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5 tips for the Perfect Married Parents’ Date Night

As you’ll see, the perfect date night is not about having the “perfect” dinner, the “perfect” show, or the “perfect” late night. It’s about reconnecting, generating good feelings, and discovering something new about each other.

Tip 1: Set an intention to reconnect

For couples like us who don’t get to do date night as often we’d like, we can put a lot of pressure on the night. We can fall into thinking everything has to be perfect because it might be a while before we do a night away again.

By setting our main intention to reconnect, we make it so we’ll always win. Was the dinner not so great? He still reconnected! Did parking suck? We still reconnected! Did the show kinda fall flat? We still . . . you get it!

Tip 2: Do something new

It can be as small as going to a new restaurant or totally switching things up and taking an art class or going rock climbing. What matters is that it’s something you haven’t done before.

Research shows that novelty activates the brain’s reward center which in turn makes couples feel happier and closer after the new event. In addition to novelty, aspects like variety and surprise help to trigger the same neurochemicals.

So, if you really want to shake things up, instead of a new restaurant (which is just novel), you could do an unanticipated cooking class (novel, a variation on eating out, and a surprise).

Tip 3: Take some time away from each other before the date night

The celebrity therapist, author, and podcast host, Esther Perel, LMFT, argues that our need for togetherness is just as important as our need for separateness because our separateness allows for the magic of discovery in togetherness.

“Too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals. Then there is nothing more to transcend, no bridge to walk on, no one to visit on the other side, no other internal world to enter. When people become fused — when two become one — connection can no longer happen. There is no one to connect with. Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.”

Tip 4: Bring Authentic Relating prompts to dinner

Authentic Relating is a set of communication ideas and practices aimed at helping us connect deeply with others while also remaining our authentic selves (Be sure to check out our chat with an AR leader on our podcast!).

AR is often taught through relationship games that include prompts. You can choose these prompts below, modify them, or make up your own.

  • One way I hope to grow closer to you is . . .
  • I feel your support most when . . .
  • My first impression of you was . . .
  • Three things I appreciate about you are . . .
  • One way our communication could improve is . . .
  • Something I’ve always wanted to ask you is . . .
  • I love talking with you about . . .
  • One way I’d like to show up better as a partner is . . .
  • You really turn me on when you . . .

Choose one at a time, decide who gets to answer first, and allow you both to give full, uninterrupted answers. You can play around this and add follow-up questions and reflect back to the other person what they said in your own words.

Tip 5:  Add a pre- or after-dinner get together with good friends

Related to Tip 3: Take some time away from each other, you could schedule a part of your date night to meet up with good friends. Not only will this be an enjoyable non-kid parenting escape, but it will also allow you and your partner to spend a little extra time apart, giving you more to connect over later in the evening.

5 tips for the Perfect Married Parents’ Date Night

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5 tips for the Perfect Married Parents’ Date Night

This week, we're highlighting five ideas from our experts on how to have the perfect married couple’s date.

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Key takeaways

1

For many married parents, a real date night is a rare opportunity and we can put a lot of expectations on it

2

These 5 tips will help set the night up for success no matter what

3

Start by setting the right intention: not to have the perfect night but rather to reconnect

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As you’ll see, the perfect date night is not about having the “perfect” dinner, the “perfect” show, or the “perfect” late night. It’s about reconnecting, generating good feelings, and discovering something new about each other.

Tip 1: Set an intention to reconnect

For couples like us who don’t get to do date night as often we’d like, we can put a lot of pressure on the night. We can fall into thinking everything has to be perfect because it might be a while before we do a night away again.

By setting our main intention to reconnect, we make it so we’ll always win. Was the dinner not so great? He still reconnected! Did parking suck? We still reconnected! Did the show kinda fall flat? We still . . . you get it!

Tip 2: Do something new

It can be as small as going to a new restaurant or totally switching things up and taking an art class or going rock climbing. What matters is that it’s something you haven’t done before.

Research shows that novelty activates the brain’s reward center which in turn makes couples feel happier and closer after the new event. In addition to novelty, aspects like variety and surprise help to trigger the same neurochemicals.

So, if you really want to shake things up, instead of a new restaurant (which is just novel), you could do an unanticipated cooking class (novel, a variation on eating out, and a surprise).

Tip 3: Take some time away from each other before the date night

The celebrity therapist, author, and podcast host, Esther Perel, LMFT, argues that our need for togetherness is just as important as our need for separateness because our separateness allows for the magic of discovery in togetherness.

“Too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals. Then there is nothing more to transcend, no bridge to walk on, no one to visit on the other side, no other internal world to enter. When people become fused — when two become one — connection can no longer happen. There is no one to connect with. Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.”

Tip 4: Bring Authentic Relating prompts to dinner

Authentic Relating is a set of communication ideas and practices aimed at helping us connect deeply with others while also remaining our authentic selves (Be sure to check out our chat with an AR leader on our podcast!).

AR is often taught through relationship games that include prompts. You can choose these prompts below, modify them, or make up your own.

  • One way I hope to grow closer to you is . . .
  • I feel your support most when . . .
  • My first impression of you was . . .
  • Three things I appreciate about you are . . .
  • One way our communication could improve is . . .
  • Something I’ve always wanted to ask you is . . .
  • I love talking with you about . . .
  • One way I’d like to show up better as a partner is . . .
  • You really turn me on when you . . .

Choose one at a time, decide who gets to answer first, and allow you both to give full, uninterrupted answers. You can play around this and add follow-up questions and reflect back to the other person what they said in your own words.

Tip 5:  Add a pre- or after-dinner get together with good friends

Related to Tip 3: Take some time away from each other, you could schedule a part of your date night to meet up with good friends. Not only will this be an enjoyable non-kid parenting escape, but it will also allow you and your partner to spend a little extra time apart, giving you more to connect over later in the evening.

As you’ll see, the perfect date night is not about having the “perfect” dinner, the “perfect” show, or the “perfect” late night. It’s about reconnecting, generating good feelings, and discovering something new about each other.

Tip 1: Set an intention to reconnect

For couples like us who don’t get to do date night as often we’d like, we can put a lot of pressure on the night. We can fall into thinking everything has to be perfect because it might be a while before we do a night away again.

By setting our main intention to reconnect, we make it so we’ll always win. Was the dinner not so great? He still reconnected! Did parking suck? We still reconnected! Did the show kinda fall flat? We still . . . you get it!

Tip 2: Do something new

It can be as small as going to a new restaurant or totally switching things up and taking an art class or going rock climbing. What matters is that it’s something you haven’t done before.

Research shows that novelty activates the brain’s reward center which in turn makes couples feel happier and closer after the new event. In addition to novelty, aspects like variety and surprise help to trigger the same neurochemicals.

So, if you really want to shake things up, instead of a new restaurant (which is just novel), you could do an unanticipated cooking class (novel, a variation on eating out, and a surprise).

Tip 3: Take some time away from each other before the date night

The celebrity therapist, author, and podcast host, Esther Perel, LMFT, argues that our need for togetherness is just as important as our need for separateness because our separateness allows for the magic of discovery in togetherness.

“Too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals. Then there is nothing more to transcend, no bridge to walk on, no one to visit on the other side, no other internal world to enter. When people become fused — when two become one — connection can no longer happen. There is no one to connect with. Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.”

Tip 4: Bring Authentic Relating prompts to dinner

Authentic Relating is a set of communication ideas and practices aimed at helping us connect deeply with others while also remaining our authentic selves (Be sure to check out our chat with an AR leader on our podcast!).

AR is often taught through relationship games that include prompts. You can choose these prompts below, modify them, or make up your own.

  • One way I hope to grow closer to you is . . .
  • I feel your support most when . . .
  • My first impression of you was . . .
  • Three things I appreciate about you are . . .
  • One way our communication could improve is . . .
  • Something I’ve always wanted to ask you is . . .
  • I love talking with you about . . .
  • One way I’d like to show up better as a partner is . . .
  • You really turn me on when you . . .

Choose one at a time, decide who gets to answer first, and allow you both to give full, uninterrupted answers. You can play around this and add follow-up questions and reflect back to the other person what they said in your own words.

Tip 5:  Add a pre- or after-dinner get together with good friends

Related to Tip 3: Take some time away from each other, you could schedule a part of your date night to meet up with good friends. Not only will this be an enjoyable non-kid parenting escape, but it will also allow you and your partner to spend a little extra time apart, giving you more to connect over later in the evening.

As you’ll see, the perfect date night is not about having the “perfect” dinner, the “perfect” show, or the “perfect” late night. It’s about reconnecting, generating good feelings, and discovering something new about each other.

Tip 1: Set an intention to reconnect

For couples like us who don’t get to do date night as often we’d like, we can put a lot of pressure on the night. We can fall into thinking everything has to be perfect because it might be a while before we do a night away again.

By setting our main intention to reconnect, we make it so we’ll always win. Was the dinner not so great? He still reconnected! Did parking suck? We still reconnected! Did the show kinda fall flat? We still . . . you get it!

Tip 2: Do something new

It can be as small as going to a new restaurant or totally switching things up and taking an art class or going rock climbing. What matters is that it’s something you haven’t done before.

Research shows that novelty activates the brain’s reward center which in turn makes couples feel happier and closer after the new event. In addition to novelty, aspects like variety and surprise help to trigger the same neurochemicals.

So, if you really want to shake things up, instead of a new restaurant (which is just novel), you could do an unanticipated cooking class (novel, a variation on eating out, and a surprise).

Tip 3: Take some time away from each other before the date night

The celebrity therapist, author, and podcast host, Esther Perel, LMFT, argues that our need for togetherness is just as important as our need for separateness because our separateness allows for the magic of discovery in togetherness.

“Too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals. Then there is nothing more to transcend, no bridge to walk on, no one to visit on the other side, no other internal world to enter. When people become fused — when two become one — connection can no longer happen. There is no one to connect with. Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.”

Tip 4: Bring Authentic Relating prompts to dinner

Authentic Relating is a set of communication ideas and practices aimed at helping us connect deeply with others while also remaining our authentic selves (Be sure to check out our chat with an AR leader on our podcast!).

AR is often taught through relationship games that include prompts. You can choose these prompts below, modify them, or make up your own.

  • One way I hope to grow closer to you is . . .
  • I feel your support most when . . .
  • My first impression of you was . . .
  • Three things I appreciate about you are . . .
  • One way our communication could improve is . . .
  • Something I’ve always wanted to ask you is . . .
  • I love talking with you about . . .
  • One way I’d like to show up better as a partner is . . .
  • You really turn me on when you . . .

Choose one at a time, decide who gets to answer first, and allow you both to give full, uninterrupted answers. You can play around this and add follow-up questions and reflect back to the other person what they said in your own words.

Tip 5:  Add a pre- or after-dinner get together with good friends

Related to Tip 3: Take some time away from each other, you could schedule a part of your date night to meet up with good friends. Not only will this be an enjoyable non-kid parenting escape, but it will also allow you and your partner to spend a little extra time apart, giving you more to connect over later in the evening.

Enjoying this article? Subscribe to the Yes Collective for more expert emotional wellness just for parents.

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