relationship.
- Take Initiative: Some couples get stuck on “who’s turn is it” and “I planned it last time” and “I have to do all the work to make date night happen.” Instead of complaining, nagging and perpetuating the problem, communicate something like, “I really miss you, and I want to have some together time. I’ll find the baby sitter. Will you plan the date?”
Mr. Dashing and I will be looking into fun date nights soon… we will be celebrating year #21 in June. Our marriage is finally old enough to drink! We both agree, that investing in the relationship we have now, will give us many happy years to come. (no, that is not a picture of what we look like!) What fun date nights have you had? Feel free to share!