Today’s episode is all about the best way that we’ve found to stay connected with your significant other: date nights.
On this week’s episode, Russ and Mika share the number one tip for connecting with your significant other and keeping your relationship on fire: having a date night.
It’s not always easy to do, but the benefits that a regular date night can have on your relationship are immeasurable.
On today’s show, you’ll hear about the types of date nights that the two of us have had in the past, what makes a great date night, how to find ideas for date nights, and a whole lot more.
In this episode, you will learn:
• Why Date Nights are important for your relationship.
• What constitutes a true “Date Night”?
• Our favorite date nights we’ve had recently.
• How you can use date nights as a “boardroom meeting” for your family.
Mentioned in this episode:
Russ Perry: Well, hello there, everyone. We are back again. We are diving into a new topic, a lighter topic, and this is the topic as we talked about in the title that we are teasing as the number one hack — I don’t know if it’s a hack — tip, action, behavior, habit to keep your relationships on fire and to actually have a connection with your significant other, and that is date nights. Mika, we’re going to start, I’m just going to jump right in a question for you. What is a date night?
Mika Perry: Date night is a time where Russ takes me out and treats the time as a special set aside time for us to connect, to have dinner, and just enjoy each other’s company, I guess. It’s intentional. Date night is an intentional time that you have asked me out because you are so sweet to make the reservation, put it on our calendar. You send me a Google Calendar invite for our date nights. You’re very proactive about it, and you take me out to a dinner. We just spend maybe two hours.
Russ Perry: It starts, I mean, think about when we were dating and we were not married, date nights are well-orchestrated things. We do dates all the time, and that is usually the case for most married couples is when before you’re married, you’re dating. You do all these stuff, but then you get married, life happens, you have kids, and for many couples, and it was for us for a long time, date nights evaporate. You take the other person for granted. You don’t feel like you have enough time. That, as I’ve seen, with many couples who are struggling, you ask them, “Are you going on dates,” and they give you a million reasons why they’re not.
Mika Perry: Or, they wonder why they should even go on a date because you’re not dating anymore, you’re married. It’s locked down. You’re done. You don’t need to woo the other person.
Russ Perry: Rewind chronologically prior to our current habitual date nights, which we go every week. I always thought of date nights as again, that courting process. What we realized after the fact was that dating or continuing to date your wife and going out on dates is an opportunity to reconnect on a romantic level, even if it’s nothing fancy but having time carved out every week where you are able to focus on each other. That’s really how I view date night, whether we’re actually going to a dinner or an event or some activity. It’s more like time for us.
Mika Perry: Yeah, and it’s intentional.
Russ Perry: Why do people stop doing date nights? ‘Cause it seems like on paper, everyone agrees that it’s a good thing. We mentioned a few obstacles, but what else do you think prohibits people or prevents people from getting back into date nights after they’ve been married for a while?
Mika Perry: I think a few things. One is that they don’t see that it’s important anymore. Like I mentioned, it’s like, “You’re already married. Why do you even have to go on a date?” Second is being tired. You’re parents, you’re working. Third, having to leave kids, getting a babysitter. That’s actually challenging for a lot of people whether they don’t trust that they’re going to be able to get good help, if you have kids to watch your kids, maybe financially. Then I think being comfortable with the idea of making it a regular part of your relationship, giving it the importance that it deserves. ‘Cause you have to go out of a little bit of your comfort zone because you’re in your daily routine, and then it’s like having a weekly event to commit to.
Russ Perry: I argue that we do that all the time for other folks. We have weekly events for our kids. We have weekly events at work.
Mika Perry: Yeah.
Russ Perry: This is, to me, the hack or how things turn is we’ve put all this time and energy into everyone else but ourselves often, and having that weekly date night forces us to redirect that energy and time into each other. As a guy, I’ve at times had really great date nights where I think about it a lot, and I come up with creative ideas or creative things. Other times, we’ve had the worst date nights where it’s on the fly.
Mika Perry: Well remember, we did the one date night where we went shopping at Pottery Barn because we needed a couch, and so I took you to Scottsdale Quarter?
Russ Perry: That is the worst date we’ve ever had.
Mika Perry: Don’t go shopping together.
Russ Perry: Yeah, the story behind that is simple. We moved into our new place, and we have zero furniture. We’re trying to buy furniture at grownup stores like Pottery Barn. I did not plan a dinner or any activity, so the date night was well, hey, let’s go and really it was an errand that was becoming the date night. I’m not too keen or know what’s in store at Pottery Barn. I don’t think I’ve ever been there on my own personally. When we walk in, and we were picking cloth for furniture or a couch or something, and it ended up being like two-and-a-half hours of me sitting on the demo furniture while you talked to this lady.
Mika Perry: And then we went home.
Russ Perry: And then we went home. That is not date night.
Mika Perry: Leaving, we suddenly looked at each other and said, “Let’s never do that again.”
Russ Perry: Right.
Mika Perry: That was not date night.
Russ Perry: Why that didn’t work was because it wasn’t us connecting into each other. That’s another thing too. I talk to people about date nights, and people are like, “Oh yeah, we go on date nights. We’re going out with our friends this Friday. We’re going to see my family and do this on the weekend, or we have this business event we’re going to on Thursday.” Date nights does not mean with other people. That’s not a date night. Date night literally is if you want the categorical definition of a date night, it is you and your significant other and no kids and no friends and no one else, and that’s it. That is a date night. What’s been your favorite date in recent memory?
Mika Perry: Oh, good question. I think when we went to Ocean Club somewhat recently. Some date nights we don’t really dress up, but that night, I remember we dressed up a little bit more, and it just made it feel a little bit more special. We just had a really nice conversation, and the food was good. The night just flowed really well.
Russ Perry: They don’t have to be complicated. What’s important to you as a wife, the pieces of a great date night?
Mika Perry: Well, I think one thing that you do really well is that you plan ahead for it. You give me enough time to set aside time to getting ready. You recognize that I need time to get ready without the kids, so you’ll come home maybe a little bit earlier, or you’ll set up the babysitting 30 minutes ahead of when we need to leave so that I have time to get ready ’cause that’s important for a woman to feel in the mood and in the right mindset to go on a date. That’s really nice when you take those things into consideration of my needs of what I need to get in the mindset for date night.
The times that you’ve gone out of your way to pick a restaurant, and this is like both something I love and something that’s hard for me because I don’t like surprises sometimes, and so I think it’s exciting when you say, “Oh don’t worry, I got the reservation. We’re going somewhere new.” That’s exciting ’cause you took the initiative to find a place and make a reservation, but then at the same time, I’m worried that the restaurant’s not going to be good.
Russ Perry: Currently, we have a new place scheduled for tomorrow. We’re actually technically by my own definition, it’s not a date night because we have friends attending with us that are visiting from out of town, but I told you what the new place is. Now you’re second guessing it ’cause you’re not sure. Guys, if you’re listening and you’re wanting the experience here, tell your wife about the date night. Make sure she has a general vibe of the attire and the formality of it, but a surprise is always going to be best case scenario for new stuff.
Mika Perry: Yeah, I think really take into consideration your partner. What are their needs? What’s important to them? What makes them feel a little bit more comfortable? What gets them excited? What makes them uncomfortable? What do they not like? If you’re the husband, the man, I think it’s important to take the woman out on a date, and so taking those initiatives, I think, really is attractive.
Russ Perry: Guys, also, again, this isn’t brain surgery. This is step one, if you have kids, find a babysitter. We for a while used a friend’s daughter. She couldn’t even drive, so she’d have to get dropped off. She was in high school. We’ve had my family. We’ve had your family. There’s tons of opportunities. We’ve used a website, care.com, which was a good support for a while. They do background checks on people. Situating the babysitter and the care and the time is not just for the kids, it’s also for the wife because like Mika mentioned, she needs space to create the gap from going from full mom mode to wife date mode, which is not an immediate transition, just like you can’t go from a workout right into a business meeting.
You got to clean up and shower and change your clothes. It’s just going to be a rough transition if you try to cram those two things together. The babysitter is key. Another hack or tip that I’ve used with babysitters is A) booking them eight to 12 weeks in advance like in a row. If you want to do a weekly date night, you literally sit down with your resource, whoever it is, and you book out all the date nights in a row and pay for them, pay for the babysitter in a row. That has been a huge thing for me. I pay, we pay in advance for our babysitting.
Mika Perry: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Russ Perry: Yeah.
Mika Perry: Which is a commitment, like that locks you down.
Russ Perry: Correct, ’cause there will be times in which you’re tired, bad day, this happened, you’re not feeling good, and you can rationalize not wanting to go on the date nights, and you just have to be committed to it. Having that money already spent, you’ve at times even been like, “Oh, well, the tickets, we’ve already paid for it, okay, let’s go. Let’s make it happen.” Back to this not being complicated, it probably takes me 20 to 30 minutes throughout an entire week to coordinate some new thing or experience. That could be a new restaurant. That could be us actually attending an event. We’ve gone to a Broadway show here in Tempe or off-Broadway.
That was a really cool experience. The amount of cerebral energy that it takes to get out there and do a little searching is so low compared to the value I know it adds to you. We do this often when we’ve traveled, but I just realized like I do so much research when we travel, but we don’t do a lot of research here locally. There’s so much to discover wherever you’re at locally as well.
Mika Perry: I think going out and discovering something new is just like how we bond when we travel, you experience something new together. While I love our regular restaurants that we go to on date night because it’s comfortable, and especially like on a weekday when you’re tired, a nice comfort food meal or a place that you just love going to together is just nice, but then at the same time, mixing in a couple of times where you experience something completely new together is exciting. Maybe we should do more of those.
Russ Perry: Often, we’re just really hungry.
Mika Perry: Yeah, that’s true, that’s true.
Russ Perry: We just need to get some food in our systems. I’ve told a lot of guys this inside of Warrior ’cause inside of Warrior, there’s like 90-day challenges, and a lot of guys aren’t doing date nights. They’re like, “Okay, I got to do a weekly date night. How the heck am I going to think of those ideas?” What I always recommend is find the best of guide locally whether that’s a magazine or a newspaper or even just an online site that does an annual best of rankings. That is literally years worth of date night ideas, the best donut, the best art store, the best hike, the best whatever.
There’s such obscure categories, you could have a creative, original date night every week for years and years and years just from one publication because there’s a hundred-plus things in there that are new and exciting. That’s something I’ve used. I haven’t used it as much recently. I’ve felt like we’ve been doing a lot of other things to where date nights, we were just trying to keep it a little easier. If you are new to the date night game, you don’t have to just sit at a blank screen and a computer trying to be like, “What do I do?” Someone’s actually done the research for you. Yelp, go on Yelp. When do you use Yelp locally?
No one ever uses Yelp locally, but you use it when you travel so get on Yelp or TripAdvisor or these sites that are geared towards tourists and be a tourist in your own city, trying to find the recommendations and the things that work really well. Another thing I remember for us was the local hotels and the resorts. Arizona’s a big spot for those. We don’t ever stay there ’cause we live here, but they always have great restaurants that you never think to go to. You don’t think to go to a hotel to go to dinner locally. I remember there was like a Brazilian or Argentinian was that nearby that we’re like, “Wow.” We ended up being the only people there. It was like a private experience.
Mika Perry: I think it was just ’cause it was so early.
Russ Perry: Yeah.
Mika Perry: It was like five.
Russ Perry: True. That’s actually another tip too. Just go like 5:30 and it’s never need a reservation. You’re in and out in 56 minutes. What are other things as far from the mom-wife perspective that has helped with date nights?
Mika Perry: I’ve really enjoyed like a Monday date night. I love getting ready for the week over the weekend and then Monday, really just hit the ground running. I’m at my best on Mondays, and so I love it when you catch me on those days. We enjoy time together then because sometimes by like Thursday or Friday or like a weekend, there’s so many activities that have happened or we’re putting date night right in the middle of all that. Frankly, I’m just tired. I think as a parent of young kids especially, you really have to factor in when are you mentally and physically at your best so that you can be that best person on that date night for your spouse ’cause I feel so badly when I’m just like so tired and when we’re trying to talk. When we get back, I’m just like, “ugh.”
Russ Perry: You’re totally ruining the date, yeah.
Mika Perry: Ruining it.
Russ Perry: I accept your apology. Different days of the week, taking a midday, go to lunch, go to an activity. We’ve even done a spa day during the day during the week, which is like feel super luxurious ’cause you’re like, “It’s Tuesday, and I’m taking three hours to go get a massage or do something.” Frankly, if you’re operating on a tighter budget, doing those things during the day or going out to eat or all that, there are always going to be deals and opportunities. You can find Groupons, things like that, that you can get because it’s a low volume. It’s not like the weekend where people are usually busier.
Mika Perry: Right. I have also really enjoyed the times that we’ve gone to a yoga class together or have participated in each other’s goals. It’s not an errand like shopping, but it’s like yoga. I want to do more yoga this year, so we go and do it together or doing something together to further our own personal goals but inviting the other person to take part in it.
Russ Perry: Thinking about doing something together, for example, a movie might come up, but a movie, you’re not really engaging. You’re not challenging yourself. It could be a great story, a good experience, especially if it’s a movie you really want to see. Physical activity, regardless of your physical goals or where you’re at, you come out feeling bonded. It’s sort of this level of adversity that you both conquer together. I remember a really great date night is you actually booked a personal training session for the two of us. We did a workout that was really brutal and hard, but you feel really positive. You’re on top of the world, and you have that high, that runner’s high, if you will, together, which is just fantastic.
Mika Perry: The endorphins.
Russ Perry: The endorphins, correct. This is going to be a shorter episode for sure, and I think the point for date night is making sure that you’re staying connected. The theme and the tagline of this podcast is balancing business and life, and I know from you and I feel really connected to you, I’m able to be more focused at work. I’m able to be more focused when I have a late work night like tonight, and we’re spending a lot of time together. I even view this podcast as like a weird roundabout date where we’re spending time, we’re talking to each other, but that ultimately is the number one reason for date nights.
It’s keeping that connection active, rediscovering on a weekly basis who your significant other is becoming because we change. You’re facing challenges. I’m facing challenges, and it’s not like we have these in-depth hours and hour-long conversions when we go out. I remember when we were dating, when you’re dating someone, you can talk for two hours on the phone. It’s like, “What the hell did I tell you now? I don’t even know.” Even if it’s 10 or 15 minutes of that reconnection and then you’re talking about whatever, it’s ensuring you’re recalibrating on a weekly basis.
That’s what I value the most when we go out is I get to rediscover who you are at that point in time, and I’m not making assumptions at all with my perceptions of who you are or what’s challenging you or what’s on your mind. I can tap into that right then and there.
Mika Perry: It provides a weekly check-in for us, like on a really busy week when you’re working a lot. At least, I know that we can count on that one date night during the week to just check in with each other and see where we’re at with our business, with our life, how we’re feeling, how our kids are doing. We’ve even done some date nights where we just decide to do a check-in of all of our kids. This is something we learned from a couple, an older couple that were life coaches.
Russ Perry: That had a million children that were like, “Use date nights as like a boardroom meeting for your family.”
Mika Perry: While we don’t do that every date night, the ones that have been memorable for me are ones where we sit down and we say, “Okay, let’s talk about Reese. Let’s check in on who she is becoming. Where is Maddie at right now?” Because sometimes, the things about the kids happen in passing after work or at night or in the morning real quick, like “Hey, we’re doing this or that.” To really sit down and say, “Hey, let’s have some dedicated time to chat about one of our individual children and what are our goals for them?”
Russ Perry: There you have it, everyone. This is a shorter episode. This about date nights. If you’re not doing date nights, start doing it. Do it weekly, that’s our target, trying to do it weekly. Now there’s some weeks we’re traveling or there’s a gap in there, but that weekly date night, it is literally the space and creating time and space to invest back into your relationships with each other as well as expanding the conversations and the time to be focused on your family or your kids, whatever it might be. Any other final thoughts on date nights?
Mika Perry: Do it. Go on date night. No, date night for us has been a game changer in our marriage. Russ is the one that spearheaded date night. I’m so appreciative and thankful. I think a lot of it has to do with the work that he’s done within Warrior, but it has been magical in transforming our relationship and our closeness is knowing that we are important enough to each other that we dedicate this time to go and enjoy date night and feel a little bit young and excited again because even if you start off tired, and that does happen, at the end of the night, we’re just so excited and thankful that we had that time together. We definitely, definitely come out of it feeling connected, deeper in our relationship, and more in love with each other.
Russ Perry: Well said. Thanks for listening, everyone. Talk to you next time.
Mika Perry: Bye.
Russ Perry: Thanks for listening to this episode of Good To Be Home.
Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.
Russ Perry: See you next time.