Weekly date nights—who has time for that? might be what you’re thinking. Is it ambitious? Yes. Will it require sacrifice? For sure. Do you need to be totally on top of your game in the organization and scheduling departments to pull it off? Absolutely. But is it worth it? Honestly: you can’t afford not to do it. Your relationship cannot afford to go several weeks at a time without a night dedicated to focusing on each other, catching up, and remembering who you are as romantic partners (not parents, not managers, not friends, not daughters, not neighbors to that one needy older woman upstairs). If you ask any long-term successful couple what their secret is, they’ll give you a lot of different answers but the central theme of those answers will be making one another a priority. How could it not be? Here is why weekly date nights are crucial to your relationship success.

Laundry/grocery talk isn’t date talk

It’s too easy to believe that you already spend time together because you live together. But unless you set aside time when you say, “We are only talking about fun things tonight” all of your conversations will revolve around groceries, laundry and bills. Those things demand your attention. There are always bills to pay and there is always laundry to do. If you don’t take a break from those conversations, do not expect them to give you a break. But you need to put aside time to have the types of conversations you can only have with your romantic partner. And really, you can have laundry talk with anyone.

If you don’t make it happen, it won’t happen

You may tell yourselves, “Oh, we’ll find the time to hang out” but has that happened? Has life—between meetings that run late and traffic and unexpected favors your family asks of you—ever gifted you random and unexpected down time? No. And even when it does, your brain automatically goes back to bills and laundry. You need to take the reins on date night because it won’t happen on its own.

Life moves very fast

Life moves so fast that you do have new updates to give one another each week. It’s important to sit down and not only tell each other what has happened that week, but also take the time to think and talk about what those changes mean to you with the person who understands you the most in this world. You are important sounding boards for each other. If you don’t make use of those soundboards, life will get ahead of you and you’ll feel like you had no hand in it.

It keeps your relationship in the forefront of your mind

In order for your relationship to survive, it must be the nucleus of your life. You need to make other decisions, from micro to macro ones, based on what’s best for your relationship. But if you don’t take the time every week to enjoy your relationship, it will fall to the back of your mind and you’ll slowly start building a life that has little room in it for your relationship.

It keeps you from turning to others for companionship

It’s important to remember that your partner is your friend and a big part of your social life. But if you don’t make plans with him, you’ll stop seeing him that way. Then you’ll start filling your free time with other people. Other people and friends are important, of course, but they may become your main focus if you don’t take the time to remember what a good friend your partner is.

Otherwise, you’ll become roommates

If you don’t make date night happen every week, you’ll become more roommates than lovers. You’ll become passing ships in the night. Eating separately and going to bed at different times will always be the more convenient options. So if you don’t take the time to eat together and go to sleep at the same time, you never will.

Fine: when else will good sex happen?

Maybe you force emotionless quickies between meetings. Good for you. Or, maybe, not good for you? Should emotionless, disconnected sex be a part of a relationship with someone you love? Date night gives you the chance to emotionally bond before physically bonding, and that makes for the best sex.

It reminds you love is all that really matters

If you regularly give yourself the opportunity to remember how damn happy your partner makes you, you’ll always know that nothing and nobody else makes you that happy. No promotion can make you that happy. No status or notoriety. Nothing. And when you remember that, you won’t choose pursuing those other things over nurturing your relationship.

Bonds break much faster than they build

Bonds break really quickly and take a long time to rebuild. If you go a month without a date night, that can do damage to your bond as if you have gone half a year without date night. The level of emotional disconnect you feel does not directly correlate to the amount of time you don’t have date night. It’s much, much worse.

Your partner deserves a special time and place

Your partner deserves time you’ve designated just for him. He shouldn’t be lumped in with answering emails or paying bills. That’s how you originally became close—by setting aside special time for each other to show that you are very special to each other. He’s not just another friend or family member. There is only one of him for you, and so he deserves time that’s just for him

Otherwise, date nights will feel daunting

The longer you go without having a date night the more daunting they can become. If you do anything regularly, it becomes easier and doesn’t feel intimidating. This ranges from exercising to planning your date night!

You’ll remember why you picked this person

You’ll have the chance to reconnect and talk about just you and him (not kids and not colleagues). You’ll be reminded why you chose this person out of all the people in the world to be with. On that same note, it will reduce temptation outside the relationship. When your bond with your partner is fresh in your mind, you aren’t interested in other people.

You get the important chance to play

It’s so important to get to be a kid again, and your partner provides one of the only opportunities to do that. Think about it: most other people in your life require some “adulting” from you. Particularly if you have children or a job. Date night gives your brain a chance to relax and you and your partner to play—this is so important for fighting off depression.

Everyone else is building their own lives

While it’s important to maintain friendships and relationships with your family, don’t forget that everyone else is building their own lives with their romantic partners. Their partners are their nucleus. So why should you make them your nucleus?

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