In my last Normal Marriage post, I said I would follow it up with a post on why spouses should make an appointment for sex. I’m pushing that post back one week so we can first talk about the need to make an appointment to date your spouse.
When you and your spouse first met, date night was the highlight of your week. But once you were engaged, going home at the end of the date was frustrating. You were ready to be married so you didn’t have to date anymore. Now that you’re married, you see each other all the time. So why schedule dates?
I believe dating your spouse is one of the most important things you can do in marriage. In fact, in premarital counseling I tell couples that the first week they’re back from their honeymoon, they should go out on a date and keep regularly dating one another until one of them dies.
Dating your spouse…
- Communicates that your spouse and your marriage is a priority to you.
- Fosters the attention and communication your marriage needs to grow.
- Reminds you of what brought you together in the first place.
- Creates a closeness and romance that wrangling kids and doing chores just can’t create.
We all know that dating our spouse is a good thing, so why is it so hard to create and continue a habit of dating your spouse?
Some will say that when you see each other all the time, it takes all the “specialness” out of dating. I disagree with this. Dating your spouse is still special. It’s just a different kind of special. Before marriage, it’s the date itself that’s special. When you’re married, the “specialness” comes from the bond that lingers days after the date. When you and your spouse are regularly dating, it has a positive spill-over effect into the rest of your marriage.
But I think the main reason it’s hard to create and continue a habit of dating is because so many things compete for our time and attention that we put dating our spouse on the back burner.
With all the demands we face, the only way to create and continue a habit of dating is by making an appointment for dates with your spouse.
Here are some thoughts and ideas about how to make an appointment to date your spouse…
- A date means it’s just the two of you. No other couples. No kids. Just the two of you if at all possible.
- Date your spouse at least once every other week. Once a week would be even better.
- Put your dates on the calendar. Make sure the calendar is somewhere where everyone can see it. If you’re using an electronic calendar, set a reminder a few days before.
- Set aside some money in your budget for date nights. Your dates don’t have to be extravagant, but burgers and babysitters still cost some money. If you have to cut your budget somewhere to make this happen, it’s worth it! It’s an investment in your marriage.
- Take turns deciding what you’re going to do. You can flip a coin to get started, then write on the calendar who’s planing the dates. Try to mix things up a little. A nice restaurant…a burger joint. A movie…a walk in the park. Just remember…the goal is to spend time together.
- Put away your cell phones. I know this is hard, but every time you focus on your cell phone you’re telling your spouse that they’re really not that important or interesting. Not a good move!
- Don’t let anyone or anything talk you out of date night. No matter how tired you might be, keep your date night. No matter how much your kids complain about having to stay with a sitter, keep your date night. If a business meeting or an illness trumps your scheduled date night, reschedule and get it back. Guard these date nights as if the life of your marriage depended on them…because it might.
I can hear some of you saying, “You don’t know my schedule…you don’t know how tight our budget is…we don’t have any babysitting options…etc.” I’ve been there. When I was in grad school, I was a full time student. I worked 30-40 hours a week. My wife worked full time. We had a 7 year old daughter and a 5 year old daughter. There were times when we had no babysitting options. And to top it all off, our money was so tight that we would have to dig for coins in the sofa if we wanted to go out.
But we figured it out. We would go to McD’s and let the kids play on the playground while my wife and I shared a small drink; (which we refilled a hundred times.) We would take a cooler of drinks to the park and talk while the kids played with other kids. And if we could find enough money in the sofa, we would splurge and go to the discount pizza buffet on the nights the kids ate for free. What I’m saying is…you can do this!
So don’t put dating your spouse on the back burner. Make an appointment to date your spouse, and keep the appointment. Because anything you put on the back burner doesn’t get as hot as it does on the front burner.
What’s your experience with dating your spouse? Let us know what works and what doesn’t, as well as how it has effected your marriage.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg