If we are not diligent to date our mate, the business and busyness of life can infringe until we spend less time together now that we are married than we did before our vows.
My husband and I got to know one another while doing fun activities including walks on the beach, shared meals, dancing, and singing songs as part of a concert. The result? We fell in love.
Our romantic relationships often start with dates, those planned opportunities to spend time sharing activities as a couple. We get married to spend more time together. Yet, if we are not diligent to date our mate, the busyness of life can infringe until we spend less time together now that we are married than we did before our vows.
While each couple’s story of how they met is unique, most of us went on at least a few dates. Shared time, conversation, and experiences is a foundation for romance and relationship. Once we are married, regular dates keep the spark of excitement and romance alive. Dates are a connection point reminding us we belong together.
Great Dates for Married Couples
The ingredients for great dates for married couples include:
- Time alone without children, family, or friends.
- An enjoyable activity.
- Personal moments in the bedroom to celebrate your love.
The American Heart Association suggests “Together Tuesdays™ is the easy way to satisfy your craving for connection.” Regular dates gave my husband and me time to talk and keep the passion alive while our kids lived at home. When our children grew up and left for college, we still enjoyed being together and made this part of our schedule a priority. Even as grandparents, dates are a highlight of our weekly routine.
Excuses Are Useless
Common excuses spouses use to avoid dating their mates include:
- No time.
- No money.
- I’m too tired.
- He won’t plan a date.
- Something always interrupts our plans.
- We don’t like the same restaurants or activities.
- He doesn’t want to go on a date.
There are easy solutions for these excuses.
We get too busy and skip a date if we forget to plan for it. Mark a couple of hours on the calendar to enjoy an activity with your mate. Then, set aside money for those special occasions. If something unexpected comes up, reschedule or make minor changes to the plans as the circumstances require. If you like different things on date nights, take turns! On one date, eat at your favorite restaurant, and on the next, enjoy an activity that your spouse likes.
Guys want to go on dates when they know it includes a time of intimacy. Dates preserve the fun and excitement, providing talking and physical connection. According to Greg Smalley in his article, The Hidden Benefits of Dating Your Mate, “When a couple spends time alone each week, their levels of happiness, positive communication, and sexual satisfaction are more than three times higher than those who don’t spend that time together.”
As for husbands not planning a date, sorry gals. You will probably end up planning most date nights. But it is so much better for your relationship to have a date night that you planned than no date night at all!
Free or Nearly Free Dates
Many of our dates were close to home, doing free or inexpensive activities when our kids were asleep with trusted childcare or otherwise safely occupied. Recognizing that money for dates isn’t always available, Bill and Pam Farrel, Relationship Specialists share their list of 25 Free or Nearly Free Dates.
- Share a simple treat outdoors.
- Get donuts and coffee.
- Eat dinner in a different room of the house or outside.
- Visit a new part of town or a new park.
- Go to lunch while the kids are at school.
- Read and discuss a book on marriage or sex.
- Walk in the woods or around the neighborhood.
- Check your community resources for free or nearly free opportunities to have fun taking dance lessons, painting, or learning a shared sport like canoeing, tennis, or golf.
Dating your Mate often takes special planning when we have kids. Dates can be at home, but getting out of the house refreshes our view and reminds us that there is more to the world than the challenges currently occupying our attention. Finding sitters wasn’t easy, especially when we frequently moved with the military. The best places I found to locate someone to watch our kids were the people I met at church and our neighbors.
- Form a group of several couples who agree to trade childcare so each couple can go on a regular date.
- Exchange babysitting nights with neighbors, freeing up an evening each couple can be alone.
- Put toddlers to bed slightly early to free an hour or more for a date at home.
- Pay a babysitter to watch the kids each week. We did this and because we didn’t want to lose money, we figured out how to make a weekly date work.
- Make date night refreshing for parent and child. Make this an opportunity for your child to have time in their room to read, build with legos, or pursue other interests while Mom and Dad enjoy conversation at home.
Make Dating Your Mate a Habit
“Going on dates, taking a vacation, making sex a priority in your marriage are not luxuries. In order for a marriage to be healthy so that it can last, these are necessities,” said Marriage.com.
Find fun things to do that make dating your mate an easy habit to do together. Jill and Stuart Briscoe took up birdwatching because neither knew anything about the topic. Without any previous experience identifying birds, they were both beginners and shared the learning experience. One couple visited local locations that had been part of the development of their relationship. When his wife gave him ballroom dance lessons, one husband initially felt reluctant but quickly warmed up to the easy romance of sharing the dance steps.
Exploring new interests together broadens your shared life experience. As your horizons expand, your relationship grows and deepens. Keep the romance in your marriage alive by setting aside time and energy to spend one-on-one with your spouse. Dating your mate reminds both of you that your spouse is valuable and your marriage remains a priority.
Love is an action, and dating your mate is the place to love one another. In the early days of dating, couples discover one another’s uniqueness. After raising a family together, relocating a dozen or more times, and accumulating an abundance of shared experiences, my husband and I are still discovering one another.
© 2023 Joyce Zook. All rights reserved. Used with permission. All scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.