What is one of the best memories you have from the time you and your spouse were dating?
Give yourself time to sit with that memory…yes, right now!
What were you wearing? What were you doing together? Best of all, what did you FEEL?
I really want you to capture that before you skim through this…
When is the last time you FELT that way with your spouse? The excitement that bubbled up, waiting for him, or driving to pick her up? The lingering kisses at the end of the night, when you didn’t want to say good-bye? The longing to be with each other when you were apart for more than a day? Buying “I miss you” cards before leaving for the summer (yep,that happened).
That FEELING might be what we call love, and though it’s sometimes confused with lust (more of a strong sexual desire for someone, not a commitment), it is the feeling that we have when we realize life no longer looks the same without this person.
First comes love, then comes marriage
So you get married…and things are good for awhile. And you settle into a routine that feels nice, predictable, even comfortable. But that FEELING doesn’t always feel the same. Sometimes you can’t even find it, and you panic thinking it’s happened, you’ve fallen OUT of love. Or you just gradually begin to take each other for granted—no one means to do this, but it happens when someone or something is there day in, day out. I don’t realize how much I need electricity until a storm knocks out the power, and my daily routine is thrown for a loop. I’ve taken it for granted.
Date nights aren't just for dating
Enter this month’s habit challenge—do you have a regular date night with your spouse? Yes, it can feel like an impossible feat if you have kids and the need (not to mention the expense) of a babysitter, but this is one of the most important habits your marriage can adopt if you want a relationship that grows deeper over time.
But we work together, and don’t have kids, or we see each other all the time, you say? Or our kids are grown? Why do we need a date night? One word: INTENTIONAL. It’s about setting aside time to deepen the relationship with your spouse. There is always more to learn, more to experience, more to validate in your spouse.
Date nights (or days!) don’t have to be expensive or complicated—but by putting time on your calendar that NOTHING will supersede, you create a pattern that keeps those early feelings of love kindled. You look in each other’s eyes, dream a little, step out of the routine. For a moment, you are again the center of each other’s worlds. And you are able to go back to the hard stuff, remembering you aren’t in this thing called life alone.
Some thoughts on date nights:
- Some couples use date nights to explore new recreational pursuits together. Take turns picking an activity and trying something new.
- How often? Minimum of monthly, but twice a month or weekly would be preferable.
- If you have children, look into a babysitting co-op. Trade time with other parents, so that it’s not such a financial hurdle. A co-op has a little structure so that one family isn’t always sitting for the others, using a point system or something similar.
- Brainstorm a list of places you’d like to go in your town—is there a museum you haven’t been to before? A trail or natural area? Be creative. Then if you have an opportunity on short notice, you can quickly pick one off your list.
- Take turns planning, or surprising the other. This doesn’t need to fall into one person’s “role”.
- Stay home, but send the kids out, or if no kids, make it special—candles, or a new game, or cooking together.
- This ISN’T a time to hash out an argument, though sometimes it is necessary to find some neutral ground to work through a disagreement. But date night should be focused on ENJOYING something together, and having uninterrupted time to talk.
Would love to hear more ideas for date nights! Please leave a few words below? You’re awesome 🙂
[reminder]Do you have regular date nights currently? If not, what gets in the way, if it’s something you both want to do? [/reminder]