Date Your Mate
If you currently are or have ever been in a relationship, you know how exciting those first few months can be. Feelings are intense, the newness is exciting, and dates are plentiful. Whether it’s a “Sunday Funday” or a romantic night out on the town, you look forward to spending quality time with your human. After all, the more time you all spend together, the more you learn, and the more you all grow and develop as a team.
As times passes, the intentionality with regards to dating begins to dwindle. Sometimes we notice it, other times we don’t. Sunday Fundays turn into lazy couch retreats and those romantic date nights are often spent ordering take out and watching Netflix until it’s watching you. I don’t think some people realize how much dating our mates mean until conflicts arise. About 80 percent of my clientele consists of women between the ages of 23 and 40, most of whom seek counseling to find answers and solutions about issues in their marriage or relationships. One of the first questions I ask before treatment planning is ‘when is the last time you all went out on a date?’ If you catch the drift of this post, then it’s likely you already know how most of them respond. Most of the women admit that they haven’t been on a date and can name a myriad of reasons why. Once I delve a bit deeper, of course their issues go way beyond missing a few date nights, but many of us don’t realize how spending quality time together can truly enhance a relationship.
Set a Consistent Day and Stick to It.
My partner travels a great deal but when he is in town we try to dedicate either Friday or Saturday nights for dates. This isn’t really a spoken rule but I think we both value setting aside time strictly devoted to one another that it just happens. This might not be the case for you. If you find that your dates are happening more off the cuff which makes them few and far between, put your heads together, take inventory of your schedules, figure out a frequency, and specific day. We don’t have children in our home so it’s easier for us to be more spontaneous weekly. For those with children, something biweekly or once a month might allow you the space and opportunity to line up a sitter and really plan out what type of activity you all want to do together. I even created a couple’s calendar that includes date night ideas or if I’m surprising him with a date, just a little note for him to be available. This is a cute way to get creative, keep track of each other’s schedules, and serves as a reminder to plan out your dates.
Stay Away From Ordinary
Sometimes we opt to keep it simple and do the dinner and a movie thing. We love movies so I wouldn’t say that these dates are boring for us, but they could potentially become boring if we don’t add variety to the activities we do. For the most part we try to do things that we haven’t done. A couple of weeks ago I dressed us up like the Brawny guy in black and red lumberjack shirts and surprised him and we went axe throwing. What a fun, competitive date. I’m 5’3,155. He is 12 feet tall, athletic, and like super-duper muscular, (yeah, like a Monstar from Space Jam) so you can imagine whose axe connected more. I didn’t do too badly towards the middle and the end of our 90 minute adventure. But the most exciting part for me wasn’t hitting the bullseye twice during one round while he only hit it once (although it felt pretty darn good to gloat). It was getting out of our comfort zone and watching him do something with me for the very first time. It was seeing him get in his element in a completely different environment and knowing that if we were ever in the woods being chased by a bear and there was an axe lying around that he’d do pretty darn well. Groupon is a great place to find out of the ordinary dates. Try a salsa class, cooking class, visit the gun range, or a distillery. Maybe a city tour by bike or scooter. You’d be surprised at how many hidden gems you miss around the city while driving.
In Home Dates
Every now and then kick it in the house. In home dates can be a great way to save money and believe it or not, you can still learn a lot about your partner even in your own space. Put the phones away and play a board or card game. Awhile back, I bought the card game Mentally Stimulate Me (MSM). The game involves a series of cards and each card displays a hypothetical situation. Under the situation there are options listed alphabetically for how one might handle the situation. The object of the game is to guess which answer your partner might choose and vice versa. I put a spin on the game. For every answer we picked incorrectly we had to take shots. Not only did we learn more about each other than we already knew, we got pretty lit. Order a pizza, or cook their favorite meal and let the chips fall where they may. Pun intended.
If you notice that there’s been a lack of activity in your relationship, say something. Closed mouths seriously don’t get fed. As much as we want our mates to be mind readers, relationships don’t always work that way. Sometimes we need subtle reminders that things have changed. I got so bummed one time when my better half told me that all we had been doing lately was lying next to each other on our phones. That had become our weekday normal. As much as I wanted to retort, I couldn’t. He was right. And now that he had made me aware of it, I had to fix it. Relationships get boring sometimes. I don’t care what you see on Instagram. We get comfortable, and things get redundant. But they don’t have to stay that way. Speak up, let your partner know that you want to get active again, even if it means that you have to plan something to set it in motion.
The most important thing to remember is to be intentional. Intentionality can be the difference between merely setting up a date and actually going. Be intentional about consistently dating your mate.