When was the last time you and your husband went out on a date or stayed in and had a date night?
Hum . . . do you even remember?When my husband Alex and I got married we vowed that we would stay married no matter what, but we did not want our married life to grow stagnant. We did not want to look at each other when the kids were gone and ask, “Who are you again?” We wanted to keep the spark in our relationship burning throughout our marriage.
Sometimes it has not been easy! As you know, keeping that spark alive takes work! Sometimes that spark is so bright that others see it very clearly. Other times it is very dim and we need to coax it back to life.
Plan regular date nights with your spouse.
One way we work to keep our love alive and burning is to have weekly date nights, just the two of us.
When our kids were small and we lived close to each set of parents, our parents would trade off watching our kids so we could go out.
When we moved and didn’t yet know anyone where we lived, we only went our when our parents came for a visit and there was time for us to go out on a date.
A few years of not having regular date nights took its toll on us. During a conversation one day we realized that we needed to prioritize time together. Since going out would be a challenge, we decided to have weekly date nights at home. We sent the kids to their rooms after family prayers. They could play or read quietly until their bedtime, and we had the rest of the house to ourselves.
We made sure the kids knew Sunday night was Dad and Mom’s date night.
Take turns planning date nights.
Okay. We’ve got date night scheduled on the calendar, but what do we do now? Aren’t we going to run out of ideas if we are home all of the time? It turns out, we are more creative than we thought. The more we think creatively, the easier it is.
Sometimes we will trade off planning our date nights. These nights have been more fun and creative than when we try to decide together and end up with a dialogue that is something like:
“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
Taking turns planning our date nights helps to keep them fun and interesting vs. stagnate and boring.
Have you always wanted to cook a dessert together, but was hesitant to bring it up? Has your husband mentioned wanting to watch a movie with you that you and you have been avoiding following through?
Speak up! If we don’t share our true selves with our spouses, we are limiting growing in intimacy together. Share your ideas and ask him to share his with you. Be open with each other and listen with your hearts.
Try something new.
Just try what your spouse wants to do, and ask him to try what you want. You may be surprised that you enjoy it more than you thought you would. When we act out of love for our spouse, that makes all the difference.
Keep a list, or two.
Yes, we actually did this! On day when we were too busy or preoccupied to plan our date night in advance, it was nice to have a list of ideas to pull out and refer to.
On one of our more creative days we made a list of things we could do on our date nights. Also, whenever one of us says, “On our date night we could . . .” we can add it to the list.
Think of fun things that you have done together in the past and add them to the list.
If you like, create one list for date nights at home and one list for date nights out.
Remember your purpose.
Our purpose for our date nights is to reconnect and spend time together. On our date nights, we try to avoid talking about subjects that could cause tension between us. We can plan these discussions for another time.
On our date nights, we try to make sure that what we do promotes unity between us and helps us to grow closer together. A romantic night, a fun night, a night dreaming, or a night where we just relax together all fit with our purpose of building up and strengthening our relationship.
Enjoy time together.
Ironically, this can be difficult to do sometimes!
Sometimes on our date nights, our kids are arguing in their rooms or feeling left out and try to interrupt our date night. Sometimes we have tension between us because we have gotten upset with each other earlier in the day and still have not resolved the issue. Other times we are just so tired that all we want to do is to go to sleep!
We make the effort to have fun, even when it seems challenging to do so. Even spending 30 minutes together before going to sleep early is beneficial.
One thing that we have learned is that when we take the time to plan ahead, we enjoy ourselves more because we have made our date night a priority and put some thought and effort into it. Sometimes we plan our date night one week in advance and other times we plan it earlier in the day. Planning ahead also gives us something to look forward to and builds the anticipation of spending time together.
Set the example.
Our children are watching us. The example we set of taking time for each other and nurturing our marriage relationship sets a great example for them.
They also feel more secure knowing that we are more connected to each other in our relationship. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is for us to have a solid, loving marriage.
Are you ready?
Are you ready to plan some date nights with your husband? Put some dates on the calendar. Planning regular date nights together will help build your relationship and draw you closer together. Take turns planning date nights, think creatively, and try something new. Making each other a priority in marriage is so very important for us in our relationship and sets the example for our kids. It is also a lot of fun!
What will you two do on your next date night?