You can google lots of Date Night ideas, but as a Wellness, and Relationships expert, my specialty is helping you find find the ideas that match your energy levels – and that suit your relationship. You don’t need help from me when it’s all going well – right?
If everything is rosy and you’re just looking for ideas, check out my other posts. This post is specifically for Tired or Busy People. And this one is for ‘seeds’ of ideas to help you and your partner to engage again. When you get to the list at the end, notice how I take one idea, and then chunk it down into smaller and smaller steps. Learn this technique and you will learn to match your available energy levels without being boring.
For many couples in a longterm relationship, ‘life’, busy-ness, and tiredness get in the way of connection and romance. Sadly, before long, the desire to be together, looking into each other’s eyes, smiling, touching and the sense of connection and fulfilment are a distant memory.
Does it make you sad remembering that loss of connection? Or has it happened to you already and you wonder if you can ever find connection within this relationship again?
There is an old saying about creating loving feelings riding through thick and thin, and the saying has been around for a very long time. It is the reminder that Love is a Devotion, not an Emotion. What does that mean? It means when you devote yourself to cherishing something, the focussed act of Devotion creates the emotions. If you leave love up to chance, chances are that everything else will fill up your time and take your energy and LOVE, or INTIMACY won’t make it to your To Do list. Why? Because the busy, doing, Working side of your BRAIN is not the loving side. That is neuroscience, that is yogic truth.
Once connection and the feelings of love have diminished or disappeared, you might think they can never come back, but take heart! They can. Now that neuroscience has mapped what yoga, tantra and meditation have taught for thousands of years, we cannot deny that things can change.
Start with a committed time set aside. You might resist the idea of this, but putting some time aside for ‘planned spontaneity’ gives your love life a little oxygen. Squeeze that Date Night appointment into your planner before you know what you will do, so that you at least have the time set aside to be spontaneous.
Relationships slip low on the list of priorities and because they are in the non-urgent’ category of things that take up your 24 hour days, they usually only get attention when they become urgent – a crisis, a fight, a threat. Now you have not only the non-loving side of your brain involved, but once crises set in, you are now in your limbic brain – basic survival instincts. [That’s not good for loving romance by the way].
You owe it to yourself, and to your partner, to create connection. Why? Because when you live from a connected state – a non-survival state – everything in your life goes better. All of your relationships, your body, heart, your health, and yes, even work goes better because you will be accessing your full brain, not just part of it.
Once you have scheduled time for building connection, name it. You might like to call this time Date Time, or Date Night. [I say date time rather than date night, because you don’t need to limit yourself to nights, but for this post I’ll call it Date Night.]
Once scheduled, it is essential you make date night a priority. Sometimes your partner will be testing you to see if you will commit to it, so the last thing you want to do is to not do it, or change it if your partner doesn’t seem too excited by it. Be the leader, the instigator, and set it up yourself. You can become super creative with this, and I can give you some tips, or you can take a simple ‘managerial’ approach and schedule it in. Scheduling is a good start!
To begin with, you might want to make it a regular time – eg Every Wednesday evening, or every second Saturday morning. If both of you can commit to creating connection and you are flexible, you could change the times every week. However! Changing times can be an out, and the ‘I’m too tired’, or “I have something else on’, is making connection a lower priority. In this case make a time and stick to it. Date times are non-negotiable.
Most couples are overtired. That means low energy. Low energy means sex life goes out the window – for women, and for men. Basic human needs – survival first, sex second [Maslow’s needs hierarchy].
The obvious ideas for marriage and longterm relationships dates are
-going out to dinner
-play/ concert/ show
All of the usual suggestions in the list above, involve some energy because they are ‘Doing’ activities, especially the ones that involve dressing up and going out. If your energy is low, create connection through who you BE, rather than what you DO together.
If going out requires too much effort for your [or your partner’s] energy levels, try these ideas for your Date Times.
-Creating a special dinner at home
-Make a video night at home a special event
-Dedicate time to listening to music at home
-Set up a massage at home – it could be just hand or foot massage
-Do you have a bathtub? Set up a special bath experience
-Play a board game
-How about asking the questions that you haven’t asked before
-Dream/ Vision – google a place, or object and talk about that
-You could write 5 questions and ask your partner about themselves
–How about sharing something about yourself?
1. Remember these basics for your Date time or date night.
Go ahead with it.
If your partner doesn’t attend, go, or do what you have planned anyway [be loving about this].
If your partner resists, ask yourself what you would LOVE to do. Plan that for another date night, and invite your partner to join you.
2. Remember your ‘date’ is part of a recipe to create connection. Some essential ingredients are to be:
Prepared to feel awkward
Connected to yourself
Okay with feeling vulnerable
Okay with doing something differently or something new
Prepared to be vulnerable [vulnerability builds love]
Okay with making ‘mistakes’
Prepared to silence your inner critic
Committed to silencing your inner resentful self
Showcasing your inner best self
At the very least, you will have spent an evening applying 13 Essential skills for your own life. That is a win/ win for you. Another great article that helps you create micro-activities is my 12 step list gives you the tantric basics for communication as well. Click here for tantric basics. Let me know what you think. Let me know how you go!
Susan Wanmer Relationships Coach. Relationships Blogger.