I had to share this article, so appropriately timed to Valentine's Day last week. It's called "Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples." Since it's the NY Times Health section, there is science involved—they split couples into several groups to compare ones with normal date routines of dinner-and-a-movie to ones who did something new each time, i.e. dancing and hiking. The results: the ones who did something different were happier and released positive endorphins, like the kind you release when you first start dating someone.
My inital reaction: who agreed to this experiment?
I liken my husband's reaction to a planning a date to my parents' reaction when as a young only-child I asked them for a family game night: "Do we have to?"
Don't get me wrong—they are loving. Their reactions are to creating structure around spontaneity. It's just less fun.
This article is absolutely correct that people enjoy their relationships more, and frankly their lives, when there is variety. But there must be a way to do this without creating more tedium-like forced planning. The solution seems to be spur-of-the-moment creativity. Or maybe one big brainstorm to create a list of activities a couple can pull from when a free night pops up.
Though even that has the hint of making Date Night feel like work.