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4 min read

Research Shows That Date Nights Are Linked to Stronger Marriages, More Sexual Satisfaction

A couple in therapy

Most of us understand that spending time together with a loved one is a good thing. In fact, many of us may schedule regular date nights with our romantic partner. However, a new report from the Marriage Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Lincoln, followed a study of almost 10,000 couples to determine how often couples should go on dates, and what spending quality time together can do for relationships. In this article, we'll take a look at the science, as well as share some common advice from relationship experts when it comes to planning a regular date night.

The Science Behind Date Nights

In the recent Marriage Foundation study published by Harry Benson and Steve McKay, they broke down the numbers of married couples and romantic partners who participated in a regular date night. What they found was that:

  • 11% of couples went out once a week or more
  • 30% of couples went out together once a month
  • 23% took advantage of a date night opportunity less often than once a month
  • 36% reported infrequent date nights, saying that they "hardly ever" went out together

This group of couples was monitored over the course of 10 years, and the study found that, compared to other groups, those that went out once a month had the highest odds of staying together. However, that only pertained to married couples, not cohabiting couples.

How Often Should You Plan Date Nights?

When looking at this particular study, once a month seems to be the sweet spot for scheduling a regular date night. Researchers believe that this may be because scheduling date nights every day of the week (especially with kids) may become stressful.

However, other experts share that frequent date nights can also be beneficial, especially for those couples who don't have to deal with the stress of scheduling a babysitter.

How often should couples go on dates is a question that can be answered differently for different situations. For some couples, regular date nights may mean once a week, while others may schedule a date night every other week. The key is not to let regular date nights lead to stress. If you don't have the funds to go out frequently, you can spend quality time in each other's company in other ways.

Who should plan dates in a relationship?

Married couples should not get in the habit of letting one person schedule and plan all the date nights. Emotional labor should be shared, or it can lead to resentment. Take turns deciding what to do for your date nights. This can keep things fresh, as well as ensure that one person isn't responsible for doing all of the planning.

Tips for Scheduling Date Nights

Date nights don't necessarily have to be a big deal, like a night out at a restaurant or show. A date night opportunity can be found almost anywhere. The most important part of participating in regular dates is to keep romance alive through time spent together. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, plan to dedicate time to less expensive activities. Here are some ideas for date nights that won't break the bank:

  • Plan a movie night. Stream or rent a movie that you love (or haven't seen), pop some popcorn or make other snacks, and spend the night in.
  • Play a board game or card game. Some conversation games are designed for people to learn more about each other. Even a happily married couple can learn more about each other with the help of fun conversation prompts.
  • Go for a walk or hike outdoors. Time spent in nature has the added benefit of lowering stress hormones and blood pressure.
  • Plan a night to explore your sexual relationship. A healthy relationship keeps the spark alive by maintaining sexual satisfaction. A night of cuddling and play can be a special time for husbands and wives to get to know each other better.

What is the 222 rule for couples?

Created by a couple on Reddit, the 222 rule posits that higher-quality relationships can be maintained by following this formula:

  • Every 2 weeks, go out on a date for the evening
  • Every 2 months, go somewhere for the weekend
  • Every 2 years, go somewhere together for a week

This is a fairly solid idea for keeping romance alive in married life, although, of course, mileage may vary based on economic and social factors.

How to Make Time for Date Night When You Have Kids

One of the challenges for how often married couples or partners go on dates is the question of what to do with the kids. Having a strong social network can help with date night planning, although not all married couples or partners have friends or family they can tap for frequent date nights.

If you have someone who may be willing to hang out with your kids, like a close family friend, see if you can get them on board for a once-a-month date night. You can reciprocate by taking them out to dinner, giving them a bottle of wine, or a favorite book, or doing them some other favor (if they have kids, all the better… you can trade babysitting!)

If not, invest time and money into finding a good babysitting service. Again, once a month is the gold standard for many, so you may be able to work monthly date nights into the budget. You can then spend time together in the intervening weeks doing movie night, game night, etc. after the kids go to bed, or when they're spending time at a friend's house.

Make It Part of Your Routine

Stay invested in the conversation when it comes to planning one-on-one time. It may not always be easy with work schedules and other life stress, but as long as you and your significant other are invested in the idea of keeping date nights a part of the relationship, you can make it happen.

Building Strong Relationships in Brooklyn

Planning regular dates can lead to healthy relationships and greater sexual satisfaction, but sometimes it takes more than a date night to stay happily married or committed.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we offer marriage and relationship therapy for those who may be looking for help in keeping romantic love alive in their relationship.

Book an appointment today to heal and bond together.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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