2. No movies and no other entertainment that requires you to face in the same direction. You'll need to face each other. You are the entertainment. (There is an exception to this rule. If you have enough time, you can watch a movie and then spend a couple of hours talking over dinner. In any event, the point is that you need at least a couple of hours to really be together.)
3. Don't invite anyone else, and don't attend anything social. Date night is for you and your spouse only.
4. Schedule at least a couple of hours for date night. Don't tell your oldest child or the babysitter that you'll be back in an hour. Date night should be an evening.
Here's a suggestion for parents of small children. Like a physical fitness program, sometimes the hardest part of a Marriage Fitness program is mustering consistent inspiration. In other words, you may initiate date night this week, but what about next week and the week after? Can you do it consistently? Why test yourself? Here's an easy solution my wife and I discovered.
Rather than relying on your initiative each week, find a babysitter to commit to work the same hours every week. Our babysitter arrives at 7pm every Wednesday night. We told her not to call to confirm '- just come. Now we're set every week with date night. We don't have to find the inspiration to plan it '- it's done! The burden is on us to cancel, not to plan.
Date night can help transform your marriage, but you have to tune into the spirit of the exercise. Two people can go on a date and not connect. If you go to the mall and read a magazine while your spouse tries on clothes '- that's not a date. If you go to dinner and spend the evening talking to the waiter about how you want your meal prepared '- it's not going to have much impact on your marriage. But if you help your spouse pick out an outfit and have fun offering your opinion, you will connect. If you talk over dinner about how you might prepare the dish at home, you will achieve the purpose of date night.