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How (and why) to plan a regular date night

Get date night on your radar with this handy guide of how to plan a regular date night including its purpose, frequency, budget and of course, what to do!

A romantic couple having a date night after reading this how and why to plan a regular date night.

Depending on the stage of your life, it’s quite possible that when you hear the word “dates” you think of those sweet brown fruits frequently transmuted into caramel in vegan concoctions, as opposed to doing something with your husband for fun.

After all, for many of you, it might be that dating was something you did way back in the early days of your relationship and now you’re married, you’re more likely to search for how to plan a menu than how to plan a date.

But that would be a mistake.

Understanding why date night is important

A happy couple, with the man giving the woman a piggy back: Why it is important to plan a date night

Many years ago now, 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 leave home and the couple would be left with each other.

Depending on where their focus had been, their relationship would then either flourish or fall apart.

Date night is a way of taking time out to communicate with each other, of stopping the rest of the world and enjoying being together.

It’s a way of experiencing fun, romance and adventure – together.

It’s a way of saying that as a couple, we matter.

It’s a private and public affirmation of the value of your relationship.

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 regular date night when it’s never been a feature in your marriage?

Consider starting off by working out your answers to these five elements of husband and wife dating.

Defining the purpose of date night

Couple under a white puffy blanket: The purpose of date night and your expectations

The first thing to do is to bring up in conversation with your husband the fact you would like to plan a regular date night 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 either then there are several ways to introduce it.

  • 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’d love to make more of an effort to spend time together out of your usual routine. You value spending time with him and think planning a regular date night would help your connection
  • organize it and tell him it’s a done deal! Then once you’ve had one date, you can explain why you want it to be a regular part of your marriage and work through the planning process below.

Stating expectations for date night

The next thing to discuss are the expectations you have for date night.

If you consistently want an all-out romantic evening and his idea of date night is limited to watching the game with a bowl of popcorn, someone’s going to end up disappointed.

Be super clear on what you both want to get out of your dates and know that when it’s a regular feature of your lives, there’s plenty of opportunities for each person to get their needs met.

How often should a couple have date night?

A happy couple standing along the streets after a date night

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’re alternating dates out with date nights at home, then once a week may be perfectly do-able.

One research study of 2000 couples examined the relationship between date night and marital satisfaction. They found that spouses who had frequent date nights were significantly more likely to report that divorce was “not at all likely” in their marriage (63% for wives; 60% for husbands) compared to those who infrequently or never go on dates (49% for wives; 47% for husbands) (source).

Regular was defined as one or twice a month or more frequently than that.

This would appear to be in favor of the monthly date night at minimum.

Regardless the key factors when deciding on frequency of date night need to be around convenience.

So anything between once a week and once a month is perfectly acceptable.

Locking date night in on your calendar

A couple looking excitedly at the phone because they have just locked in date night.

If you’re making a commitment to a plan date night once a week then decide what day you’ll have it on.

If you don’t want to lock in a certain night of the week, then schedule it during your relationship meeting based on what else you have going on.

If you make it once a month, I suggest you plan it for the same time every month – the first weekend of the month or the last weekend of the month, for example. That way you’re less likely to forget and / or double book.

Lock the dates in your calendar.

Setting your date night budget

A couple at a laptop planning a regular date night budget.

The next thing to work out is how much money you’d like to commit to date night.

If you haven’t had a regular line item for dates in your budget, now’s the time to have that discussion/

Again you can be flexible – maybe you allocate a set sum and balance your dates out between free or cheap ones and more luxe experiences.

Communication is key so make sure you are both happy with the amount you’re going to allocate.

Brainstorming date night activities

A couple on date night walking up a hill.

The final part of planning 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, and you’ll find a ridiculous amount of them on this website, all grouped together with these date ideas for couples.

You can try dating by the season with the following:

Go through all the ideas and create a bucket list of dates you can refer to when it comes time to planning your date.

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.

So that it’s fun for everyone, take turns to plan the evenings. This is unless your partner isn’t super keen – because, spoiler alert – sometimes they need a little convincing.

In that case I suggest you do the planning, especially for the first few times. Once they see how much fun it is and the positive impact it’s having on your marriage, they’ll be more on board.

That being said, it’s important to know what each of you bring to the relationship. I love planning, so when it comes to planning dates, getaways or longer vacations, I’m more than happy to do it all. Ben is the enthusiastic participant!

Summing up

Once you have worked though the purpose, expectation, frequency, date of, budget for and potential activities you can do, you’ve laid a strong foundation for a regular date night.

Date night is a positive influence in your marriage.

Now you’re inspired to plan a regular date night, let me know what ideas you come up with for your next fun-filled evening.

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Monday 23rd of May 2022

I really like the order of the steps to start planning your date night. We used to struggle planning dates and finding places we both wanted to eat without taking the others rejection personally. I started using CoEat (free app) so we can easily narrow down our options to places we both like.


Saturday 25th of June 2022

Thanks for your comment. The app sounds interesting and helpful.


Saturday 8th of December 2018

Katie, great post! So many couples don't realize how important it is to continue to date. In order for the relationship to grow, couples must continue to pursue their spouse just like they did before they were married. Don't take them for granted after the wedding day and assume that you don't have to continue to put in the effort to romance and court them.


Monday 10th of December 2018

Thanks so much for your comment Steve. Making time for your partner is huge - and the further we get on in our relationships the more complacent we can become. That's why I love date night.


Sunday 2nd of September 2018

We love date nights. It's our time to reconnect and enjoy quality time! Thanks for sharing!


Monday 3rd of September 2018

Thanks Becky! I agree date nights are the best!


Friday 3rd of August 2018

I like that you said a date was a private and public affirmation of the value of your relationship. Relationships take work after all. I know my wife can get stressed at work so I think I'm going to order a bunch of pizza Friday and just stay in with her.


Saturday 4th of August 2018

I think that's an awesome idea!

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