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Date Nights Can Reduce the Risk of Divorce

Couples who go on occasional date nights have a reduced risk of their relationship breaking down, according to new research by Marriage Foundation.

However, the pro-marriage think-tank found that the beneficial effects of date nights are only felt by married couples, not those who cohabit.

Researchers analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study data relating to 9,969 couples with nine-month-old children, 30% of whom went on date nights once a month. This group had 14% lower odds of splitting up than couples who rarely or never spent an evening together without their children.

Interestingly, the research showed that when date nights became a weekly event they lost their benefit. Eleven per cent of couples who had date nights once a week or more often were no more likely to stay together than those who never made time for date nights at all, suggesting a degree of spontaneity is a key ingredient in a successful date night.

“Couples are understandably keen to find the magic recipe for a long-lasting relationship,” commented Harry Benson, research director of Marriage Foundation. “Date nights seem an obvious answer in an age where we are busier than ever and couples struggle to spend quality time together away from the constraints of family and home.”

“However, date nights come below a number of factors affecting the longevity of a relationship, which include education and age,” he said. “The single most successful way of staying together remains getting married. The odds of married parents splitting up are 57% lower than for cohabiting parents.”

“An occasional date night seems to be a useful tool in the box for married couples to show each other that their relationship remains a top priority,” he added. “But it must not be used as an opportunity for one partner to vent their grievances; our research shows sensitivity and an awareness of the needs of the other is highly important to relationship success.”

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