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Date Night! (Resolution #2)

January 4, 2010    

Seattle, WA Marriage Therapist      Since we have all agreed that more dark chocolate is the first resolution that we WANT to keep for the New Year it’s time to consider the second fun item that will be enticing to implement this year.   One of my favorites is a regular Date Night.  Although it may seem that we live in a culture saturated with marriage problems, and a 50% divorce rate, we need to also remember that half of the relationships DO work and last and may be the most fulfilling love relationships in human history.  In my experience there is one factor continues to help keep the fun alive in any relationship (and it is NOT the FUN in dysfunction!) 

   Date night is something that too many couples forget when they become buried in work and parenting obligations.  However, when a date night is implemented on a regular basis, it can keep things in proper perspective in a marriage:  Someday the kids will leave home, and the job we feel so attached to will either change or go the way of retirement. When it’s all said and done, the friendship factor s in our primary relationships will be the most important and rewarding parts of our lives.  If we are partnered with our best friend, we will most likely have a long, and fulfilling life together.

    So what would Date night look like? How about a movie and dinner out, watch a new play in town, hit up a sports event, take a long walk around Green Lake with a stop at your favorite place for a beverage to talk about your week, take dance lessons together (remembering to laugh when you step on each other’s feet) invite friends over for game night or Saturday night pizza and a DVD, etc. You get the picture.   It doesn’t have to be expensive; for instance, last weekend my wife and I arranged a  DATE DAY. After a home cooked breakfast, we took in a wonderful hike  around Discovery Park,  followed by the finding a wood fired pizza place in Ballard (Vincentes!), and ended up seeing a  $3.00 movie at  the Crest. Total cost for the day….$30. Value to the relationship? Priceless!

     Some couples make use of these times to remember their life goals, or the character qualities that drew people together. It can be a time for dreaming together about the future, planning the next vacation, or just catching up on the week’s events. The point is to find a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend time together, other than sitting in front of the boob tube in silence for hours on end. Sure it takes some motivation to do something different, but adding in the positive fun stuff, makes people want to invest in each other’s life much more, and helps weather the difficult things we all face from time to time.

    So, Resolution #2 is to make DATE NIGHT happen at some point every week or two. This year, I’m not going to  let a month go by without at least 4 times reserved only for each other. Time spent together in fun ways keeps us connected and more aware of why we  chose each other in the first place.  Laughter, adventure, discovery and fun helps each of us focus on the important values of our lives and unlike the stock market, we CAN take that to the (emotional) bank account!

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