by Rana Asfour
Let’s face it. We’ve all – yes all – experienced at some point a rut in our relationship with our partners. Be it a newly established couple or those of us who have been in longer relationships, it is very easy for one or both partners to take the other for granted. As everyday life - from board meetings to kids’ after school activities - interferes with romance, some of us barely have time for a quick peck at the door never mind time for an entire full-blown date night.
Psychologist –and romantic - Sophia Ledingham offers ‘a booster shot for relationships’ in her 2014 book entitled ‘The Date Night Manifesto’ which suggests following principles or intentions aimed at encouraging couples to be ‘mindful of their relationship’s vulnerability, respect their time together and to actively pursue real opportunities for romance’.
Here are 5 reasons BookFabulous thinks you should give ‘The Date Night Manifesto’ a go!
1. Promises to ‘reset the romantic barometer’
‘The Date Night Manifesto’ defines the concept of Date Night as ‘a romantic evening for two people who are in an established relationship… Not just any old ‘let’s pop down to Pizza Hut’ evening. Not even a ‘Let’s order pizza in and snuggle in front of the TV’ evening. A Date Night is a proper date with your partner.
It means taking the time out to choose a venue, dressing up, arriving on time and paying close attention to what your partner is saying. These on-date Principles are also ‘focused on talking: from what to say and how best to say it, to what you should avoid doing during your Date,’ writes Ledingham.
If this all sounds a bit too contrived, it’s probably because it’s precisely that. The author makes the point that ‘it is the contrived nature of Date Night that aims to make it romantic’.
So, why go through the trouble? Well, for the all-important reason that ‘Finding time for a regular Date Night represents a meaningful investment in your relationship and your long term prosperity as partners’. Who can argue with that?
2. Common Sense Principles, Himself & The Love Lab!
The manifesto includes 16 guiding principles or intentions that are not to be taken as rules. This means that the success of a Date Night doesn’t have to mean following all the principles on offer but that couples should work with those that work best for them.
The principles are divided into three parts: Date Night Prep, Date Night Decorum and Date Night Vitamins. Of course, some will seem more uncomfortable to follow than others, but according to the author, ‘whether you make an elaborate gesture of sharing the Date Night Manifesto, or simply discuss it over coffee at the kitchen table, you’ll need to agree which of the 16 Principles to focus on first’.
Each principle comes with its own chapter and very funny anecdotes based either on the author’s experience or those of people she knows. Ledingham writes: ‘Each principle stems from one or more actual Date experiences. You will see as you read through the Manifesto that I have learnt most from those that flopped, failing to yield any romance. Now you can learn and benefit, like Himself and I have, from my mistakes’.
A quick word of warning: reading about ‘Himself’ may elicit a feeling of envy and wishing you had a ‘Himself’ at home. Just saying ;)
Oh! and certain parts of the book rely on research conducted by the Love Lab – a real place!
3. Extra Help with Date Night Accessories
According to Ledingham couples have become experts at burying their alluring self under the excuses of routine to-do-lists, no babysitters and the kitchen apron, among others, that has made it even more imperative for couples to set a time for the all-important ‘Date Night’.
Dates, according to the author are about making both parties feel special and that is why it is important to choose wisely the activities that will enhance bonding and intimacy with your partner. To set you on your way, the ‘The Date Night Manifesto’ comes with Date Night Accessories that will help guarantee a successful Date Night which includes a chapter on Date Idea-Sparkers (complete with pros & cons) as well as a scoring sheet that will help you identify those factors that make your date sizzle or fizzle. If your partner is holding you back, there’s even a chapter to ‘convert a Date Night-shy spouse into a keen escort’.
Whether you’ve booked to holiday at a beach resort or to take in the sights of a city or two, this is one read you’ll enjoy for those quiet hours when you want to be alone with a book.
‘The Date Night Manifesto’, is a non-fiction, self-help book which is undeniably useful and at the same time quite entertaining (‘Sex & The City’ comes to mind). It is interspersed with anecdotes of the author’s time with ‘Himself’ – the love of her life for the past 16 years – that will have you in fits of laughter and make you feel that not only is there hope for all of us, but it clearly shows readers that the author really understands the problems her readers might be going through when it comes to relationship stagnation. The writing is easy to get through ensuring that you won’t get bored or feel that you can’t possibly handle the material.
5. A wealth of sound advice even if you don’t agree with it all!
‘The Date Night Manifesto’ focuses on promoting positivity and avoiding Negativity No-Nos that can be downright turn offs in any relationship. The Manifesto urges couples to spend the date ‘hanging on each other’s every word’, making it a point to approach the time together with a positive mental attitude and to use humour to diffuse any Date disasters. Layman’s terms: be nice!
‘If you have a bad habit of directing negative comments towards the person you’re supposed to love,’ writes Ledingham, ‘it could only be a matter of time before it erodes the strength and health of your relationship’. You have been warned!