by Martin Novell LMFT and Daina Hulet
On your first date you were introducing yourselves to each other. Now a year, or years later in your marriage or relationship, date night is the perfect time to reintroduce each other to your individual worlds.
Update your Mate
Busy working couples don’t often have the time to give updates on how things are going in their personal lives – whether it’s talk about work, family or friends, likes and dislikes, or inner thoughts. Date nights are the perfect time to catch up with each other to stay up to date with your mate.
Date nights now come with more knowledge and more assumptions about your partner. But some of the knowledge may be old and some of the assumptions wrong. It may be news about a change in a project at work, revised hopes and dreams, or the latest about the status of a friend or relative.
But just like on a first date, when discussing news, or worries or stresses, don’t try to problem-solve or criticize -- just listen, learn and understand. (And remember, understanding is not agreement.)
Kisses and Compliments
Talk positively about the things that make your spouse attractive to you. Compliment them on their accomplishments—the way your wife handles your in-laws, the way your husband looks, and most importantly, compliment your relationship. Talk about what you believe makes you such good partners, parents, how well your last dinner party went, or how happy you make each other in bed.
If you’re the type to show PDA and it just feels right, go for a kiss or a hug at the restaurant table, or hold hands as you walk to your car. Thanking your partner for a wonderful evening before you get out of the car, or at the front door as you would have on your first date, can lead to some humorous exchanges like, “I’d like to see you again”, or “Would you like to come up?”
A Few Planning Tips
To avoid arguments in the car about running late, or worrying about the kids or work so you anxiously look at your cell phones all night… I tell my clients to do several things before they leave the house:
1. Make sure everything is running smoothly at home before you leave, to ease any possible stress on the evening.
2. If either one of you is running late try not to make up the time by driving faster, or even bring the issue in the car, which often leads to arguments. Be a little more yielding towards one another, just so you’ll have a better time.
3. And, of course, no cellphones or electronic communication devices of any kind on date night. My clients who have fought me on this issue, but finally left their cellphones at home for an evening, all report that it can be done -- and it enriches their evening together!