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April 28, 2012

Break the Date Night Routine

Having a regular date night is one of the most frequently recommended ideas for keeping the fun and romance in a marriage. But, as Dr. Rich Nicastro explains on his Strengthen Your Relationship blog, there are several reasons why date nights sometimes turn out badly.

Dicastro says that we need to break free from comfortable, old routines and be willing to try something new. Enjoying new experiences together strengthens your emotional bond - and it's fun!

At some point, I realized that my hubby and I had fallen into a predictable weekend routine that went something like this:

"What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"

And then we would end up walking around the lake again, or going to the mall again, or staying home to do yard work and then eating at one of two or three standard restaurants again. Boring! Finally, we agreed that we needed to stay away from the mall and the lake and try something - anything - new.

So we went to the museum. We visited the botanical gardens. We went to the zoo. One weekend we played miniature golf, something we hadn't done in years. We had so much fun that we went back again a few weeks later. Steve was surprised when I suggested we spend a day at the racetrack - something we'd never done together. It turned out to be a very pleasant, relaxing afternoon. We've visited a couple of different museums, gone to movie matinees, had a picnic in the mountains, attended musical performances, and toured a local art gallery complex. We've even gone back to the mall and the lake, but only because we felt like it, not because we had nothing else to do. We've also made a point of trying some new restaurants, while feeling free to go back to old favorites, too.

None of these activities are revolutionary, but they bring variety and fresh experiences into our lives. We are having fun!

Sometimes it's hard to come up with a new date idea. If you join Groupon, you will get daily offers for eating, entertainment and activities at a discount. Another resource is Meetup, where I recently found a very interesting group of enthusiastic folks who organize a wide variety of local activities. Some of their ideas have included archery lessons, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, going to a comedy club, paintball, theater evenings, and whitewater rafting. Check your local adult education center for classes in ballroom dancing, digital photography and wine tasting. (Mm, that reminds me, I need to go make a reservation....)

1 smart person said something:

  1. Love this post! You've nailed an issue spot on - it takes effort to keep our experiences of fun... Well, fun!

    Robert and I work at this too - not always successfully, but we're trying! We call our times 'frivolous fun' so it has no connection to anything with goals, or outcomes, or meeting anyone else's needs.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement!


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