5 Secrets to a Great Date Night

So a crazy thing happened this week. My husband needed to attend a work meeting in New York City, and (since our last trip together was about 7 years ago), he asked me if I wanted to join him!

Of course, I immediately started to think through the details. We would leave on a Monday and return on a Tuesday night. It would be super quick…and the kids had a full schedule on Monday afternoon and evening…and —

The list went on and on, so my first instinct was to say no.

There was just too much going on and it would be a challenge to try and coordinate it all.  But then, after consulting with a few friends and family members, they encouraged me to go for it…and so I did…and in doing so, I followed the first secret to a great date night: I put it on the calendar!

Decide on what you want to do (dinner, a movie, both?) and when you want to do it — and then go ahead and pencil it in. No, scratch that — write it in permanent marker! Then, defend that date with everything that is within you. Make it a priority — use carpool support or grandparent babysitting if you need to. Just set it in stone and make it happen!

Now, once you get on the date, it’s time for secrets #2 and #3 (they kind of go hand in hand): don’t expect too much…and let it go. And by this I mean don’t try to do too much and don’t fret if things don’t go quite as planned.

Go ahead and acknowledge the fact that some things are going to go wrong on your date night. You might get lost and arrive late for the movie. Or the food might not be as good as you had hoped. But it’s okay! You are together!

Nothing that happens should cause you to stress too much — just the fact that you are getting some alone time with your spouse should be the prize…anything else that goes right on your date night should be a bonus.

When you do get disappointed or things don’t go as planned, just “roll with the punches” as my mom would say.

For example, I was super excited about getting to go to a play when we were in New York City for our 36 hour date night. But, I quickly learned that on Monday nights, Broadway goes “dark” and most plays are not available to see.

That was a big disappointment for me…this was literally probably my one chance in a decade to get to check out the theater scene — but I had to just get over it — there was plenty of other things to do. (And my husband was secretly thrilled.)

Which leads me to secret #4: enjoy the small things. One of my very favorite parts of our trip happened almost by accident on Tuesday morning. After a delicious breakfast at a neat little place recommended by a friend, we made the spontaneous decision to walk over to Central Park. We almost didn’t go because we really didn’t have much time, but we were so glad that we did.

The park was pretty empty and quiet and peaceful, and even though we only had about 15 minutes to walk around, it was incredibly beautiful and the weather was perfect and so we soaked up every second of it.

Okay, the final little secret: you don’t have to do something new to have an adventure. Being in New York City, we felt a bit compelled to try out a new restaurant for our one big dinner of the trip. But then, we decided that we would go to the place that we knew would make us happy, and we ended up eating at the Olive Garden in the middle of Times Square. It was the perfect combination: our favorite comfort food with an amazing view of the city.

New and exciting? Maybe not. But did we have our own fun (yet predictable) adventure? Absolutely. And we didn’t regret one bit of it (especially dessert)…

So there you have it…5 little secrets to have a great date night. I know all my dates won’t get to be in New York City (maybe in another decade or so?), but following these simple secrets, we can have a great time anywhere we go!

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