If you’re wondering how to plan a regular date night, follow these guidelines for establishing the purpose, expectation, frequency, date of, budget for AND potential activities for the best date nights yet!
Depending on the stage of your life, it’s quite possible that when you hear the word “dates” you think of those small brown sweet fruits, as opposed to doing something with your husband for fun (and no, sex alone is NOT a date).
After all, for many of you, dating is something you did way back when in the early days of your relationship. Now you’re married, you’re more likely to be searching for how to plan a menu than how to plan a date.
But that would be a mistake.
WHY YOU NEED TO PLAN REGULAR DATE NIGHTS
Years and years ago my dad said to me that the bond between husband and wife needed to be the strongest bond in the family relationship. That was because one day the children would grow older, leave home, and they would be left with each other. This would become a time when their relationship flourished further, or when they would realize that over the years they had become strangers.
So, planning a regular date night is one way that you and your husband can remain close and connected. Then when that time comes (if it hasn’t already!) you’re in as good a place as you can be.
In addition, it’s a private and public affirmation of the value of your relationship. It can be romantic, fun, sexy or unique… but hopefully never boring!
It’s a way of taking time out to communicate with each other.
It’s a way of stopping the rest of the world and enjoying being together.
It’s a way of saying that we as a couple MATTER.
Regular date nights are also an indication that your marriage is likely to stand the test of time (but more on that later).
But how do you plan a date night when it’s something that hasn’t been a feature in your marriage?
I suggest starting off with working out your answers to these five elements of husband and wife dating!
SET THE PURPOSE FOR AND EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR DATE NIGHT
The first thing to do is to bring up in conversation with your husband the fact you would like to plan for regular date nights in your marriage.
A great time to do this is in your weekly relationship meeting.
However, if that’s not part of your regular routine then there are several ways you can bring it up.
- Say you found this great article on the internet about how to plan a date night and how about giving it a try?
- Tell him you would really like to make more of an effort to spend time together out of the usual routine. You value spending time with him and think that planning a regular date night would help with this.
- Organize it and tell him it’s a done deal! Then once you’ve had one date, you can go through this process, using that date as a reason for why you want it to be a regular part of your marriage.
The next thing to discuss are the expectations you have for your date night. If you want an all-out romantic evening and his idea of date night is watching the game with a bowl of popcorn, someone is going to end up disappointed.
Be super clear on what you both want to get out of the evening.
SET YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT FREQUENCY
Now it’s time to work out your ideal date night frequency.
Some people would argue that a weekly date is the best, and it certainly is a way of getting a regular date night routine going, which is super important when you are starting something new.
However weekly dates can also create pressure, depending on what answers you give to the other questions. For example, if your date night is always going to involve an activity out of the home, then the organization and expense involved might quickly make it more of a hassle than it is worth.
On the other hand, if you are alternating dates out with date nights at home, then once a week may be perfectly feasible.
One research study of almost 10,000 couples, looked to see the relationship between parents who dated when their child was nine months old and whether they were still married when that child was 11. They found that “married couples who went out monthly were 14 percent less likely to split up… When married couples increased the frequency of dates to once a week undid this positive effect completely, and were as likely to split up as couples who never went out at all” (source).
This would appear to be in favor of the monthly date night – however I think you also have to consider the factors I mentioned above – I’m not sure how many of you were having weekly date nights when your babies were 9 months old, but I was never that organized. Then again I divorced my kids’ father, so maybe I should have!
Regardless the key factors when deciding on frequency of date night need to be around convenience. Anything between once a week and once a month is perfectly acceptable.
LOCK IN A REGULAR TIME FOR YOUR DATE NIGHT
If you’re making a commitment to a weekly date night then decide what day. If you don’t want to lock in a certain night of the week, then when you have your relationship meeting, decide what day of the week it is going to be and schedule it.
If you make it once a month, however, I suggest you schedule it for the same time every month – the first weekend of the month, or the last weekend of the month, for example.
Put the dates in your calendar!
SET YOUR DATE NIGHT BUDGET
The next thing to work out is how much money you are prepared to commit to date night.
If you haven’t had a regular line item for dates in your budget, now is the time to have that discussion as to how much you would like to commit. Again you can be flexible – maybe you spend $100 a month on dates and go for three cheap ones and one more expensive one.
Communication is key so make sure you are both happy with the amount you are going to allocate.
(Read this post for a huge list of cheap or free date night ideas).
SET YOUR DATE NIGHT ACTIVITIES
The final part of planning a regular date night is to decide the kinds of activities you want to do.
There’s a huge variety of date night ideas, limited only by your imagination.
Some of my most popular include:
Have a look at the variety of ideas and create a bucket list of dates you can refer to when it comes time to planning the evening.
Novelty is a great way to keep the love and excitement high in your marriage, so whatever you decide, make sure that you mix it up. There’s so many possibilities, you don’t want to be limited to dinner and a movie as your standard go-to.
In addition, if you have this basic kit of date night must haves, you’ll have a wealth of ideas to choose from.
So that it’s fun for everyone, take turns to plan the evenings.
NOW YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAN A REGULAR DATE NIGHT – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Once you have worked though the purpose, expectation, frequency, date of, budget for and potential activities you can do, you have laid a strong foundation for a regular date night!
I truly believe date night can be a positive influence in your marriage. Let me know if you’re inspired to start a regular date night and what ideas you come up with for a fun-filled evening!
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