While a date night out might be hard to come by for married couples with kids in tow, ask any husband and wife, and they would probably jump on the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted couple time and would have a variety of ideas about what makes a great date.
Nevertheless, research shows that making time for regular dates helps couples to nurture a strong marital relationship with each other.
A study by the Marriage Foundation in the UK found that married couples who go on monthly date nights are 14 per cent less likely to break up. Research from the Institute for Family Studies also suggests that this could be due to the intentional nature of a "date night", which signals to the couple the importance of their relationship.
In other words, date night isn’t merely to check out the latest café that opened down the road; it has a clear meaning and purpose of allowing the couple to reconnect.
In a bid to encourage couples to make dating a priority, Focus on the Family Singapore hosted its very first signature event for married couples – Best Date Ever – on 20 August 2022 as part of its 20th Anniversary celebration, for married couples to go on their best date with their forever date!
The Best Date Ever experience saw over 110 pairs enjoying either a curated Dine-In experience or a leisurely Takeaway Tea experience over this weekend.
The Dine-In experience took place on the evening of Saturday, 20 August at the Pan Pacific Singapore, while the Takeaway Tea experience gave couples the option to enjoy their high tea sets on either Saturday or Sunday of the same weekend.
Through a thoughtfully developed programme, married couples were given the opportunity to bond over fun and meaningful couple activities and deepen connections over intimate heart-to-heart conversations.
Such a unique intimate experience for each couple was facilitated by a specially designed resource – the Best Date Ever Kit – which included items such as the Next Best Date Planner and a deck of 100 Couple Conversations cards.
Resource: The Best Date Ever Kit
A highlight of the experience included a special moment where married couples expressed affection and appreciation for each other through a handwritten love letter, while husbands also presented a bouquet of flowers to their wife at the end of the evening.
One of the married couples who attended the Best Date Ever Dine-In experience were Darren and Melanie Heng, who have been married for 12 years and have 2 children aged under 10.
The couple shared that stealing time away for themselves has enabled them to cope with their parenting duties.
“Our focus naturally shifts towards the children, especially since they are very dependent on us when they are young. We often desire to make up for the time we are away from the kids so dating naturally takes the back seat,” said Mrs Heng.
While Darren acknowledged they do not date regularly enough, it is always good when they do.
He shared: "For Melanie and me, sneaking out in the evenings for grocery runs or night swims together or getting a nice cup of coffee in the day work well for us. We met as students overseas and grocery runs or studying at cafes were our foundations. Swims are a great way to catch up with no distractions."
Mr and Mrs Darren Heng
Melanie added, "I remember we went out for a really quick dinner to celebrate achieving my breastfeeding goal. We were the first ones to arrive at the restaurant and the first to leave. We have learnt to be intentional and celebrate every milestone, even if they seem small!"
CEO of Focus on the Family Singapore Joanna Koh-Hoe said, "We hope that couples who participated in the Best Date Ever experience this weekend will be reminded of all the reasons why they chose each other in the beginning, and that they will be inspired to continue pursuing and re-discovering each other throughout their marriage journey."
She added, "With fewer Singaporeans getting married and more marrying later, increase in divorce rate, and mounting challenges to the definition of marriage - prioritising time with our spouse has an impact beyond our own marriage to model for our next generation healthy relationships and true love."
Hosts Gary and Joanna Koh
Mrs Koh-Hoe and her husband, Gary, hosted the Best Date Ever Dine-In experience and are also long-time marriage mentors and solemnisers conducting Focus Singapore’s marriage preparation programmes.
Recently, they also shared their journey of marriage and quick tips to nurture marital intimacy on a newly launched podcast for married couples – Connect2 – that has seen over 1,000 downloads since its launch in July.
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© 2022 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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