As a couples counselor serving families in Houston, I believe strongly in the healing powers of a great date. Regularly scheduling time to have a good day with your partner can deepen your connection: By prioritizing shared positive experiences, you show each other just how much you value your relationship. Dates provide prime time and space to talk about life's stresses, have fun together, and get to know each other better. While regularly dating your partner will not solve all of your problems and can not substitute for the deep and intimate work required to solve conflict, it creates a foundation of positive experience and good feeling from which to build upon throughout your lives together.
Throughout this Great Houston Dates blog series, I'll be doing the leg work for you by providing a suggested itinerary for a neighborhood-specific date with your partner or spouse. If you want to follow along or read other entries in this series, click on the Great Houston Dates tag at the end of this entry. I don't have financial ties or partnerships with any of the restaurants or businesses I mention in this series; I'm just a local couples counselor passionate about helping fellow Houstonians have great relationships.
Known for its beautiful homes, well-manicured lawns, and thriving restaurant scene, River Oaks is a classic Houston neighborhood with so many date-worthy places to check out with your significant other.
Start your date at Bebida's at Westheimer & Edloe. Here, you can start off with a healthy smoothie, a well-made latte, or a more indulgent snowcone. This fun & funky spot has a large patio underneath the cover of large oak trees so you can get your date started off right. Find a spot in the shade with your S.O. and start to really focus in on connecting. Check in on how each of you are doing with a Stress Reducing Conversation so you can really destress and tune into what's going on in each other's lives.
After coffee and conversation, take in an afternoon movie at the historic River Oaks Theatre. Their focus is primarily on thought-provoking independent films and documentaries, so you'll have plenty to talk about over dinner! If classic movies are more your speed, check out their midnight showings on Friday and Saturday night--you may even catch an interactive showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show with your sweetie.
Although not known for being particularly budget-friendly, River Oaks is a foodie paradise with so many top-rated restaurants for you to try. For a truly iconic Houston meal, make a reservation for dinner at local favorite State of Grace on Westheimer. Start off with some raw oysters from their phenomenal selection and don't be afraid to step a bit out of your comfort zone. In particular, ask for a Felix enchilada if you want to be reminded of one of Houston's famous restaurants from the past. Don't forget to get a whoopie pie on your way out the door!
After dinner, head over to Marfreless, a somewhat secret bar great for couples and romantic conversation. Enter through the unmarked blue door underneath the outdoor staircase at 2006 Peden and finish out your night in deep conversation over a drink or two.
Keep dating! Dating is such a wonderful investment in your relationship and provides such great moments of fun and connection. Check back here in the weeks to come for more date ideas around additional Houston neighborhoods.