A new study indicates regular date nights can have a significant impact on making your marriage last. The time commitment isn’t terribly difficult to achieve; monthly dates lowered the odds of splitting up by 14 percent over 10 years. Because date nights can be boring or hard to schedule, I’ll include links to plenty of ideas to refresh your regular dates.
Interestingly, the monthly date night effect only applied to married couples in the study. The University of Lincoln’s Professor Steve McKay used data from 10,000 mothers in the UK who were either married or cohabitating. Cohabiting couples who dated did no better than those who did not go on dates.
The researchers suggest regular date nights reinforce the importance of the relationship. Because their relationship is founded on a public commitment, the date night reinforces this commitment. “The date has a meaning and a purpose,” they say. For cohabitating couples who may have an element of ambiguity in their relationship, “a night out is a night out.”
The bottom line is that occasional date nights “bring added stability to the relationship between new parents.” While married couples without children were not included in the study, researchers say it is plausible that the result will reinforce commitment at any stage of marriage.
Schedule those monthly date nights, and consider trying a new activity or location for your dates. Are there seasonal activities you enjoy, such as apple picking, apple pie eating, or pumpkin carving for the fall, decorating your Christmas tree or going sledding/skiing in the winter? Taking a walk or bike ride may help those who don’t want to spend money or splurge on calories for big dinners. Cooking a themed dinner at home can help you manage budget and healthfulness.
The following list of 50 date ideas was so popular that the author wrote 50 more date night ideas. So, I’ll include links to all 100 date ideas. If none of them suits you, make your own list to choose from. The important thing is to spend time together (not staring at a screen). Read The Benefits of Monthly Date Nights for Married Couples for more info.
What are your favorite date ideas with your spouse? Do you prefer going to your favorite restaurant or trying something new? Whatever your preferences, put it on the calendar for a long-lasting marriage.
Lori Lowe has been married to her husband, Ming, for 20 years. She is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.