Last week I wrote about how remembering our love story was helpful to me when reality threatened to suck the love right out of our marriage. This week at SBV we’re giving tips on keeping the love alive in marriage. And I have to say the single best thing we do on an ongoing basis is to go on dates regularly.
I know all the arguments for not doing it because we’ve used them all: it’s too expensive, there’s no time, we can’t find a sitter, etc. There were years we never went out without kids. But after our marriage took some serious lumps, we knew we had to get intentional about investing back in it. And the way we did it was to start dating again. Since that time we’ve gotten dependent on our date nights as a way to reconnect and to– as I wrote about last week– remember why we fell in love in the first place. With a housefull of kids, we operate in family business/parent mode most of the time. It’s good to leave the house– and the kids– and remember that we are people apart from those roles we must play most of the time.
Here are a few date night tips I can share:
You don’t have to spend a lot of money. A cheap dinner at Chick Fil A and a walk around a lake is nearly free and still gives you time to talk and laugh. It’s about reconnection, not what you had for dinner.
Sometimes a date night can be used for goal setting, planning, financial talk, etc. Those are good to intersperse with other date nights– but achieve a balance of fun date nights and businessey date nights.
It’s fun to go to a movie, but be careful that you don’t only go to movies. You can still avoid talking in a movie.
If you have a budget, make a category for babysitting and restaurants and put intention behind your desire to go on a date. Date nights can be just once a month at first, with an ideal of building towards weekly.
If it’s hard to get out at this stage of life– for whatever reason– remember, this too shall pass. When we had a lot of small children it wasn’t feasible for a lot of reasons to go on regular date nights. But it did come back around.
Do fun things together. I had a friend who went through a divorce later tell me that when she looks back at her marriage, she realizes they just stopped trying. They didn’t have fun together. They didn’t go out dancing or try something new. They got in a rut and stayed in it. Her words were sobering to me. They gave me a goal– to be a couple that still knows how to have fun, that is intentional about building fun into the marriage.
The other day I saw an ad for Couples Archery Lessons. Of course my writing mind ran with that idea– a couple who takes archery lessons, learning to aim for a target in tandem?? Oh, the imagery, the symbolism! Am wondering if I could talk my husband into that idea…
Today’s Question: Do you have a date night tip I didn’t mention? A creative date night you’d recommend for the rest of us? Please share!
Marybeth Whalen’s favorite date night with her husband is a long dinner complete with good food and the chance to finally finish a sentence. She and Curt are the parents of six children and live in North Carolina. Her upcoming novel, The Guest Book, involves a character who goes on dates with three different men during her two week beach vacation– but which guy is the one who has been drawing her pictures in a mysterious guest book all her life? Set on the North Carolina coast, this novel is one to include in your beach or pool bag this summer.