Guest blogger Elizabeth Kuster: Should you spend your precious leisure time with another couple, or is it better to go out on the town à deux? A relationship expert examines the positives and negatives of making it a foursome.
Dr. Jane Greer, a marriage and family therapist in New York City and host of the radio show Doctor On Call, gives the pros and cons of spending oh-so-precious "date nights" with another couple. Is it the best use of that babysitter expenditure? You be the judge.
• The "fun burden" isn't all on you. "When you're out socializing with another couple, you don't have to work so hard to keep the conversation going," Greer notes. "You're not as responsible for the mood, either."
• It keeps things light. "If other people are around, you and your partner will be less liable to bring up serious issues that might sour the evening," Greer says.
• It turns "him" and "me" into "we." "In other words, you become a unit," Greer says. "That can really reinforce your marital bond, especially if you share stories about happy times."
• It's stimulating. "A husband and wife often get into the rut of having the same conversations over and over, about kids, in-laws, whatever," Greer says. "Socializing with another couple changes that tune and gets you talking about topics that aren't run of the mill for you."
• It encourages you to make an effort with your appearance. "When it's just the two of you, you might let your looks slide and just wear something comfortable," Greer observes. "But if you're meeting another couple, you'll put extra effort into looking good, and that can spice up your marriage."
• You could miss an opportunity to carve out some much-needed private time. "If you always go out with another couple, you might get lost in the foursome," Greer notes. "In other words, you could get so caught up in social interaction that you lose sight of the 'we.' If that happens, your intimacy may suffer. It's all about finding a balance. While it's great to go out with another couple occasionally, 'double dating' shouldn't be your standard night out. It should be an accent, not your steady diet. You need quality time to yourselves!"
• You could get stuck in a different kind of rut. "If you 'double date' with the same couple again and again, you'll wind up falling into a [boring] routine with them as well," Greer says. "The whole idea is to shake things up and create something new and refreshing. So mix it up and go out with different couples!"