Do you find yourself spending less time with your spouse because of everyday responsibilities, work and children? According to the National Marriage Project’s “Date Night Opportunity Report,” couples who spend more one-on-one time together are less prone to divorce and report higher levels of sexual satisfaction, communication and commitment.
“I am a big believer in date night. I tell all my clients and students that it is essential for keeping romance alive,” says Linda Bloom, relationship counselor and author. “What happens to a lot of couples is that they drift into becoming roommates, business partners and co-parents. It’s not good to let those important parts of the relationship get emphasized while the romantic part is malnourished.”
Rekindle couple time with the one you love. Hire a sitter or trade childcare with another family and try a few of these creative ways to date your mate.
- Make popcorn and enjoy a romantic movie like The Notebook, Sleepless in Seattle or Casablanca.
- Share pictures and videos from your early days as a couple.
- Take turns writing in a journal about your life together. If you have children, they will cherish the book one day.
- Share letters describing what you love and admire about each other.
- Read a relationship book together. Try to outdo each other following its advice.
- Take a hot air balloon ride.
- Visit Belmont Park and ride the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.
- Race go-karts at Miramar Speed Circuit or K1 Speed.
- Take a helicopter or airplane ride together. If you really want a thrill, skydive!
- Take scuba diving certification classes together.
- Go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
- Take a hike at Mission Trails Regional Park.
- Go geocaching. Visit www.geocaching.com to find out where.
- Rent bikes and ride around Mission Bay or Coronado. Try a tandem bike!
Discover some of San Diego’s favorite hiking trails at www.sandiegofamily.com/things-to-do/out-about/favorite-hiking-trails-in-san-diego.
- Find a spot away from city lights and stargaze.
- Visit a bookstore with a coffee house in it. Peruse the bookshelves and then sit, sip and read together.
- Build a fire in a backyard fire pit and make s’mores together.
- Visit your local farmers market.
- Make a special meal at home. Use silverware, China, candles and cloth napkins.
- Take a dinner cruise with Hornblower Cruises.
- Dine at a restaurant that has live entertainment like jazz, blues or theater.
- Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around Seaport Village.
Around Town Dates
- Go to a local urban winery or brewery.
- Take a self-guided tour of one of San Diego’s neighborhoods. Check out shops and attractions, and just for fun, eat dinner and dessert at two different locations.
- Attend a live concert or musical.
- Take a class together at a local college or community center.
Find fun stuff to do in Little Italy, Encinitas and Point Loma. Read Neighborhood Spotlight articles at www.SanDiegoFamily.com/out-and-abo ut/over-600-things-to-do.
“Giving Back” Dates
- Volunteer at a community garden.
- Love animals? Volunteer at the San Diego Humane Society.
- Serve together at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- Volunteer as docents at a local park or trail, or be ushers at your favorite theater.
- Buy tickets to a charity gala. Dress up in a tuxedo and evening gown and have a glamorous night while helping others.
Get more volunteer ideas here.
Physically Fit Dates
- Take a couples dance lesson. Try salsa, ballroom or line dancing.
- Go roller-skating at Skateworld in Linda Vista or ice skating at San Diego Ice Arena in Mira Mesa.
- Run a marathon. Cross the finish line together.
- Take yoga or Pilates together.
- Lift weights together.
Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist and mom to Andrew and Gracie.
Find tons of fun family adventures here
6 Secrets of a Great Date
Relationship counselors and bestselling authors Charlie and Linda Bloom give this advice:
1. Make date night a priority.
“Schedule it. Recognize the need. It is part of your responsibility in a relationship,” says Charlie.
“When you do, you are saying ‘I value you and our relationship,’” says Linda.
2. Don’t make it a to-do list.
“Every couple has budgeting, bill paying, or issues with children,” says Linda. “Don’t desecrate date night. Have another meeting to deal with issues.”
3. Set an intention.
“Make the date something you are both excited about,” advises Charlie. “Both people should articulate what they are hoping they will experience together.”
4. Don’t bring your device.
Turn the phone off. “Couples need to experience each other’s physical presence,” says Charlie. “They need to experience each other’s touch and look into one another’s eyes.”
5. Don’t make one person shoulder all the responsibility for the date.
“Usually it falls to the woman to take care of the relationship,” says Linda. “It is a great gift to the relationship if both people take responsibility.”
6. Remember why you got together in the first place.
“Acknowledge one another,” says Linda. “Say ‘this is what I love about you, what I appreciate about you, or what I have learned from you."
Linda and Charlie Bloom are the authors of Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.”