Alright, it’s Marriage Monday again and time for another weekly helping of a marriage focus topic. This week we are talking about date night, taking time away from “ordinary life” and setting it aside to spend time with the person who matters most in your world (or at least should matter most anyway!!).
Here’s today’s shocking truth: you should have an affair, everyone of you! Good, I got your attention. The catch is, however, that this affair should be with your spouse, and ONLY your spouse of course! I think if we set that picture in our minds then we might get a glimpse of how this is supposed to work. Do you remember when you first were dating your spouse (before you were married) and how you planned out everything, and every time you got together there was energy and excitement and you were so happy to just be with one another that you could have been cleaning bathrooms together and still had a good time? But then somewhere along the way, maybe just the banality of daily life and just existing together that somehow that excitement and happiness got lost. Maybe now you can’t remember the last time you actually asked your spouse to go on a date with you (did you even know that you still SHOULD be doing that?)? And far too many just decided that the thrill is now gone and seek it out from another person outside the marriage, and – imagine that – the thrill with that new person returns and you have fun together and sneak around, just like you did with your spouse before you were married. If we could just somehow change that dynamic so that you could keep that level of excitement within the boundaries of your marriage we would all have better marriages today.
But here’s the thing: you CAN have that level of excitement, you just have to find it. And trust me, it’s there, it has always been there. And in so many ways, that level of excitement can FAR outweigh the “newness” excitement because of the level of intimacy you are able to achieve now that you (hopefully) know your spouse better than you did when you first dated. So here are my tips, mostly focused on the guys for this week because I feel that we men are seriously lacking in the “excitement” phase of our relationships more often than not:
1) Make date night a priority! Everybody has a calendar, filled with weekly events. Add a new one to your calendar, call it “date night” or something creative like “reconnection adventure” or whatever. But you say there is no room in your calendar? Then get out the eraser, call your friend or the committee you are serving on and tell them you are making your spouse the priority for once so you need to take a break so you can restore passion in your marriage. Do you really need three bowling leagues, those TV sitcoms you just have to watch, that weekly committee meeting, etc.? EVERYONE has a few hours a week to make this a priority if they just give it a shot!
2) Make date night special! Men – make the arrangements, call the sitter, make a reservation, take the initiative for once! You did it when you were dating and she melted into your arms. Do it now and watch the same thing happen, I guarantee it. And it will be even better than when you were dating, that same excitement can be even more of a thrill today, trust me!
Women – I do love when my man calls and arranges everything but once in a while it is nice for us to do the same thing. And maybe when you plan the date, find out if his favorite sports team is playing, head to Buffalo Wild Wings, wear a pony tail and a hat, eat some wings and help him cheer on his team. Maybe he likes to be outdoors, plan a date, go with him fishing or hunting and try this, NO talking. Just sit and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. You will be amazed at how this recharges him! Not all the dates have to be dinner and movie dates, or stuff that is more girly, try to do some activities that he would enjoy too!
3) Make date night memorable! Guys – wear your cologne (HER favorite, of course), put on the nice pair of pants and that sweet shirt, dress to impress. Do you remember when you were dating how you would actually look at yourself in the mirror before you want to pick her up? Do you know how much that will mean to her when she realizes again that this date night is special to you? I have learned that making myself look good increases my confidence on our dates, and I love getting the look from Ange when she’s actually checking ME out instead of the waiter at the restaurant. I do not check out the waiter at the restaurant! Or are you talking about that time we played Restaurant at home? 😉
Ladies – obviously this one isn’t too hard for us, we like to get dolled up and look good for our man. So maybe underneath that cute maxi dress, slip on a sexy bra and matching undies or dare I suggest maybe not wearing any? I know, scandalous. Tell him about it during dinner and watch his reaction. That will definitely make date night memorable!
4) Make date night last beyond date night! In here, it’s really the little things – leave her a note to tell her you are looking forward to the date. After it’s over, tell her you’re excited for the next one (since hopefully the first one was great and you are looking for a repeat performance!). Be her “secret lover” (remember what I said about having an “affair” with your spouse?) and woo her just the way you would if you were trying to date her all over again. It might sound like work, but once you start doing it you will remember what made you crazy for this girl when you first started dating and the excitement will come back to you quickly, I promise! (Your wooing skills have come a long way since you were 17 years old baby. And wasn’t I the one who was wooing you (very funny!)? I am the one who called and asked you out, remember?)
Lets make sure we show our apprecation to our man for setting up the date night, arranging the sitter and letting him know that his efforts didn’t go unnoticed. We have to tell them what we like, they can’t read our minds (uh, most definitely!). Sending him an email during the week telling him you are looking forward to the next date night will encourage him to keep setting them up.
5) Find something you both enjoy doing together and do it! I think this is probably my favorite advice for people that are newly married or are just feeling stuck in their marriage! If you both have vastly different hobbies or things you enjoy doing, why not find something new to do together? Maybe take up photography, ballroom dancing, archery, bowling, tennis, wine tasting, antiquing, learn a new language together, the ideas are endless (does SEX count?). I have seen so many marriages that have drifted apart because he does “his” stuff and she does “her” stuff. So start something new that you both might end up enjoying and in the mean time, have fun trying out different things until you find that something you both like. The main thing is find something to do TOGETHER!
6) Double Date! We had a double date this past Saturday and it was so much fun! It was great getting to know another couple, asking them how they met and then sharing our how we met story. Something about sharing the how we met story always makes me really happy and brings us back to those first days of love. Sometimes sharing date night with another couple brings some conversation and adventure into the night that you might not normally have. They might know of a great restraurant you’ve never been too that might become a new favorite place for you to frequent. Alex & I always enjoy playing card and board games with couples, maybe you’ll find some new cribbage partners to play with or they could introduce you to a new game you’ve never played. Sometimes it’s fun to just mix it up and bring some friends along for a great night out as couples, not moms that have playdates together.
We could talk about this subject forever but we’ll stop here.
Looking for more ideas on this subject? Check out a series that Focus on the Family has just released found here. Take the date night challenge on there to get you started. We signed up for the challenge and hope you will too!
Don’t feel you have the money? Date nights don’t have to be expensive, you don’t even have to leave the house to set aside time together, put the kids to bed early or send them to their rooms for the night and tell them, mommy and daddy are having date night. The kids will probably enjoy the date night at home as much as you will!
Don’t feel you have the energy after taking care of kids all day? You own it to your kids to keep your marriage together and strong, it’s the BEST thing you can do for them in the long run and for your marriage. AfteralL, what happens when the kids leave the house? Don’t end up strangers! (Refer to #5)
Below are a few great blog posts and or website articles that have some creative, cheap and fun ideas for date nights, just click on the pic for more info!
Send us a note, tell us what you are going to do about date night starting THIS week, we would love to hear from you and how you are putting this into practice in your marriage! Maybe you have a great date night that wasn’t mentioned in the post or links above, we’d love to hear about it!
And join us next week where we will be diving into why it’s so important to have a getaway from it all!
Ange and Alex