As if you need any more convincing that going on dates with your husband is a good idea, researchers have found that date nights can lower the odds of relationships breaking down.

The findings come from the Marriage Foundation in the UK after analysing data from a survey of 9,969 couples with nine-month-old children.

They found that 30 per cent had a date night once a month. This group had a 14 per cent lower chance of splitting up than the couples who rarely or never spent evenings together without their kids.

However when the date nights happened weekly, the benefit was lost. Some 11 per cent of couples who had a date night once a week or more often were no more likely to stay together than those who didn’t make time for date nights at all.

The researchers suggest that a degree of spontaneity may be a key ingredient for a successful date night.

Director of the Marriage Foundation, Harry Benson, said couples are understandably keen to find a magic recipe for a long-lasting relationship.

“Date nights seem an obvious answer in an age where we are busier than ever and couples struggle to spend quality time together away from the constraints of family and home,” he said.

:However, date nights come below a number of factors affecting the longevity of a relationship, which include education and age. The single most successful way of staying together remains getting married. The odds of married parents splitting up are 57 per cent lower than for cohabiting parents.

“A marriage is a contract, a public commitment to make a relationship work for the long term. We are geared to make more effort and to compromise more readily to make such an arrangement work.

“An occasional date night seems to be a useful tool in the box for married couples to show each other that their relationship remains a top priority. But it must not be used as an opportunity for one partner to vent their grievances; our research shows sensitivity and an awareness of the needs of the other is highly important to relationship success,” he said.

High profile fans of the married date night include Barack and Michelle Obama and former UK Prime Minsiter David Cameron.