I just read a statistic that Americans spent $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day on gifts for their significant others, children, pets, and even themselves. That’s $19.6 billion on flowers that wilt and die; chocolates you eat for a brief, momentary pleasure; and dinners at over-crowded, over-priced restaurants. I applaud spouses who spoil each other on occasion, but couples who do well will love and serve each other every day, and not just a 24-hour chunk of time in the year.
Before getting married, many of us spoiled our boyfriend or girlfriend regularly. We were creative, innovative, and cared about how we looked and what we did.
“I spent four to five hours getting ready for my first date,” a friend shared with me recently. She tried on every outfit she had, carefully applied makeup, and spent some time getting her hair just right. Her (now) husband spent a fair amount of time intentionally choosing how they would spend the time on their first date. He wanted to make sure she felt cared for and known, and that they had some fun. He was creative, thoughtful, and cared enough to make sure she would want to go on date number two.
They went out on date number two, got married, and fell into the same pattern most couples experience. Justin Buzzard, in his book Date Your Wife, says most couples get married, stop having fun, and get bored.
It doesn’t need to be this way. Why can’t we do things like we did in the beginning?
Two of the most common characteristics of couples who experience infidelity in marriage are that their relationships are marked by (1) boredom and (2) complacency. Instead of spending time to prepare for date night with intention, many couples fall into the habit of boring date nights (if they even still go on dates as a couple).
The Bible doesn’t say anything about date nights or the importance of dating your spouse. But in Ecclesiastes 9:9, Solomon writes, “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love…” One of the most effective ways to “enjoy life with your wife” is to date and pursue your spouse.
Here are three suggestions to help you date and pursue your spouse so you can enjoy life with your spouse.
1. Define a Date.
What’s your definition of a date? Discuss with your spouse. Does date night have to be at night, or does a lunch date count? How about taking a day off work to shop and hang out together? Does Starbucks count? How about Chick Fil A? Can you have date night at home?
Every couple will answer these questions differently, so make sure you spend some time coming to alignment with each other on your definition of a date. There’s no right or wrong answer, but you want to make sure you’re aligned as husband and wife. Studies show husbands report going out on more dates than their wives. For him, Chick Fil A might be a romantic date night. For her, Chick Fil A reminds her of her children. Make sure you’re on the same page.
2. Study Your Spouse.
What would your spouse like to do on their date night?
Each of us is wired in a uniquely. Study your spouse and plan a date night around their interests. When I meet with premarried couples, as part of their homework I ask them to plan a date for their fiancé that would most surprise them and show them they know what their future spouse likes. 1 Peter 3:7 challenges husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way. Show your spouse you know and understand them.
What’s something they would enjoy? Do they want to try some new restaurants in a different part of town? Or maybe you want to try some new activities like indoor skydiving or biking around the lake. It all starts with developing a deep understanding of who they are and what lights them up.
3. Do something different!
- Choose adventurous over routine. Don’t do the same-old, same-old dinner and movie for your date night. Check out my list of 124 Killer Date Night Ideas to get some unique and creative suggestions.
- Choose active over passive. Active dates typically allow for more conversation and set you up for more creative experiences and better conversations than a passive date in front of a screen.
- Choose creative over extravagant. I’m all for a fancy date night every once in a while, but you don’t have to break the bank just because it’s a date.
Date nights aren’t the “be-all, end-all” of marriage, but they do allow couples to experience some quality time together, whether you choose to date at home or outside the house. I’ve written several other posts about the importance of dating your spouse on my site, which I’ve listed below. I’ve also linked to a post by Tim Challies who has a very different take on date nights. I appreciate his main points even though I don’t agree with everything he says. Finally, I’ve included a list of helpful books, articles, and a few other suggestions.
- How You Can Date Your Spouse According to the 5 Love Languages – a creative list of date night ideas broken up according to the 5 Love Languages.
- Stuff I Like Saturdays: Date Night Edition – a collated list of date night posts from Desiring God, my site, and a few others.
- You Don’t Need a Date Night, by Tim Challies – this is the post I referenced above. Some different, but still helpful thoughts.
- Date Your Wife: A Husband’s Guide, by Justin Buzzard.
- Fun Loving You: Enjoying Your Marriage in the Midst of the Grind, by Ted Cunningham
- Podcasts: How to Date Like Newlyweds No Longer How Long You’ve Been Married, by Fierce Marriage.
- Datebox: Date Night Made Simple – a unique, creative way to bring back the magic of date night!
- What’s the most useful part of this blog post for you?
- What’s one of your most memorable date nights?
- What did you do on your last date night?
- Please share any creative date ideas with other readers!
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