1. When setting aside an evening for a date night, it is always best to check the Radio Times beforehand because neither of you will be able to devote your full concentration if one of you is keeping an eye on the football score or you want to know what's happening in EastEnders.
2. The best evening is mid-week when you're both not yet so exhausted you want to fall asleep on the sofa. Sundays are out because you'll be rushing around trying to get the kids to finish their homework and ironing their uniform. Mondays are all about recovering from the first day back at work and school. And Fridays and Saturdays are designated drinking nights so you'll be far too busy looking for the bottom of the wine bottle to focus on each other. That leaves Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so take your pick depending on what's on the television.
3. If you're staying in, ban mobiles and laptops. Tweets or Facebook updates, such as 'oh God, it's date night' or 'this is the worst date night ever', are not conducive to a happy marriage.
4. If you're going out, put a personalised ring on your mobile for calls from home. That way you'll know not to pick up if the babysitter calls.
5. The point of date night is to spend uninterrupted quality time with your other half, so choose a location where your kids can't reach you. Such as a nuclear bunker.
6. Attire is all-important. Just because you've put eye-liner on will not cancel out the fact you are in your stained pyjamas.
7. Do not aim too high. Dreams of candle-lit dinners and cuddles in the cinema are all very well but the reality will probably be a takeaway in front of the telly or snoring in front of a film.
8. If staying in, do not tell the kids it is date night or they will try their best to interrupt. The same goes for the in laws.
9. Be careful when choosing topics of conversation. Do not discuss anything which is likely to upset your other half, such as the fact they never do anything round the house or the garden.
Don't bring up money, politics or work. The safest bet to ensure you have a wonderful evening is to sit in absolute silence.
10. Try to vary where you go and what you do. Take it in turns to choose. If you forget it's your turn to book a table somewhere, never admit it. Simply pretend you've planned a surprise. Then panic.
11. If your date nights are in a bit of a rut, try something new.
Like bowling, bingo or listening to one another.
12. If you're on a budget, why not cook together at home? That way, you can pretend your tears over the pathetic state of your marriage can be blamed on onion-chopping.
13. Beware starting off with a pre-dinner drink at an alternative venue because you will end up getting completely ratted and buying chips on the way home.
14. Men: do not assume date nights will lead to sex. Women: do not assume date nights will lead to the dishwasher being emptied.
15. If at all possible, avoid date nights altogether. The Camerons swear by them – but you and your other half are more likely to end up swearing at each other. The modern myth that a marriage should be kept alive and fresh is responsible for heaping pressure on two exhausted people, who really have enough on their plates already, thank you very much.
In short, if it ain't broke, don't do date nights.
Too cynical or true, especially when you have young children? Tell us your thoughts.
More on Parentdish: Your first night out after having a baby
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