Are you one of the many couples who feel like date night is a fancy luxury item you just can’t afford, let alone make time to do?
Babysitters are expensive. Dress up clothing are expensive, and after getting married, become impractical. Factor in the cost to actually go out, and the expense adds up.
Not to mention, at the end of the day, you’re tired — and so is your spouse.
But the truth is that date night, as luxurious as it may seem right now, is essential to making your relationship last — especially if you’re married with children.
The whole world was reminded how valuable date night really is the day a 96-year-old husband took his 93-year-old-bride with Alzheimer’s disease out for a date.
She might not have remembered who he was or the times that they shared in that moment.
Still, he dated her anyway, as he had for nearly 75-years.
No doubt there’s something magical about marriages that last a lifetime.
There are valuable lessons on how to make a marriage last, even through Alzheimer’s disease, from the man whose date night with his wife went viral.
1. It’s the little things that count.
Simple gestures add a special element to marriage that makes the relationship extraordinary.
- Open the car door.
- Carry her across the threshold for fun.
- Even breakfast in bed can express how much your spouse means to you.
When hard times hit, those same gestures drive home the commitment you share with each other. Just like this dedicated husband fed his needy wife at mealtime, the simplicity of his actions said, “You are mine.”
2. Don’t be too proud to accept help.
It’s hard to switch gears when all day you’ve had to keep your guards up at work. Leave your pride and independence at the door when you go out for a night with your partner. Date night is the time to allow a couple to reveal and express their unique dependence upon each other.
3. Romance doesn’t have to be expensive.
Like this elderly husband who treated his wife to an inexpensive burger at Wendy’s, dating does not have to break the budget. There are plenty of fun, free, and easy dates to experience together. Some date ideas include:
- A walk on the beach
- Visit a museum
- Pack a lunch and picnic while reading poetry
Focus on each other and you’ll have a relationship money could never buy.
4. Routine is an important element of romance.
Just like foreplay happens outside of the bedroom, date night romance starts in your daily routine. Look for ways to save time so that scheduling a night out together is possible. If chores can be shared to make more time for a date night, all the better. Couples who create routines together are often happier because of it, and this adds up to a stronger marriage.
5. Don’t worry about how you appear in public.
Have a game plan. Every once in a while, opportunity strikes, and you’re free for an hour or two. If there’s a little coffee shop, bookstore, or burger joint nearby, plan on making that the spot where you have some one-on-one downtime to reconnect. Don’t worry about how you look. The whole point is to have fun as a couple. Unexpected dating opportunities are wonderful for building your marriage into one that will last.
6. Keep the focus on each other.
It’s hard getting back into a routine of dating each other again, and it can feel like a first date with a stranger. Try to avoid talking about chores, bills, the kids, and what happened at the workplace. Instead, think about what you might talk about with someone you want to get to know. There used to be a moment when you could stare into each other’s eyes without a word, and feel complete. It’s okay to be nervous, feel unfamiliar, or even slightly unsure. Remind yourself that this time is just a small building block to the foundation for your marriage to last a lifetime.
7. When one can’t give back in equal measure, give double the dose of love.
Don’t keep score. We all want to feel acknowledged by the one we love, especially when we express our feelings. But, love isn’t all about being acknowledged. Love isn’t always about getting our needs met. Love is about giving without expectations.
In her new book Radical Acceptance: The Secret To Happy, Lasting Love, YourTango CEO and Founder Andrea Miller explains that truly loving someone requires a “fundamental recalibration of your relationship expectations.” She argues that “It’s about not expecting someone else to ‘make you happy,’ but thinking much more about what you have to offer your partner. The relationship has to make you happy.” THAT is where love comes from.
8. It’s not about who you are, or what you have, but what you do that matters.
Be yourself. When one of you unexpectedly gets sick, authenticity shines through. When a person is transparent during good times, the bad times seem less scary. Although being home while either of you is sick isn’t the ideal date, it’s still a special time together that only you two share. Not to mention, carrying for one another during illness builds intimacy into your marriage.
9. You only need one person to remember why you are together.
It takes one person to make a marriage last but two to make a porce. When marital stress or external problems pushes the “I quit” button, use date night to rebuild intimacy. Each date can create new memories and reasons to stay together.
10. Focus on the journey.
True love is a process. Just as you went from that first date to marriage, you can use date night as a way to bring each other back to the time when things were new and fresh. The road isn’t always easy, but dating each other will make your marriage happier. Besides, nothing worthwhile ever came without a bit of struggle.
11. Remember the milestones.
Every day there’s a reason to celebrate. Enjoy the fact that you made it through another day and are one moment closer to celebrating another anniversary together. Take time to express those sentiments to each other. Couples who find reasons to celebrate anniversaries and milestones are more likely to enjoy their relationship, look forward to date nights, and stay together.