By Greg Smalley
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.‚” Mark Twain
Here’s a news flash: you and your spouse will grow closer as you spend time together doing things that you both enjoy. Sure, it’s true to a certain extent that “opposites attract.” But married couples who go the distance tend to be those who are able to connect through shared experiences and passions. Isn’t that what Date Night is all about?
There are several things to consider when it comes to spending enjoyable time together in marriage. In order to maximise their value, your shared experiences as a couple need to have the following characteristics:
- Regularity—Scraping out a Date Night once every three months isn’t going to cut it. You need to make time on a regular and consistent basis to enjoy one another’s company.
- Variety—Doing the same thing over and over can become monotonous. This is true in every area of life. What once was fun and invigorating can become a mere routine. So spice up your couple time with a wide range of interesting pursuits.
- Adventure—You don’t have to become Indiana Jones or Lara Croft in order to introduce a sense of adventure into your time together. You don’t have to plan something elaborate or expensive, either. Maintaining a sense of adventure simply means including an element of the new, the unusual, or the unexpected.
- Fun—This might seem obvious, but it’s more important than you think. Research shows that couples who engage in fun activities together enjoy deeper intimacy. So whatever you do during your Date Nights—and during other moments when you’re enjoying leisure time as a couple—make sure it’s FUN!
We’re not suggesting that your marriage should be all fun-and-games, all the time. But building your relationship on mutually enjoyable experiences will leave you better equipped to weather the storms when they come.
Remember, always act like you’re trying to get a second date! Sometimes in marriage we forget that we need to pursue and “woo” our spouse. So dress up a bit. Be polite and open doors. Compliment one another. Be affectionate – hold hands, cuddle and steal kisses. Remember to protect your date night by cutting off any real arguments and agreeing to talk about the issue at a later time.
Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.
Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.
Step 2: Enjoy your time together!
Your assignment for this Date Night is simple: do something that you both enjoy! If possible, select an activity that has the elements of adventure, variety, and fun in it, as described above. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Play a round of miniature golf or Frisbee golf
- Take a cooking class together
- Attend a sporting event (but remember, this needs to be something you both enjoy!)
- Go ballroom dancing
- Go shopping at thrift stores and find some new treasures
- Visit a theme park and enjoy the Ferris wheel—or tempt fate on the roller coaster!
Step 3: Relax and unwind.
After your activity, relax and emotionally connect by talking about what you learned during your conversations throughout the evening. Answer the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting and encouraging.
– What was your favourite part of the evening?
– What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn’t know about me before?
– What are some of the things we enjoy doing together? What memories do these activities evoke? What are some new activities that we’d like to consider for a future date? How can we make sure that we make spending enjoyable time together a regular part of our marriage?
STEP 4: HOME SWEET HOME
As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Also, think about additional ways you can foster fun times together. Once you get home, however, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!
© 2014 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published at focusonthefamily.com.