When you’re living with your partner it can be a shock to realise that life isn’t like a romantic film. You have to put up with bad breath, bad moods, bad habits. You see each other in your least attractive moments when you’re stressed and sleep deprived, frustrated and vulnerable.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost three years now. We met during university after being put in the same student flat in first year and quickly realised how important it was to make sure we were getting a regular dose of romance to offset the decidedly less romantic realities of long term relationships. This is where our weekly date night began.
Once a week, on a Thursday, we get dressed up, go to a nice restaurant, and get all gooey and romantic like two loved-up teenagers on a first date. For such a simple ritual in our daily lives, it’s had very tangible effects on the quality of our relationships.
Here are the main reasons that motivate us to continue our “date night” ritual…
1) Keep the love alive
What better way to celebrate the love in your relationship than by spending one evening a week dedicated entirely to each other, to holding hands across a table, laughing, having deep conversations, catching up on the intricacies of each other’s lives.
In a long term relationship I’m a big believer in the small, subtle symbols of love. Making each other cups of teas, talking through your fears and worries, cooking a lovely meal together. But I think it’s also important to remind yourself of how much you love each other by doing the things you did when you first got together like going on a date.
2) Get romantic
I love an excuse to get romantic and date night is the perfect opportunity to go all out. My boyfriend and I get ready separately. We pick a nice outfit, spray ourselves with perfume and then present ourselves followed by exclamations of how good we look and how much we love each other. It’s cheesy and gooey and utterly romantic.
The romance continues with some hand holding on the way to the restaurant and hand holding across the table. We gaze dreamily into each other’s eyes, talk about stimulating topics, and go home together afterwards feeling loved up and grateful to be together.
3) It’s an excuse to get dressed up
There’s something so nice about taking the time and making the effort to get dressed up for your daily date night. I love the ritual of putting on some nice music, lighting a candle, selecting a nice outfit, doing my makeup and then going to a nice restaurant to spend some quality time with the person I love.
4) Break up your week
Once you get into a rhythm of working and doing chores through the week life can start feeling a bit repetitive and mundane. While my boyfriend and I were living in Hong Kong, we were working long hours and spending our evenings trying to squeeze everything we needed to do in…cooking dinner, popping out briefly for an evening walk, having our showers and then jumping into bed nice and early ready for it all again the next day.
What’s so lovely about doing a weekly date night is that it breaks up and disrupts this pattern of “have to’s”. It forces you to slow down and really savour things that bring joy into your life…a good meal, a good environment, great company. It reminds you that life is more than an endless series of obligations and gives you something to look forward to and focus on.
5) Embrace your inner foodie
In its simplest sense, date night is the opportunity to go out for some really good food. If you’re into cooking like I am, then most of your meals will be an opportunity to relish in good food but I imagine lots of people cook things that are simple and not too time consuming. And it makes sense. Working takes up a lot of time and unless you enjoy cooking, coming home and spending a chunk of time in the kitchen is probably not high on your list of things you want to do.
This is even more reason to do a date night! Not only are you paying someone else more qualified than you to do the cooking, but then you get to enjoy eating it in the lovely environment of a nice restaurant. Embrace your inner foodie and make sure you treat yourself to a really great meal at least once a week for your date night.
And a bonus…you keep up to date on the new restaurants cropping up in your area. Next time a friend asks for a recommendation of where to go for a meal, you’ll be able to give them the perfect spot having tried them all!
– Tiger Lily –