On a gray February afternoon, I smiled as I watched the snow flurries bombard the car’s windshield. I glanced to my left, where my date brought me back from our first date.
“Did you have a good time? ” he asked me. When I said yes, he said, “Me too. Would you like to do something like this again someday?
For me, there was no doubt about the answer. After all, it had been the best date I had ever had, and not just because I really liked the guy. Unlike many other dates I had known, this one had structure. Like a storybook, there was an arc – a beginning, a middle and an end – and he had planned every part. He came to pick me up at a fixed time. We had brunch, followed by a visit to a nearby museum, where he knew he would arrive in time for the next guided tour. Obviously, he had thought a lot about planning this date. Who wouldn’t be impressed by that?
What makes some dates better than others
Over the years, I had had a few enjoyable first dates: an invitation to a formal event, a coffee chat, an ice cream party. But too often, I had also known nebulous dates to “go out”. It involved meeting, maybe walking around and chatting, but ultimately wondering what to do. Usually these “dates” ended up being a passive and largely silent activity, like watching a movie.
At the time, it seemed like the problem was with me. Shouldn’t I have more to say? If we loved each other, shouldn’t our conversation just flow? It wasn’t until I started dating someone who routinely planned our dates that I realized the problem wasn’t with me but with those other dates.
As human beings, we bond through shared experiences. Sometimes these experiences come our way unexpectedly, but in ordinary life they usually require a plan. So over there strength being people who recognize their soul mate just by “hanging out” with them, I recognized mine because his actions – making an effort to create quality time with me –show me that he cared about me more than anyone else I was dating.
The value of a well-planned date
In my experience, the scheduled date keeps its charm, no matter how long a relationship is. Why? A plan always demonstrates effort and affection.
Participating in an activity that you took the time to organize sends the following message: “I care about you. I wanted to think about giving you something that you would like, that we could enjoy together.
A plan also creates a natural setting for conversation. To this day, that first museum date (which turned out to be with my future husband) remains one of my favorites due to the conversation it sparked about history and culture. On another date, we went dancing, which fueled our discussion of newly learned steps and our favorite musical movies.
A common misconception about date scheduling is that it requires spending money. Having a pleasant and structured date doesn’t require breaking the bank, just a little forethought. A homemade picnic on a scenic vantage point is a pleasant and inexpensive experience. Most cities have public parks, libraries, or cultural centers that you can visit for free, and you can search for all kinds of free or inexpensive events online. Same Planning sitting on a bench and chatting over coffee is always a plan!
Even today, my man and I are still scheduling our dates. Sometimes I choose the activity; sometimes he does; and sometimes we both plan an experience together. It can be simple, or it can be worked out for a special occasion. Although the plans vary, we maintain a set time and place constants to give us something to look forward to. It’s quality time that is allotted to us, and it gives our relationship the time and space to grow.
That’s not to say that every minute of quality time in a relationship requires a plan. Sometimes unstructured time is good, especially once you know yourself well enough to talk about anything anywhere. But overall, I’ve found that a regular date structured around an activity that we both love makes it a bigger, more enjoyable, and memorable event, and worth being. say again.