The Nuts and Bolts of Double Dating

Double dating is an easy, exciting and fun way to invest in another couple — and strengthening your own marriage in the process. You can get together with longtime acquaintances or a couple you’ve just met, maybe from your neighbourhood, school, or work.

The four of you might simply enjoy a quiet meal together, share hobbies or play a sport; perhaps try out a new adventure — all the while sharing your stories, your experiences, and your lives. And you don’t have to commit to anything beyond one date, though you may have such a great time that you end up wanting to get together again and again.

It’s not just about hanging out with couples who are in the same stage of life as you, either. In fact, there are three distinct categories of couples to consider as you double date:

Younger Couples
Even if you’ve only got two or three years of marriage under your belt, there’s likely a just-married couple nearby — at work, or even an extended family member — who would enjoy spending time with another couple just a few years into their marital journey. They can learn from your experience while at the same time feeling like they’re on equal footing with you.

Peer Couples
Peer couples are those in the same general stage of life as you. They could include close friends as well as casual acquaintances from work, the neighborhood, or your children’s school. There should be no shortage of conversation topics for your double date: the challenges of career, the joys and frustrations of raising children, common interests, or shared values.

Older Couples
Whether it’s a couple that has been married just a few years longer than you, or one who long ago celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, you might be surprised at how many older couples would relish the opportunity to hang out with a young couple like you! It can be both fun and rewarding to interact with someone who has stood where you now stand. And the older couple can learn from you, as well.

Double Date Discussion

The topics of conversation on your double dates will depend on a number of factors, including how well you know the other couple, and what stage of life each couple is in. Here’s a brief list of potential subjects you might explore:

Introductory Information: The usual “conversation starter” topics work well for first-time double-daters. “What do you do for a living?” “Where do you work?” “Describe a typical day in your life.” “Tell me about your children.” “What are some of your hobbies and interests?”

Digging Deeper: Take turns telling your love story: how and where your met, what your courtship was like, funny anecdotes from your wedding and honeymoon, and so on. Additional questions might include: “What were your childhoods like?” “Tell us about your families of origin.”

Spiritual: If the couple you’re double dating shares your faith, then you already have a bond that goes deeper than friendship. Share your personal testimonies. Talk about your individual encounters and experiences.

Giving and Receiving Advice: Perhaps you’re struggling with an issue at work that you could discuss with the other couple. Or maybe the other couple is experiencing in-law troubles, and you can offer a friendly word of caution based on your own experience. This doesn’t mean your dates should turn into negative venting sessions. But there’s nothing wrong with broaching serious subjects.

Parenting: For couples immersed in the childrearing years, it can be tempting to fill every conversation with talk about children. If you allow this to happen, you’ll likely find your dates to be less fulfilling and enriching. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with sharing stories, anecdotes and advice about childrearing when appropriate.

So, get started by identifying just one couple, at any age or stage of life, and ask them out. As you begin to enjoy the benefits of double dating, you may identify other couples in other life stages. But start with one. Muster your courage, walk up to them, and say, “Do you have any plans on Friday night?” It’s as simple as that!

Adapted from “Take the Date Night Challenge” by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley.

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