No matter how exciting—or more often uneventful—the days may be, it is only natural that we fall into a routine. To save us from this seemingly innocent but nefarious trap is: Friday date night.
It doesn’t happen every Friday. My job requires that I work a third of them. And other important things no doubt come up. But as often as circumstances allow, we reserve Friday night for us:
- Just us. It’s just us during the week, but cooking a quick meal, keeping the house clean, and winding down with a little reading time is not the same as putting it all aside and focusing on each other. We treasure our time with family and friends too, but date night is just for us.
- Unplug from the matrix. Oh, the horrors of waiting days for a letter to deliver its message. Or the ancient practice of going home to pull the phone off the wall—and maybe even leaving a message if the other person wasn’t in. Today a message can be sent and received faster than it took to dial an old rotary phone. With this incredible convenience we’ve become addicted. All addictive behaviors require an occasional cleanse. So on date night we do our best to put the phones away and focus our attention on the life in front of us.
- Dress up. I remember the effort I went through when we first began dating. I always had a clean shave and a crisp shirt. I put a little shine in my hair and on my shoes. I sprayed on a little cologne. A little effort in looking nice goes a long way. Dressing up does something to pull me out of the mundane. There is something to the saying, “You only feel as good as you look.” Whether we’re going out or staying in, on date night I get cleaned up and give her my best.
- Make it special. We can’t afford extravagant dinners out every week, but special doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as a nicely set table, some Frank Sinatra (the Rat Pack channel on Pandora), and a bottle of wine. Or maybe picking up some flowers or chocolates. Even just dressing up adds a special touch. The day-to-day gets comfortable and its important to bring back some spice to life.
- Talk about dreams. There is no avoiding the daily report: How was your day? Anything new? How is everyone? But tonight is about transcending the day-to-day and getting back into the clouds. It is important to spend some time dreaming about the future because seeing our destination grounds us to our course (or maybe tells us we need a change of direction). Talking about our deepest hopes and aspirations was how we got to know each another; and it is how we will continue to know each other.
A big part of nurturing our relationship is just keeping it from falling through the cracks. Before I know it, we’ll be celebrating our 10 or 20 or 30 year anniversary and I don’t want to wonder where the time went. Date night is a chance for us to shake off the routine and remember what is most important to us.
What keeps you from spending dedicated time with your partner?