I’m concerned about the state of marriage right now. The average U.S. marriage is only lasting 8 years and 2 months. That averages in all the 40 year marriages like mine! It may not be the ONLY solution, but it is PART of the solution: “a weekly date night.”
Melanie and I have tried to practice this for many years. When our six children all arrived, it became CRITICAL!
You need a break, a “deep breath” from the tremendous pressures of parenting.
Here is how we did it:
1. Hire a babysitter.
Yes, it cost us money (unless a parent volunteered). I figured it was well worth the cost to “ante-up” in order to possibly save my marriage.
You can never replace what 3-4 hours of “hang time” will do for your spouse.
2. Surprise her.
A word for husbands: Don’t invite your wife to go out, then ask her, “Where do you want to go?” when you get in the car. She loves the idea of you giving direction and rescuing her from the home environment!
You would be amazed at how much a “surprise” blesses your spouse. Look up a new restaurant on “Trip Advisor” and the time you spent in preparation will say to her, “He loves me.”
3. Don’t splurge every week.
You know the money you can afford. If you don’t have much money to spend (or any money!) find a great, beautiful, quiet place to walk. Sometimes just walking around and getting a coffee and dessert is just as refreshing as a big, expensive meal.
4. You can do an activity, but focus on interaction.
A movie, a symphony, or a ball game can potentially be a great date night. One warning, however, is to not let an activity take the place of “face to face” conversation.
What you DON’T want is to have 10 minutes of conversation and then sit staring at some activity the rest of the night. The POINT of the date night is to go deeper in conversational intimacy. Try checking out Matthew Kelly’s book Seven Levels of Intimacy to see what I’m talking about.
5. Get ready to discuss big picture decisions.
Our date night (or one day trips) left us the free time we needed to get into longer, deeper decisions about our lives. When meals are cooking and kids are screaming, not much long-range planning gets done.
6. Have FUN!
Don’t allow yourselves to argue. You are not “postponing your problems,” because laughter and fun is a huge medicine toward their solution. A date night brings PERSPECTIVE into your crazy day-to-day world.
- Several times we rented a golf cart and rode up and down hills at a golf course. Whatever you can do to have a great laugh and a great time, DO IT!
The main thing? HAVE a date night every week. Your spouse will look forward to it, your kids will appreciate it, and your marriage will last…
…hopefully longer than 8 years and 2 months.