Research suggests that married couples should go on a date at least every two weeks. The LDS church admonishes that couples should go on a date every week.
You don’t have to tell me how hard this is. I know. Impossible it seems. As married couples we start to trick ourselves. We think that just because we live together and sleep together every night that we don’t need to go on dates. It is because we live and sleep together that we do need to go on dates. We might have lots of time together with our spouses, but it is not special time.
Dates involve getting away from the routine and doing something together for the purpose of feeling–not just living–close.
There are three main ingredients to consider for a great date.
Going out with other couples is fun, but we need time as a two-some. Otherwise we forget how to talk with one another and being alone can become awkward and embarrassing. Funny, when we were dating, sitting across from each other in a restaurant wasn’t awkward. Privacy also gives us the chance to hold hands, show affection, and look into each other’s eyes again.
The date needs to be enjoyable, for both partners. This doesn’t mean that we have to like all the same things as our spouse. But remember, chick flicks for every date won’t cut it either. (That is unless your hubby loves chick flicks too).
A great way to approach date planning, take turns. One week you plan, the next week your spouse plans. The only condition is that when it is not your week, you participate with a good attitude and a willing heart. You both have to be ready to do whatever is planned. Even better, instead of always choosing activities you are used to and like, choose new activities. Try different things together. That way you are not doing “his” activity or “her” activity. Instead you are establishing “our” activities. You could even make the rule that ever other time you choose, it has to be something new.
Rushing to a movie and then home doesn’t count. Same for bike rides if you never stop to talk. These are great activities and we should be doing them with our spouses, but we need to mix them with meaningful time together also.
Date conversation works best when we leave tension and conflict out. It is possible to put troublesome topics aside for a few hours and just enjoy each other.
It is also okay to talk about things other than the kids too. I know for my husband and I, when we go on a date, the first thing we start to talk about are the kids. After a few minutes we realize what we are doing and try to talk about something else.
If you have not been dating your spouse, conversation might be hard at first. Try thinking ahead, like if you were going out on a date with someone you were just getting to know. Come prepared with different conversation starters. Here are some conversation starters that can help.
It is worth the sacrifices we have to make, to find time to date our spouse. Don’t think about dates as expensive. Money isn’t necessary to connect us. Instead, think of ways that you can reconnect by having privacy, enjoyment and conversation with your spouse. Plan activities that fulfill those three requirements. Go for a walk and hold hands, lay out a blanket in the front room and have an indoor picnic at home once the kids are asleep, trade babysitting services with another couple every other week so you don’t have to pay for a sitter. Do what ever it takes to spend time together. We will quickly realize that dates will recharge our Marital Battery. They bring us closer together and strengthen our relationship. It is that strength that will help us get through the challenges that our families will face. It is that strength that reminds us why we married our spouse in the first place.
What is your favorite date to go on with your spouse? Let’s share some ideas.
When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse?
Are your dates filled with privacy, enjoyment and conversation?