It’s hard for every long-term couple to admit. But the truth is, every relationship goes through a “dull” stage.
After the exciting phase of first dates and falling in love, every couple eventually becomes so domesticated, that date nights start consisting of Chinese takeout and watching Netflix in your comfy pajamas.
Psychotherapist Zoe Hicks calls this the “burying stage” of a relationship. She explains:
“Burying is not always bad; it’s a sign that the relationship is real and weaves into your everyday existence. The important thing to remember here is to “unbury” yourselves.”
So don’t worry, you haven’t lost that “spark”... yet. Date nights can keep that from happening. In fact, surveys suggest that people who go on date nights 3 times a month are likely to have higher-quality relationships.
If you want to keep romance in the air, here are 5 date night ideas to help you and your partner keep the flame burning:
1. Incorporate health and wellness on your dates.
Hit two birds with one stone by incorporating health and wellness in your date nights. You’ll have fun and be healthy together. Who doesn’t want to be #couplegoals?
A study conducted by the State University of New York suggests that couples who engage in exciting physical challenges and activities have better satisfaction in their relationships and feel more love for their partners.
You don’t have to go beast-mode right away. Enroll yourselves in acro-yoga or a fitness class in your local gym. And if you’re on a budget, why not try jogging at the park together? You can even start by cooking healthier meals together.
2. Do micro dates for tight schedules.
You can’t use your tight schedule as an excuse to skip date nights anymore. There’s a thing called “micro-dating” which will allow you and your partner to spend quality time together, even when you’re both extremely busy.
Micro dates use small snippets of time in your day—time you usually waste on social media, for example—to be with your partner instead.
For example, replace the time you check your emails in the morning for 10 extra minutes cuddling in bed.
Micro dates are simple, low-maintenance, and a perfect way to connect using little moments you’d otherwise neglect to appreciate.
3. Go gaming.
A little bit of healthy competition should help spice things up. Truly, is there anything more satisfying than beating your partner in a well-played game?
Engaging in competitive activities can do a lot for your relationship. It teaches you how to lose, how to be compassionate, and it’s an excuse to tease your partner a lot!
Play with the game station together. Have a game of tennis or pool. Do board games that will engage your mind like chess or scrabble.
But you must tread the line carefully here. Competing with your partner may result in negative feelings, so it’s important that you both remember that your relationship is more important than winning a silly game… although it’s really fun when you do! You just need to be good sports.
4. Do a “couple project.”
There’s nothing that could help a couple bond more than doing projects together. Whether it be planting a summer garden or doing DIY projects around the house, building something with your partner gives off a feeling of purpose and unity.
Couple projects will help you:
- spend quality time together productively.
- do something together and sharing that experience with each other
- challenge you to commit to something and finish it together
- help you develop team-building skills
- create feelings of pride and accomplishment.
Finding a joint project may be difficult, but try doing something you’ll both like. Doing a one-sided project may result in resentment, annoyance, and tension. You should agree completely on what to do, instead of agreeing on something for the sake of it or doing something half-heartedly. Otherwise, disagreements will likely come up.
5. Try “day dates.”
Date nights are fun. But have you ever heard of day dates?
Spending time outdoors during the day can create wonders for your relationship, says licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate Hanna Eaton.
“It really allows us to connect and reconnect and get to know one another on deeper levels without the distractions of technology and everyday life.”
Aside from getting time away from life’s responsibilities, exposing yourself to unfamiliar sights and sceneries will create a “sense of shared wonderment.”
Make time out from your busy schedules and try to organize a day date at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be anything grand or expensive. Go out and bike through the city, hike in the nearest nature park, or go on a road trip to the beach. It’s all about quality time.
The 5 ingredients of a great date night
Don’t just settle for the tips we wrote above. You can, and should, create your own date night ideas. Planning activities to do together is a fun way to bond. But it’s also a great way to get creative together.
How do you start?
According to the National Marriage Project, there are 5 active ingredients of a perfect date night:
Remember, a relationship needs constant attention to grow. While no relationship is perfect, you can create a long-lasting, healthy, and loving partnership with someone if you choose to actively work on it together.
Love is the constant and almost stubborn choice to commit to someone you can’t imagine your life with.
You’ll inevitably reach stages in your relationship that may seem dull and lifeless. But you don’t have to stay there. Although it’s important to accept that you won’t always feel butterflies-in-your-belly moments, you should always strive to find ways to continually bond and rediscover each other.