When was the last time you and your spouse enjoyed a date night together? You know, just the two of you, where you’re not being pulled on by kids or other distractions.
Ooh. That long ago, huh?
Well, don’t be too hard on yourself. I think most couples struggle in this area.
But it does illustrate an important point: We married couples have to be intentional about creating alone time with our spouse. If we don’t, what little free time we have will get eaten up by other activities.
It’s a common problem. Couples get so busy they stop investing time in one another and slip into cruise control mode. But there’s no autopilot for a marriage. You can’t hit a button and send your relationship down the road and expect it to be fine.
One benefit of a date night is that it keeps couples out of that autopilot mentality. It creates the opportunity for you and your spouse to proactively invest in your relationship on a regular basis.
And that kind of intentionality conveys a powerful message. It communicates that the relationship matters to both of you enough that you’re willing to carve time out of a very busy schedule.
That all sounds good. But does it work?
Well, research indicates that when couples have at least one date night per week, their level of relationship satisfaction, their communication, and their sexual satisfaction are 3 1/2 times higher than those who aren’t regularly dating. And, of course, studies have shown for years that a healthy marriage is the best thing we can do for our kids.
But that raises the question: With all that positivity, why is it so hard to make date nights happen? I think sometimes our approach can be too complex. We break out our calendars and strategize schedules, places, times, and activities with the precision of a military operation.
That may work well for some couples, but not for most. Between work commitments, kids’ events, babysitter schedules, and financial pressures, there are just too many unpredictable variables to make formal planning effective.
That’s why Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, our guests on today’s program, say it’s okay to redefine dating within each season of life. (Greg is the vice president of Family Ministries here at Focus and, together, he and Erin do a great job in helping lead our marriage outreach.)
Sometimes a date night may be as simple as putting the kids to bed and watching your favorite television show together. Other times it may be a cozy night in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and good conversation.
The Smalleys suggest couples define “dating” in whatever way necessary to accommodate the realities of life. The important thing is to be intentional about it. Do that, and you’ll still be investing time in one another and reaping all of the benefits.
Simple ideas like that to help couples create date night opportunities will be the basis of our conversation today. We’ll also discuss tips for resolving babysitting challenges, financial stresses that can prevent date nights, and other dos and don’ts of creating some alone time with your spouse.
We believe in this concept so much here at Focus we’ve created an entire initiative called the “Date Night Challenge.” To start, we encourage couples to have three dates in three weeks. It can be tough for all the reasons I’ve described, but we think you’ll recognize the incredible power of a date night and will be inspired to make dating your spouse a regular part of your relationship. For more information, ideas, and helpful resources, visit our website.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll join us for our broadcast, “Dating Your Mate: Overcoming the Challenges” on your local radio station. Or tune in anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.
One last thing. If you haven’t visited my Facebook page or Focus on the Family’s, I hope you’ll check them out. We look forward to input from you, our listeners. It’s a great way for us to dialogue with you. So drop by, give us a “Like,” and post your thoughts and ideas on what you hear on the program.