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The American writer and journalist Mignon McLaughlin is quoted as saying, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” If you’ve been in a relationship for longer than a month, you know that this kind of result takes work. Work can mean compromise and a lot of serious discussions (and occasionally a good therapist), but if you’re doing it right, “work” should also include date nights. So how about a few “date your mate” ideas for you to get the ball rolling?
If you’re staying close to home, a date night can be as simple as sending the kids to grandma and grandpa’s, picking up some takeout and snuggling in for a movie marathon. It could be the movie you saw on your first date, a recent Oscar winner or one of the many other movies filmed in Arkansas. The movie doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re both into it. Pinkie-promise that you won’t get distracted by unfinished chores and, for heaven’s sake, put away your phones and tablets! Date night is about reconnecting with each other, not all those people on the other end of your Wi-Fi connection.
There’s a reason people say a long road trip is the best test of a relationship. When you’re forced to spend long stretches of time together in a car, sharing the radio and snacks, and agreeing on the number of bathroom breaks, you really get to know someone.
Arkansas couples are lucky to have some truly spectacular places to visit on a day trip, so grab a Grapette and hit the road. Some of us can get hung up in the planning stages of something like this, so here are a few “date your mate” ideas:
It’s not where you go as much as who you’re with, right?
Remember when you were young and loved to dance? Maybe you still love to dance but don’t seem to find time to do much of it? Music festivals and concerts are coming back online after being knocked out last year, so look at your local community events calendar. (Here’s a list of opportunities to shake your groove thing in NWA.)
If you can’t travel, connect your phone (you can pull it out just this once) to a portable speaker and fill your house with your favorite tunes. Revisit those nights you spent boot-scootin’ with your beloved or the playlist from your wedding. Just make sure you laugh a lot and gaze into one another’s eyes – that’s the secret sauce.
Most of us could do with a little more movement in our lives, and creating a healthy habit is easier when you have an accountability partner. Pick a time each day, or a few times a week if that’s all you have, and walk and talk for 30 minutes. It’s not the same kind of time you’ll get on the road trip, but touching base regularly will still polish your communication skills. Don’t forget to hold hands!
Humans, in general, are creatures of habit, and most of us aren’t super comfortable being in new situations. But stepping outside our comfort zone is not only a great way to have some unexpected fun, but it’s also very attractive to your partner – letting yourself be vulnerable now and then is pretty sexy.
Sign up to take a cooking class or learn how to make a clay pot at the local art center. For you outdoorsy types, maybe train for a 5k together or learn to fly fish on one of the many amazing rivers running through it. (“It” being Arkansas, of course.) Taking on a new challenge and being “in it together” can build a kind of trust and camaraderie that might have faded a bit after years of work and kids and home repairs took their toll.
Shared goals are pretty easy to name when you’re in a new relationship. You talk about buying a house, having a family, taking a vacation… planning together is part of the fun! But once you meet those goals, then what? Time for some new goals! Here’s a great list of ideas that you can use as your starting point. Put your list on the fridge and celebrate working together toward something you know you’ll both enjoy. And if you do it right, a good bucket list will include lots of opportunities to date your mate! It’s a win-win!
Header and all photos on Unsplash
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