There are many aspects that can go into a successful date night. Without healthy couples communication, many of them will not work very well. While three is a small number, it’s essential to get these down first.
1. When on a date, put down your phone
This one seems simple enough. But, we live in an age where many of us are tethered to our phones. Smartphones allow us to be two feet away from our partners while completely disconnected from them. Let go of the temptation to even look something up on your phone. Consider turning the phone off unless there is a chance of an emergency (e.g., kids at home with a babysitter). Connection is one of the essential parts of a date, and people are rarely present and connected when on their phones.
2. Use active listening skills
Once the phones are put away, make sure you listen to your partner. Occasionally paraphrasing what they say can let them know they are being heard. A date is not the best place to have arguments, so practice not being defensive. This can happen via reflective listening, where you take the first step of restating what your partner said to their satisfaction, without trying to advance your own agenda. Empathizing with them can go a long way toward building trust. It can happen to anyone, but men tend to want to solve problems when their partner may want them to just listen.
3. Ask open-ended questions
If a relationship is new or the couple is engaged, there may be plenty to talk about. If you have been together for a while and had a long day, the conversation may be difficult. Ask questions that cannot be answered via a few words. Try to avoid topics you may discuss every day such as your job. The questions will have much more impact if you genuinely want to know the answer. Use the active listening skills discussed in #1 when asking these open-ended questions. Depending on where you are in your relationship, these questions can be designed to make small talk or talk about serious life goals.
You can do more things to have a great date night, but it mostly comes down to communication. You can communicate about how your partner looks, why you desire them, or what you plan to do when you get home. You can choose a romantic location if you can afford it, or choose any quiet place to talk. The important thing is emotional intimacy and togetherness.
This post was inspired by the Gottman Method and especially their GotSex kit. This kit can be used as part of couples therapy to improve your love life.
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