Groceries in the fridge. Check.
Ballet leotard washed. Check.
Business report printed. Check.
Reservations for dinner… Uh, oh.
Have you ever been so absorbed in your career, raising children and checking off an endless inventory of commitments that nurturing your marriage ends up at the bottom of the list? An even greater danger lies in putting your relationship on autopilot while you attend to a myriad of obligations, hoping you can still experience a thriving marriage – complete with a safe landing in the bedroom.
One of the best ways to ensure your marriage arrives at its desired destination is through playful activity. The enjoyable times we spend together are the lifeblood of a marriage. But if we never laugh and play with our spouse, emotional connection and intimacy fade.
We know for certain that having regular date night works! Research tells us that 92 percent of couples who make date night a priority have increased satisfaction in their relationships. How refreshing! And what a refreshment it can become in your marriage as well, especially as you keep in mind these three encouragements:
- Don’t “administrate.”
- Try something new.
- Be curious and ask questions.
Sometimes we forget that we need to pursue and woo our spouse, like we did when we first met. Act like you're trying to get a second date! Dress up. Be polite. Turn off the cell phone. Compliment each other. Be affectionate. And protect your date night from conflict! If an argument erupts, agree to talk about the issue at a later time.
Of course, we hope you’ll see such a great value in a having a date night that it becomes part of your life as a couple. We’re convinced that this new habit will powerfully work to strengthen and enrich your marriage. Here are some steps and pointers to get you on your way to great dates with your spouse.
Step 1: Be fun and be curious
As you're driving or eating, ask questions like the ones below. Don't feel as if you need to answer all of the questions; instead, use them as a way to update your knowledge or learn something new about your spouse.
- What are your top five favourite movies of all time?
- What are your three favourite restaurants and your favorite menu items at each?
- If you could have any superhero power, what would it be? Why?
- What would be your dream vacation with me? Describe in detail where we would go and what we would do.
- What's on your “bucket list”? Is there anything you strongly desire to accomplish before you die?
- What has been your most positive or life-changing spiritual experience?
- Which couple that we know seems to have the best marriage? What is it about their relationship that stands out to you?
- In what ways would you like me to romance you?
- If you had to change your profession and do something completely different, what career would you choose?
- How would you describe your dream house? (Location, architecture style, floors, bedrooms, amenities, décor, etc.)
- If we could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?
- What is your ideal date night or favourite date-night activity?
- In our marriage, what do I do that helps you to feel loved?
Step 2: Relax and unwind
After your activity, find a quiet place for dessert and/or coffee to slow down and emotionally connect over good conversation. Ask the following three questions, being sure to keep your responses positive, encouraging and uplifting.
- What was your favourite part of our time together?
- What's one thing you learned about me that you didn't know before?
- How can we make sure that laughing and playing together are a regular part of our marriage?
Step 3: Home sweet home
As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Remember, be intentional about investing in your marriage – there's no cruise control setting. Once you get home, however, it's up to you what happens next. Have a great adventure!
- Develop a lifetime learner motto: A lifetime isn't enough time to truly know my spouse.
- Get in the habit of regularly asking your spouse personal questions when you're driving or sitting idly somewhere. Use this precious time wisely.
- Periodically ask your spouse what he or she needs from you now (in this season of life) to feel loved.
- Hang on your spouse's every word, especially when he or she is giving new information. Strive to become a better listener.
- At the dinner table, ask your spouse what were the best and worst parts of his or her day.
- Before you fall asleep, briefly relive the events of the day while you lie next to each other.
- Ask each other to fill in the statement: “I feel loved and cared for when you . . .”
© 2012 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.