A while back a friend came up to me at church and said he had some receipts for me to reimburse. I looked at him like “What are you talking about?” and he said, “You know…babysitting receipts. You said you’d cover the babysitting if I’d start taking my wife out on dates.” I laughed and said “Okay. Sure.”
A couple of weeks earlier they had been at our home for a get together for a bunch of new couples in our church. In the course of introductions it came up that I was a marriage educator and that I was a big proponent of a weekly date night. Though teasing, that night he had said, “Oh sure. If you pay for the babysitter maybewe’d consider going out on dates more often.” That is when I had said that he could send me the bill for their babysitting expenses.
Apparently he is pretty serious about it as he has also reminded my husband that he’s now racking up babysitting expenses to give me. I guess I need to remind him that a babysitter costs a lot less than a marriage counselor, or a divorce, for that matter.
Date Night is Not Optional
Many years ago as a relatively new mom, I heard a woman extolling the virtues of a regular date night. With two little children under the age of three and not much money I thought, “Ya sure. That’s easy for you to say!” Well I have since learned for myself the necessity of a regular date night, and hope to not only encourage you to make it a regular part of your marriage, but also to have you encourage others to do so as well.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
There was a time when Friday night date night was the literal light at the end of my tunnel each week. I don’t know how I would have survived those years without that to look forward to.
Date night would sweep me away into another world where I looked like something someone would actually want to date instead of the scary looking person that just tried to keep her head above water throughout the day with little ones running her ragged.
Not Just a Mom
Date night gave me a chance to remember that I was a wife and not just an all-consumed mother. Date night put a sparkle back into my eyes and into my soul. It continues to be something I look forward to every single week.
Date night helps me remember those wonderful feelings of our courtship days. (Hey guys don’t forget to open her doors. And gals don’t forget to let him…even if you have to sit there and wait for a moment or two to retrain him.)
Marriage Must Be Nourished
Sometimes we forget that a marriage needs to be nourished. We can’t just stop doing all the things we used to do when courting and expect our marriage to stay vibrant. Our marriage needs constant nourishment emotionally, spiritually and sexually.
The emotional intimacy and connection that grows through regular date nights is the fuel that makes both husband and wife feel loved, cherished and desirable. Date night is not optional for those couples who want to stay close and connected.
Date night builds emotional intimacy. This is an important component of emotional foreplay, which many women need in order to feel close to their husbands. This emotional closeness makes it easier for women to move from feeling emotionally intimate to wanting to be physically intimate.
But men, please try not to start doing this date night thing with “strings attached,” or you may be disappointed. Having strings attached has a way of undoing the positives of a great date night. No one wants to feel like they are being “wined and dined” because they expect something in return. Just enjoy each other and focus on building your friendship. Let the rest take care of itself…!
Three Keys to a Strong and Happy Marriage
If I had to choose three things that are the key activities for those who want a strong and happy marriage relationship I would choose the following:
1) Weekly date night
2) Nightly couple prayers
3) Regular lovemaking
Just Do It!
Whether your date nights are actually an evening dinner date, or a lunch date each week, or even just time spent together after the kids are in bed–this time is sacred time for all couples. Some of my favorite dates were when we would put our little ones to bed a little early and read and discuss a book or an article together.
Other times, I’d take the little book “365 Questions for Couples” (by Michael J. Beck) with us, and we’d ask each other questions like, “What is your greatest fear?” or “What is your greatest hope?” or “What are your best characteristics?” etc. just to learn more about each other.
Whatever you decide to do on your dates, just enjoy each other and look for anything you may have forgotten about why you dated and fell in love with each other in the first place.
Decide to make your marriage the best it can be, and remember that date night is NOT optional! Maybe someday I’ll even create some kind of a “Date Night Babysitter Reimbursement Fund” to help couples make dating a higher priority!
See ya later! It’s date night…!!!
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