Need some inspiration to get you back on track? Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, Marriage and Family Psychotherapist and author of A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage, has some valuable tips to help rekindle your passion for date night.
The thought of dating may bring with it some nostalgic thoughts of romance, elaborate plans or magical nights. While those memories are fun, they don't represent reality for those of us who are married with kids, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. "What we had before marriage and kids isn't what we need afterward," says O'Neill. "We need to revise! We may long for our 'dating years,' but it just doesn't work any longer."
The concept of date night undergoes a dramatic transformation after kids are involved. What used to be a carefree experience full of adventure and romance sometimes becomes a difficult obligation. "For married couples with jobs, careers, kids and a myriad responsibilities, doing all that it takes to make a date happen becomes hard work," says O'Neill. "In order to make it work, my husband and I have reframed date night into a ritual. Every Thursday night, we make our favorite meal, share a bottle of wine and watch our favorite show." When a couple adopts a new perspective on date night, spending time together is more than feasible.
At one time, date night was an opportunity to get to know somebody better. After kids, it can be a valuable building block for a solid relationship. "Date night can be a weekly ritual that provides a sense of safety," says O'Neill. "No matter what happens, a couple can look forward to a shared time to talk and be away from the rest of the world. It provides stability, something the marriage and individuals can count on as part of the fabric of your life together."
Whether you have completely neglected date night, need some motivation to reinstate it or have been enjoying it regularly, O'Neill's tips for establishing a marriage ritual that never ends may be just what you need to get the most out of date night:
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