Megan Gale and Shaun Hampson are doing something that all long-term couples should.

Image: Instagram.

It’s arguably the best part of a fledgling relationship, yet making making time to go on dates can so easily fall by the wayside once you’ve been together for a while, or once kids are on the scene.

Just ask Aussie model Megan Gale and partner, AFL player Shaun Hampson. Their secret to keeping their relationship steady? Making time for dates.

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“We do it quite often,” the 39-year-old actress told TV Week. “We find a balance of having time as a family, but also taking time out as a couple. I think it’s really important.”

The pair have a son, River, who was born last May and have been together since 2011.

“We’re just like any other parents. We’re lucky that we have each other,” Megan told Ninemsn.

“There are a lot of single parents out there that don’t have love and support… I think we face things like everyone else, it’s just the lifestyle adjustment and trying to figure out what works. Baby time, house time, sleep, it’s just trying to balance and juggle and I think we’ve managed to do that.” (Post continues after gallery.)

The “date night” gets a bit of a bad name. Yes, it sounds a bit cheesy – devoting a certain time frame to “reconnecting”, but according to family therapist Dr Karen Phillip, Megan and Shaun are onto something.

“Date nights are vital, absolutely vital,” she says.

“When we become parents, we become “Mum” and “Dad” and it can be easy to lose our identity a bit beyond that. It’s important to make the time to reconnect as just man and women.”

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“After having children, you can find you become very different people, but you need to keep informed with your partner’s goals and hopes, and how they think and feel,” she explains. “A ‘date night’ is a great opportunity to do that.”

Relationship therapist Isiah McKimmie agrees.

“Date nights are so important in keeping a long term relationship energised and happy,” she says.

Date nights can help keep a long term relationship reenergised. Image via Instagram

"Without date nights, we can fall into a bit of a relationship rut and end up feeling more like housemates than lovers, as we get bogged down in the day-to-day chores and can stop feeling special to each other."

Date night doesn't have to translate to expensive dinners and fancy hotel stays every other weekends.


"It doesn't have to be a formal dinner, you can sit on the beach and eat fish and chips, it could be the two of you sitting down to dinner once the kids are in bed, with a candle on the table to make it a little special, and no television or phones or distractions," says Dr Phillip.

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"It's just about spending time - just the two of you. However going out of the house is also good as it encourages you to make an effort to look good, which in turn makes you feel good." (Post continues after gallery.)

"Doing something a little out of the ordinary helps you continue to appreciate each other and adds some excitement and passion to the relationship," explains McKimmie.

"It gives you both a chance to have fun, laugh together and remember why you love each other so much."

While date nights are key to the success of any relationship, they're particularly important for new parents.

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"It's important for new parents to nurture their relationship even with a child", McKimmie says.

"New fathers can often feel like they’re missing out on time and attention which can put a strain on their relationship., while new mothers can also feel like they’re losing themselves.  Date night is a way of telling each other that you’re still important to each other and reminding you that your relationship is the glue that holds your family together."

"They also help you feel emotionally close which is really important to keeping your connection in the bedroom alive," she says.

Gale's partner is Richmond footballer Shaun Hampson. Image via Instagram.

"People often tell me they don't have enough time for a regular date night, but the truth is, you need to make time. Your relationship is so precious, it's important to nurture it and make it a priority," she says.

"Once kids are older and have left home, couples often find those tendencies come back naturally, as they travel together and spend quality time together," Dr Phillip explains.

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"But it's those twenty years or so while children are still at home where many relationships can fall down, as we can lose touch with our partners," she says.

 What do you do for date night with your partner?