I remember once having a conversation with a coworker who lamented that she sometimes felt like she and her husband were boring. She mentioned how she realized that they sometimes sat in silence at home but at the same time she was comfortable with it. They had already been married for several years and often visited or hosted friends and family, but when they were alone; they were content with catching up on TV and movies and just being around each other. They didn’t really do ‘date night’ but as they prepared to welcome their baby girl, she knew that their chances for spicing things up would diminish for a while with everything that came along with becoming parents and wondered how they could step out of their chill zone and get in some unique quality time before life got in the way.
When you’ve been in a long term relationship, it is very easy to fall into a routine and feel like an old, married couple. I look at falling into a routine as being different from falling into a rut (which has a more negative connotation). Falling into a routine in a relationship just seems to happen as you get more comfortable with your partner and everyday tasks take over. You wake up, go to work, come home, unwind (maybe work out), cook dinner, watch your favorite show together, and then head to bed. Individually, your lives may include a happy hour with coworkers or a brunch with friends but usually you look up and realize you haven’t had a date night in a while or done something that was just the two of you and not a group of people.
It’s simple to say “Oh, we’ll have date night every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month” until one month you have to go to a birthday party instead, and then a baby shower the next, or one of you is out of town for work. Slowly date night gets pushed to the back burner because this week was really rough and you’re both exhausted or you spent all day running errands and now you don’t feel like going out. So what happens when date night just isn’t working with your schedule anymore but you don’t want your routine to become a rut?
Don’t limit yourselves to just having dinner and movie on a Friday or Saturday night. Date night can be anything; the point is carving out time for each other that doesn’t include your couch and binge watching Empire. If you work near each other, try to meet up for lunch every so often and try a new restaurant each time. Or if possible, both of you can play hooky from work one day and start your weekend early. With fall around the corner, you can head to a winery for the weekend or plan a day trip to the nearest lake or hiking trail.
The main focus is to keep the energy and fun in your relationship. Try to capture that feeling you had when you first started dating and doing anything together was a big deal. Again, falling into a routine is a sign of how easily you fit into each other’s lives but you don’t want to end up feeling like roommates. Keep that spark and surprise in your routine and it will help to prevent it from becoming a rut.0