We have some reassuring words for you today.
If you’ve ever had a knock-down-drag-out fight or even just a heated argument on date night, you are not alone.
We certainly have. In fact, we had our most explosive fight ever during what should have been a wonderful date night sitting outside on the patio at a Mediterranean restaurant.
It’s an argument we recount at the beginning of The 80/80 Marriage — an argument over which one of us would pick up our daughter from daycare.
Of course, this argument wasn’t just about an afternoon day care pick up time. It was about all sorts of deeper issues: who cared more, who was working harder, and who was making the bigger sacrifice for the family.
The point here is that we didn’t set out to have a horrible night. It just kind of happened.
And if you look closely at some of your date night misfires, we’re pretty sure you’ll find a similar pattern. You never intend to end up screaming at each other over sushi. You don’t try to run through logistics in a stoic state of disconnection. It just sort of happens.
But why does it happen?
Here’s our answer. Instead of giving your our to-dos for date night, we want to give you our top five not-to-dos. These are the unconscious and accidental habits that get in the way of what we really want out of date night: deep connection, fun, adventure, and outrageously good sex.
1. Check emails, texts, and Instagram.
This is a must do for destroying date night. It signals to your partner that you don’t really care about them or what they have to say. But you do care — you care a lot — about work emails, that text from your bestie, or the video of the three dogs in China who have been trained to do backflips on command.
2. Don’t reveal your issues. Let them explode like a hydrogen bomb after a few drinks.
If you’re in the habit of revealing your inner experience to your partner, you stay connected and in sync. You also miss out on this pro tip for turning a night of fun into a full-on rage fest. That’s why one of the best ways to set the stage for a disaster date night is by withholding all those microscopic truths. Keep all your frustrations, your fears, and even your small victories in life from your partner. Let them fester and grow.
3. Don’t bother putting it in your calendar (assume it will naturally happen).
Here’s a great way to kill date night before it even begins. Just assume that, even though you and your partner have almost no free time, you’re totally overwhelmed, and your life is arranged around kid’s soccer games and trumpet lessons, date night will plan itself. The beauty of this tip is that you’ll most likely never fight on date night because you’ll most likely never make it to date night in the first place.
4. Show up totally exhausted (so you can barely keep your eyes open at the end of the night).
Want to destroy all hopes of having amazing sex at the end of the night? This tip is for you. Work yourself to the very edge of burnout in the days and weeks preceding date night. Don’t sleep. Schedule back-to-back meetings. And be sure to schedule your most stressful meeting or task during the hour just before you leave for date night. If you do it right, the two of you will never have sex again.
5. Get defensive, really defensive.
Curiosity is your enemy. It forces you to question your own beliefs and really listen to what your partner has to say. There’s a much better mindset for destroying date night: defensiveness. Trot this out whenever things appear to be going well.
When your partner says, “Wow, it’s really hot today,” say “Well, it’s not my fault that the AC isn’t working right. Weren’t you the one who set the thermostat?” When your partner says, “I felt so busy all day” say “You think you’re busy? I woke up at 5am, handled our insurance renewal, and have been in meetings all day.”
So there you go. Five ways to DESTROY date night. But what do you do if you want to have amazing date nights full of connection, laughter, and intimacy? Just steer clear of these five traps and do the exact opposite.
Nate and Kaley Klemp are authors of the new book The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Marriage, a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. To download their free PDF guide to Epic Date Night, tap here. This article was reposted and used with permission from the 80/80 Marriage.” Also check out their great book “The 80/80 Marriage” and free relationship guides HERE.
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