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Is a “date night” a good idea?

We talked with historian Stephanie Coontz a few days ago, and she told us something surprising. She studies the history of marriage and she’s read a lot of research about relationships. She said she wished the public knew that most of the manuals out there that promise to improve your marriage are not peer-reviewed. They’re not even fact-checked.

“I had my students look at a bunch of them, and it was stunning how many of them made claims that were contrary to the best research,” she said.

Like what?

“One that always makes me laugh a little is the date night,” she said. Lots of advice gurus recommend setting aside an evening when you and your sweetie go out, just the two of you, and rekindle your romance.

Coontz said research would tell you to do something else:

“Two things would be better than date night — but not on the same night One is, send the children out on a date night and you stay home and have sex. And the other is that when you do go out, make it a double date night. There’s a lot more happiness and renewal associated with spending time with other people.”

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