Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A New Twist on Date Night

(Last in a 3-part series on marriage.)

Now that Pete and Pam have learned to connect emotionally, it’s time they enjoyed some fun together. They’ve always been told how important regular “Date Nights” are to a marriage. According to Dr. GregSmalley, vice president of Family Ministry at Focus on the Family, 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. That means you might be able to dramatically increase these important areas of your marriage by simply dating your spouse.

Over the years, Pete and Pam have made many attempts. But children’s extracurricular events, sickness, or lack of a babysitter would invariably preempt their plans. Rescheduling took too much effort.

Planning became a little easier when the kids no longer required babysitting, but even then, things fizzled. Pete would pick a movie hoping to please Pam, and be bored to tears himself. Or Pam might choose a restaurant she thought Pete would love, but it fell flat. Both would return home disenchanted, and soon Date Night became a bittersweet memory.

Now that the kids are grown, Pete and Pam find themselves home alone together any given night of the week. What’s the point of dating, especially when dating so often disappoints?

At the marriage seminar we attended with Dr. DougWeiss, he taught us a different twist on date night. First, Pete and Pam need to establish when their dates will happen and how often. Every other Friday? Third Saturday of the month?

Once they’ve agreed, Pete and Pam will take turns planning the entire date, from babysitter to activities to location. But here’s where the twist comes in: Pete plans a date around what HE would like to do and Pam plans one around what SHE likes.

Say what?

You heard me. Sounds kinda selfish, doesn’t it? Takes all the romance out. That’s what I thought. 

But when you consider it, it makes sense. If Pete plans a date he knows he will like, they know at least one person will enjoy it. And Pam knows her turn is coming.

The three rules are:

  • No discussing major issues or household administration on your date.
  • No errand-running on your date.
  • No shopping (unless both recognize shopping as an enjoyable activity.) 

 You may also need to agree on a budget amount. I’d like to add a rule I made just for myself: prepare for the date as you would a first date with someone new—without the downside of nervous jitters.

Dr. Weiss told us that early in his own Date Night commitment, he took his turn planning a date. His wife happened to be a little ticked with him at the time and announced she wasn’t going.

He said, “OK. I’m still going.”

With his per-person budget for the evening suddenly doubled, he took himself to a 5-Star restaurant where he enjoyed a sumptuous meal alone. 

His wife never did that again.

Pete and Pam now look forward to date nights and find they’re able to maintain the commitment. What’s more, they’re learning to laugh and have fun together again.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy dating!

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