As Valentine’s Day approaches couples around the world began thinking more about setting up the perfect romantic date. Flowers, chocolates, Jewelry, dinner, theatre, or a bed and breakfast all are traditional ingredients of great dates. Others prefer much more simple and low key options like taking a hike together or sharing a cup of coffee. What really matters is not the activities or the amount of money spent but the quality of the time spent together. Do you enjoy one another’s company? Do you listen deeply to one another? Do you show up to each other with vulnerability and respect?
Research from social-science studies supports the importance of couple’s taking one on one time on a regular basis. According to a 2012 report by The National Marriage Project from the University of Virginia, the literature suggests that date nights may improve communication, increase fun, create more romantic feelings, strengthen commitment, and reduce feelings of stress. Furthermore, taking couple time together at least once a week has a positive correlation with happy relationships. The study also found that women who went on weekly dates with their husbands experienced a higher rate of sexual satisfaction.
Date nights are catching on in interesting ways. Religious and community organizations around the US are supporting initiatives to promote date nights as a way to strengthen marriage. For example, a local park district is offering a date package that includes snow shoeing followed by hot beverages and music. In Norway, the minister for children, equality and social inclusion has encouraged couples to go on dates in order to rekindle romance. I also see an increase in dating activity in the couple’s I work with as a strategy for improving the quality of relationships. When it comes down to it, who doesn’t enjoy a great date with a significant other?
Sometimes it is important to have no agenda and no expectations other than to just enjoy spending time together. Other times, date nights provide a great opportunity to talk about things that are important for deepening connection, knowing each other better and working through conflicts. That is why I wrote a book for my clients called Date Night Conversations: Recapture the Magic with Great Couple’s Communication Tools. In honor of Valentine’s Day you can get a FREE copy of my book for your e-reader on February 14-16. Go to Amazon.com and download your copy and have some wonderful conversations with your loved one. I hope you make date nights a regular part of how you keep the spark alive and that you find this book helpful. Happy Valentine’s Day!