ON DATE NIGHTS AND WHY THEY’RE SO IMPORTANT

“Date nights, or date days, shouldn’t just be something you do lots of in the beginning. They should happen throughout your relationship; whether you live together or not, whether you have children together or not, or even if you have a really busy schedule – or not! They’re so important.”

Aside from the challenges I’ve set myself to complete before the end of the year; 24 things I want to do before I turn 25, I’ve also set my own relationship an, albeit nice, challenge too – for Harry and I to go on a date night, or date day, once every month.

Admittedly, this doesn’t sound like a hard challenge, and I suppose it’s not in the grand scheme of things. But, as this is a challenge after all, I don’t just mean the usual, easy ‘date nights’ like a cinema trip here or there. Nope, I’m talking about fully going for it once a month, where we try out something completely new (keep it PG, please) or go somewhere we’ve never been to before as a way of spending some much needed quality time together.

Now, if you ever read my post where I laid out the God’s honest reality of living with your other half, you’ll remember me saying that despite thinking you spend a lot of time with your partner (“you live together, duh?”) in actual fact, that’s not always the case. If I’m being completely honest, it’s often far from it.

You may even kid yourself into thinking you’ve spent quite a bit of time together one week, purely because you’ve both been around more during the evenings. But, when you properly think about this ‘quality time’ you’ve spent together, this more often than not means lying in bed, silently scrolling on your phone or laptop. You’re not talking and probably haven’t been for a good half an hour. This is a classic Harry and I situation. God, we’re such millennials. I’ll be sat typing away working on my blog posts (like right now in fact…) and Harry will be watching YouTubers (even if it’s not Madelaine Vlogs…) – but it’s totally still quality time together, right?! Wrong! Being in the same vicinity as your other half doesn’t count. Quality time together isn’t just time together. It’s doing something fun, or completely chilled, but whatever the activity, you’re leaving technology behind for a few hours, chatting, laughing and generally appreciating your other half.

When you’re in a new relationship, you tend to go on date nights a whole lot more than when you’re more settled, or living together. I know in the earlier stages of mine and Harry’s relationship, we always seemed to be having ‘date nights’. I would go around to his on a Friday evening, stay all weekend, and we always seemed to be out and about. Whether it was going for a meal, visiting a Safari Park, or taking a trip to the Botanical Gardens – we always did something. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last forever. And it’s probably a good job too, as that’s certainly one way to burn through your bank card. But, when the honeymoon period subsides, you have to make sure the effort is still being put in. It’s way too easy to get comfortable and to (dare I say it) seemingly forget to do the little things you would have done for your partner beforehand. 

Date nights, or date days, shouldn’t just be something you do lots of in the beginning. They should happen throughout your relationship; whether you live together or not, whether you have children together or not, or even if you have a really busy schedule – or not! They’re so important. And if you think about it, they always have been. You didn’t bag that relationship in the first place before putting in some effort, and you’re sure as hell not going to keep a relationship down if you suddenly neglect this aspect either. Don’t worry – I’m not suddenly taking the place of your nagging better half (totally joking about the nagging part, guys). I’m not saying you suddenly have to take it right back to the beginning and do a load of date nights again. But, you definitely should try to do them once a month. Something where it’s just the two of you, where you put your phones away, you switch off from work, and you remember just how charming your other half can be.

So, the first activity we’ve chosen? To go to a cookery class together! Not only does it tick off another one of my 24 challenges (see the logic behind this genius now?!), but I’m also hoping that it will actually teach me how to be a little better in the kitchen too (Harry is praying for this part to come true). This is something completely different to anything we’ve done before, despite saying several times we’d like to, and it involves food – instantly making us foodies smile.

So, now that I’ve made you realise just quite how long it’s been since you and your partner had a proper date night, perhaps you’ll join me in my challenge this year. It’s a pretty fun one to have after all!

If you can’t think of other activities to do, and a cookery class to kick you off doesn’t float your boat, Harry and I have a few other ideas of things we are planning on booking over the next couple of months which may do the trick. We’re going to have a relaxing day trip to a spa (we did this last year and absolutely loved it), enjoy a posh meal out one evening (my friend kindly got me a voucher to spend at Simpsons, Birmingham for my birthday which I’m so excited for) and enjoy a night away in a Mr and Mrs Smith boutique hotel (courtesy of Harry’s sister). There really is something for everyone if you do a little research. So, when’s your next date night going to be?

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