Marriage and Family Review
This qualitative study examines the experience of 13 couples who attended a relationship education date night in two metropolitan areas in a western state. The intent of these date nights was to reach audiences that may not attend traditional classroom relationship education. Reasons for, benefits of attending, and impacts were explored with participants. Findings indicate that the majority of participants had fun and enjoyed spending time together, learned qualities and skills of healthy relationships, and had positive learning experiences with other couples. Additionally, while most individuals’ reason for attending was to have fun, the majority experienced a positive impact on their relationships after the event, such as improved communication, increase in affection and gratitude, or spending more time together. This finding may indicate that regardless of the reasons for attending, it is possible to create an environment for learning relationship skills that can, and most likely will, extend beyond the night of the event and could potentially lead to long-term positive impacts in relationships. Based on findings and existing research, activity-based relationship education, such as date nights, needs to be taken seriously as a model for couple education and considered as part of a well-rounded approach to relationship education.
Naomi Brower, Linda Skogrand & Kay Bradford (2016) Measuring the Effectiveness of Experiential Date Nights: A Qualitative Study, Marriage & Family Review, 52:6, 563-578, DOI: 10.1080/01494929.2016.1157118