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At the beginning of a relationship every night’s a date night, and we don’t need anyone to tell us how to do it. Focusing completely on each other comes naturally. But once familiarity, work pressure and home responsibilities start drowning the romance in life, finding time regularly to really connect with your spouse isn’t always so easy. Yet marriage is long, and if we want it to keep its magic we have to be intentional about how we look after it. We have to pay attention, and treat it carefully. We have to invest time and effort. It’s crucial to spend quality time together on a regular basis, to enjoy each other’s company and connect.
My husband and I have become much more conscious lately about keeping a weekly date night sacred. Going out every week certainly isn’t an option for us, and sometimes our time is squeezed by work and other pressures. So we’ve had to master having date night at home, even when it seems like the world is plotting against it, and turning ordinary evenings into something more special, where the focus is just on the two of us and our connection.
Here are some of the ways we’ve got much better at making sure date night happens, and turning any night at home – even a weeknight – into a special time together.
No, you don’t have to clean, but a quick pick-up to remove clutter makes any room feel more pleasant, sets a calm and comfortable mood, and helps keep your mind off chores for the evening.
Add A Course
If you have the time and skills to conjure up a lavish multi-course at-home dinner, go for it. You could plan a meal on a theme, recreate a past romantic dinner, or cook all your spouse’s favourite flavours.
But if your cooking skills, time or budget are more limited, then just adding a simple starter or dessert is a really easy way to make an otherwise ordinary meal feel like more of an event. Find an easy dessert recipe online – there are some great ones here. Or let the supermarket do the work and buy some fancy ice cream (serve it in bowls, NOT directly in the tub!) or another premade pud.
Great low-pressure starters include mushrooms on toast, soup and crusty bread, bruschetta, a mozzarella salad, or a platter of cold meats and olives from the supermarket. Or look here for more ideas.
Candles always create a cosy mood and can help signal a special occasion. Dim the lights, set out some candles, and enjoy the atmosphere. Save the scented ones for after dinner: we enjoy our food with our noses as well as our mouths, so sweet candle fragrances don’t always go well with eating!
Sit At The Table
Yes, sit face-to-face without distractions, so that you talk to each other. Laying the table nicely in advance can help to set the mood too.
Switch Off Distractions
That means no TV, no radio and no mobile phones! Make tonight all about the two of you, with nobody else interrupting and no internet rabbit-holes. Switch the phones off, or put them in another room.
In the early stages of a relationship we always try to look nice for one another. But it’s a habit that easily fades away after a few years. That’s normal and natural – we love our spouses whatever they’re wearing and even if they’re covered in dirt after a day in the garden.
But making an effort pays respect to the occasion and to your spouse, and it makes a difference to the way you feel about yourself as well as the way they see you. On date nights, wear something you know your spouse will like. Ladies, maybe put on a little make-up. Men, make sure you smell clean and fresh too!
Compliment Each Other
We don’t always take time to show how we appreciate our spouse, but a compliment can go a long way. This evening, let your spouse know how much you enjoy them, their company, and the little things they do. Share some things that you love about them and things that you’ve appreciated them for recently.
On a similar note, try to avoid any difficult subjects on a date night. Difficult subjects must be tackled, and not avoided altogether, but date night is for connection, not conflict. Instead, schedule some other time to work on obstacles.
Choose Your Activity
Be intentional with the evening; don’t just slump in front of the telly like you always do. Choose a movie that you both want to watch, or better yet, do something different that puts you face-to-face or gets you moving, like a game or a walk round the neighbourhood.
There are plenty of other fun activities you might do together as well, of course. You could try an art or craft evening, an at-home tasting event (beer? chocolate? whisky?), organise a themed evening, or simply spend some time planning that dream holiday or renovation. Or browse Dating Divas for an array of further ideas… Whatever activity you choose, remember the most important thing is the attitude you do it with: you’re here to relax together and focus on getting connected.
Change The Subject
How many different subjects to you and your partner actually talk about in a week? I bet it’s not many. Habitually sticking to the same subjects can mean there are lots of things about your spouse you don’t know – and may never find out!
Try some new topics of conversation. If you’re stumped for ideas, search online for couples conversation starters – or try this list. Talk about your relationship, but talk about unrelated stuff too. You never know what you might learn!
Plan For Sex
It’s not just ‘getting off’; it’s the ultimate builder of intimacy and connection, and one of the best ways for a married couple to have fun together! Set your expectations together before the evening arrives, and make sure you get to bed before eyelids start drooping!
I hope I’ve inspired you with these ways to make sure date night happens more often. All you really need for a date night at home is you and your partner. But using these tips and guidelines should help you to focus on each other and make the evening a bit more special.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
How do you make sure an at-home date night is special? Do you have any date night tips to share?