Warmer Together

I’m a serial dater. Technically, I’ve been dating the same man for 12 years now, but that qualifies, right?

I think I’ll always be a fan of date nights. There’s just something about a hard stop in the middle of the week that is both comforting and exciting. No matter what, come Thursday, Riley and I will be spending quality time together. If it’s a chaotic season for us, we plan a bit of quiet (like an evening reading in front of the fire or dinner and a movie in); during the long stretches of regularity, date night brings new adventures for us (like exploring a nearby town or ice skating).

I’d very much like to talk you into dating your spouse if you haven’t already incorporated this rhythm into your marriage. Let’s cover a few of the main arguments and then get to the good stuff: ideas and resources!

1. Dating isn’t for married people.

Actually, dating is one of the reasons Riley and I are still married people (who like each other). We’ve found that regularly connecting in a significant way is crucial to our relational health. The world fights against our one-ness; why wouldn’t we intentionally fight back? Our marriage has to come before what anyone else (besides Jesus) might think.*

2. Dating isn’t cheap.

I’ll admit, it can become pretty pricey. But when our budget and willpower reflect our priorities, things usually fall into place. Besides, there are millions of ways to get creative. Eat your dinner in the car watching the sunset together. Go for a hike. Spend a couple of hours asking one another deep/funny questions. It doesn’t have to cost your firstborn child to make your marriage a priority. Speaking of which…

3. Dating isn’t for parents.

I’ve heard it said that the best thing a dad can do for his kids is to love their mom well (and vice versa). I’d argue that dating is even more crucial if you have kids than if you don’t. So many couples find themselves reeling when the nest empties because they’ve forgotten one another in the meantime. If babysitters would cost too much, try some date nights in after bedtime or swap childcare evenings with another couple.

4. Dating isn’t my strong suit.

You’re in luck, friend. Date nights are more about your relationship than about what you do. (Some of my favorite memories are dates gone horribly, horribly wrong.) If you’re struggling with ideas on how to get started, I’ll make it really simple. Here are some options we’ve tried, along with others still on our date night bucket list:

  • vacation planning night
  • roller skating
  • surprise date
  • living room campout
  • decorating mugs
  • random kindness spree around town
  • late night adventure
  • grabbing a treat at the coffee shop
  • seasonal photo scavenger hunt
  • visiting local attractions
  • fancy date
  • laser tag
  • try baking a new dessert
  • spending $10 on each other on a shopping spree
  • movie theme night
  • brunch date
  • picnic in the park
  • paint night
  • window shopping at the mall
  • food truck date
  • creating and celebrating your own country
  • sunrise picnic breakfast
  • manual labor date
  • progressive dinner around town
  • drive-in movie
  • double date
  • game night

Some ground rules: it’s only fun when both spouses have an open mind. Turn off your phones if possible. Feel free to limit stressful topics. And you might snap a picture during each date night to document your adventures. Other than that, use your imagination to bless your spouse! Marriages are precious, and it’s a gift to be able to pour into them regularly.

If you’re not quite sold or just want more info, here are three other resources on the subject:

The Dating Divas website (which has tons of suggestions and ideas)

52 Uncommon Dates by Randy Southern (if you’d like to take your relationship outings up a notch)

Pinterest (all the date night lists you’ll ever need)

*And Jesus is on board.

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