Elevate Your Date Night: Strategies for Deepening Your Connection

Dating is one of the best parts of a relationship – it’s how we keep things fresh and exciting. But once couples get married and the years go on, often dating your spouse can become more challenging as you experience big changes, milestones, or bring kids into the picture. Setting aside intentional time together becomes even more important.

My wife and I have been married for 12 years and together for 14. Not long in the grand scheme of a lifelong partnership, but long enough to have had some amazing dates, bad dates, and even gone through dry seasons of non-existent dates. Through trial and error, we have found some date night strategies that work for us and want to share some ideas in the hopes that maybe they will help you. Even if you’ve been together a long time, you can re-prioritize date nights and make them more frequent, meaningful, and enjoyable.


Make it a Priority

This seems obvious, but the best place to start in improving your date nights is to make them a priority. Life can get busy, and it’s easy to let date nights slip through the cracks. But if you want to strengthen your connection and nurture your relationship, you need to commit and put time together on the calendar. Choose a specific day or night each week, every other week, or month and mark it as your dedicated date night. By making it a priority, you send a clear message to your significant other that they are important to you.


Get Creative

When date nights feel unachievable because of the time or money required, get creative and think outside the box. If you want your relationship to thrive, you can’t afford not to make that date with your spouse.  Here are three examples of how we’ve gotten unstuck after becoming parents :

  1. Swap date nights with another couple. You take care of their kids one night, and they do the same for you on another night. This way, you both get the opportunity to have uninterrupted quality time together without the prohibitive cost of a babysitter. 
  2. Explore non-traditional times for your date nights. Morning dates can be a game changer, especially if any childcare needs are already taken care of through school or daycare. Personally, I also learned that my mind is much sharper in the morning, and my wife appreciates getting the best of my energy and attention at the start of the day.
  3. Try an early evening/happy hour date. Consider taking advantage of responsible teenage babysitters’ availability in the early evenings. This plays to their strengths, because it’s better for teens’ school schedules and they have so much energy to play with your kids!


Come Prepared

I’ve learned that I need to make time to come into date night prepared. Without thinking through what I want the night to be beforehand, I can’t make the most out of date night. One of the biggest lies I can find myself believing is that “I can wing it and be okay.” Life can be hectic, and it’s easy to forget about specific things you may want to talk about during your date. This is why I keep a note in my phone as a reminder of conversations I want to have with my wife that I know I’m likely to forget come date time.

The other benefit of this step is that preparation allows you to be more present during your date and ensures that you have meaningful conversations. By being intentional about your conversations, you show your spouse that you value their thoughts and opinions.


Connect Emotionally

As relationships progress, the dynamics of dating also shift. In the early stages, much of dating revolves around getting to WHO the other person is. However, as time goes on, you likely already know much of who they are. Your dates will need to shift from learning who they are to HOW or WHERE they are today.

Bring questions to the table that will help you connect beyond the logistics and routines of your everyday life. This is your time to intentionally go deeper than surface level. Find out what they’re learning or excited about lately. Ask them how they feel loved and appreciated. Be willing to ask for feedback on where you might be falling short as a partner and how you’re able to love them better in the next week.

Unsure what questions to ask on your next date? Here are suggestions from our Married Group Leaders


Examine Your Expectations

Expectations play a significant role in our day-to-day lives and can often lead to disappointment when they aren’t met. Problems surface when we fail to communicate our expectations to one another. Author Brene Brown refers to these unshared expectations as “stealth expectations,” because they can catch us off guard and cause tension in our relationships.

Date night is the perfect opportunity to communicate your expectations openly and honestly and just as important for you to hear theirs as well. During your time together, take the time to express what you would like to experience or achieve in the days and months ahead.

For example, you could say, “Hey, this weekend I’d really enjoy it if we could switch things up and take a family hike,” or “Things are going to get busy at work next week, and I’d love it if we could keep our evenings clear so I can recharge.” By voicing your expectations, you give your significant other a clear understanding of what you desire and can work together to meet each other’s needs, rather than hoping they just ‘get it’ and feeling resentful when they don’t.

Improving your date nights requires intentionality and a willingness to adapt as your relationship evolves. By making date nights a priority, getting creative, coming prepared, connecting emotionally and examining your expectations, you can foster a deeper bond with your spouse. Remember, date nights are about consistently investing in your relationship and making the most of the time you spend together. You can keep the spark alive and nurture your relationship through regular, intentional date nights and enjoy the journey of growing closer as a couple.


If you feel like your relationship could benefit from additional guidance and support, consider exploring  Re|Engage. Re|Engage offers a structured approach to helping couples strengthen their marriages, providing valuable resources, tools, and a supportive community. Whether you’re facing challenges or simply want to enrich your relationship, Re|Engage is a valuable resource for your journey together towards a thriving and fulfilling partnership. Invest in your relationship and discover the transformative power of intentional growth together.

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