Build a great marriage by Phil Bonasso


Widespread marriage advice encourages couples to make time for themselves and their relationship by having a regular date night. As a marriage counselor, when it comes to building a great marriage, I couldn’t agree more with this principal. Although very important to every marriage, I feel a regular date night is especially critical to younger couples with small children who find it difficult to find time together due to the demands of their family.

I generally find the “date night principle” something most couples are aware of and are trying to do. Yet, the effectiveness of this time together is far from satisfying. They have fallen into a routine of boredom and “bad” date night habits. Here are 5 principles that will help to re-energize this important time together:

1. Always Plan! If you don’t plan a date night, rest assured it probably won’t happen. In the modern couples life, there is far too much stress and demand on their time to be spontaneous.

2. Be Committed! Once you have made a plan for a date night, it can’t be broken. Outside of life threatening circumstances, nothing is more important. At the 2004 Golden Globe Awards, Sean Penn won the award for best actor in the film “Mystic River”. Director Clint Eastwood accepted the award for him due to the fact Sean had promised his daughter the evening out! Your marriage relationship should have the same kind of dedication.

3. Plan Something Special! Be creative with your date night. Get out of the rut of doing the same thing every time. Be daring and try some new restaurants. Take turns with your partner in picking a new outing each week. Try and surprise each other. Soon you will discover that you actually look forward to these weekly adventures!

4. When together, be together! I cannot emphasize this point enough. A date night is a time when couples must focus on themselves in an encouraging and positive light. All to often couples fall into the trap of focusing on the stresses and problems of the day, or choose this time to argue with one another over disagreements. This is not to the time to discuss grievances and hurts. Nothing drains a date more of its life and energy and its potential intimacy than bickering.

5. Shut the Door to Work! No calls from work allowed. Let your date night be a cell phone “free” zone. This goes for family and friends as well. Other than a household emergency, no conversations with anyone but your spouse!

Put these points to practice and you will re-energize your boring date night into a very special moment together, as you continue to build a great marriage!

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