Friday, April 12, 2024

Date Night Arguments and How to Prevent Them

Date Night Arguments and How to Prevent Them

The stars have aligned with your schedules, the sitter, the kids’ activities.  You can finally spend some quality time with your spouse away from the house.

It’s been ages since you spent any “alone time” together.  You’ve missed your partner.  In fact, you have longed for uninterrupted time when you can connect and feel close.  Time when there is time and space to feel like you did at the beginning of the relationship.
Time together is what inspired the other parts of your joint life.  You know that you need relaxed and enjoyable time together or you will lose the spark.  You already feel too much like ships passing in the night.  You need to break free from feeling like roommates.
You’ve been imagining the date all week.  You’ve pictured having fun, connecting, and being affectionate.  You are looking forward to being able to relax and focus on one another.
It’s what you have been looking forward to for days.

Everything goes wrong.  It all started with one irritation that spiraled into an argument.

  • One of you ran late.
  • You imagined that you could be spontaneous in deciding what to do on your date.
  • The kids, the sitter, the neighbor made it hard to get out of the house.
  • You are distracted by work, the kids, a problem, THE PHONE.
  • A thoughtless comment, a sigh.
Immediately, the anticipation drains away.  In a single moment, your hopes go up in smoke.

There are 3 ways a date can implode:

1.       The Non-Starter Date 

A Non-Starter Date blows up at the beginning.  It never gets off the ground due to unexpected (or expected) problems.  One of you runs late, feels sick, or is tired.  You argue about what to do on your date. 

2.       The Mid-Date Bomb 

A Mid-Date Bomb is when one of you says or does the wrong thing and it tanks the whole night.  Or, one of you doesn’t say or do something that seems thoughtless or insensitive. 

3.       Date Night “Expectations”

  • Date Night Expectations come in two forms.  In the first, one partner has ideas about how the date “should” go.  When they don’t go as planned (or hoped), they feel disappointed and frustrated.  Underlying this problem is the belief that your partner “should” know you well enough that they do the things that are important to you. 
  • Alternatively, Date Night Expectations link the date with physical intimacy.  “We went out, so we are definitely having sex tonight.”  Nothing kills the mood as fast as believing you “owe” your partner sex for spending time with you.
Next thing you know, both of you get irritated, angry, and feel more disconnected than before.  You start arguing to protest the injustice.  Which is just like all of the injustices that have ever happened in the past.
You wonder if you chose the wrong partner.  Where is the lovable person who started this journey with you?
Chances are, you chose the right person.  But your marriage is starving.  You aren’t spending enough time together to feel close or to solve problems.  When this happens to any marriage, the couple argues on their dates.
But there is hope. You don’t have to argue on your dates.

Tips to Defusing Arguments on Date Night

  • Put some rules/expectations around the date.  Decide ahead of time or at the beginning what you both want.
  • Table some touchy topics for another time.
  • Give your partner 3 strikes to be less than perfect.
  • Redirect the conversation if it heads down a touchy subject.
  • Decide where to go ahead of time.
  • Take turns planning the date.
  • Use Conversation Questions to spark discussion about new topics.
  • Schedule a problem solving/planning session a few days before your date.
  • Have a low-key backup plan ready to go in case one of you is tired.
  • Go on a date regularly (weekly/monthly).
  • Reminisce about the good times in the relationship.
  • Dream about your future when you can spend more time together.
  • Do some of the things you both enjoyed at the beginning of the relationship.
  • Give your partner a way to win by telling them what you need.
Choose one or two of the tips and try them out.  It’s worth the effort so you can get what you want from the time you spend together.  If it doesn’t work, you can come back to the list and try something else.
Your time together is precious and rare.  Don’t sacrifice it to Date Night Arguing.  When you argue on a date, you sacrifice your time together.  Instead, plan ahead so you can defuse arguments before they even begin.
And, if you go on a date, and it turns into an argument, remember that even the best relationships experience this.

Cheri Timko is a frequent guest blogger on Creating Sparks That Last. Her knowledge of couples and relationships is extensive and her experience speaks for itself in the value of her content. You can find more of her helpful advice on the following links:

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