While the old 1980's adage, "More than 50% of marriages end in divorce" does not necessarily hold true any longer, the importance of date night is still pertinent to a healthy relationship.
Husbands and wives come together every evening to run through their day, bathe children, eat dinner, and hit the sack (aka the bed). Even if children are not involved, most couples are so tired by the time they come home the most intimate part of their conversation past a reply to "How was your day?" is a "good night" after brushing their teeth (or did we do that?).
What happened to the romance? Where did the butterflies go? (Apparently, they migrated.) One of the most crucial parts of marriage is being the person your spouse married. Sure, we all change and mature over time; however, the person your spouse was attracted to is not the tired "Grey's Anatamy" watching woman huddled in the corner of the couch sipping tea nor is it the sprawled out zoned out man staring at the latest game. The person your spouse married was attractive in conversation, demeanor, and physical appearance. How do we get that back?
Step away. Was that an incomplete sentence I just typed? No, it was an answer, a demand, heck, if you live in the south and need a more hospitable approach; a "strong suggestion." But, really, with all the tech we have in our society today we are infinitely reachable between text messages, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Marco polo, WhatsApp, Skype, Remind, Bloom, and a whole host of other apps we may not have downloaded (yet) on our portable devices. Additionally, we carry so much responsibility it is almost impossible for most of us to look away (yes, I'm preaching to the choir). The answer to the problem is to step away. If I am at home, I cannot look past the dishes needing to be cleared/washed/put away, the porch that could use a broom, the paperwork my children need me to sign, spilled jam on the table, dirty rag on the sink, shoes shoved into the corner, dog water that needs a refresh, check to be written, cat to be let out, lawn mowed, laundry washed/dried/folded, etc etc etc. You know the drill. The beauty of stepping away is that you remove yourself so completely that you cannot complete a task, answer an email, or connect with anything other than God and your spouse.
How do we do this? The first question is whether you want to spend money or not. There are a plethora of ways to step away which can be, both, free or require payment. Here are a few:
- Take a Walk - Eat out at a restaurant
- Eat a Picnic - Catch a Movie
- Play a game - Go Bowling
- Read to one another - Go Dancing
- Cook together - Travel
- Take a Hike - Attend a sporting event
The next question to answer is "Why do we need to do this?"
The answer can be spelled out in so many ways but the best way to sum them up is to tell you: It Is Healthy. When you spend intentional time connecting with your spouse without distraction you are building trust, communication, connection, perseverance, understanding, and intimacy. You are setting an example for your kids and others around you to say, "My marriage is worth it." Not only that, but your spouse feels worth it. A date gives you time to destress, listen to your spouse, participate in a bonding activity, communicate on deeper levels about feelings/worries/celebrations, help you to understand him/her on current topics, and develops a couple's perseverance to make their marriage work. Your spouse gets to see the man or woman they married apart from distractions! Does anyone put time into something they plan to throw away? The answer is no. Anything worth keeping is worth investing in, and your spouse is definitely at the top of that list.
How do you date your spouse? What tactics do you use to step away even when you are home? How can you better work to make dates a priority?
My wife and I try to get out once a month. Even a short trip to the grocery store while my in-laws are over for the afternoon can be counted as a date. It is as simple as getting away from your regular routine to talk.