As long as you're dating your spouse.
A lot of couples have "date nights". It's a fine practice, but from what I've seen, there is a lot of potential there that isn't realized.
Date night becomes something like "let's eat out and then go bowling" night, with the plan for the evening decided on the spur of the moment.
"So, what do you want to do tonight?"
"I dunno. What do you want to do?"
"I asked first."
Nothing wrong with that, but if that's what your courtship was like...it'll never make Hollywood.
Date night is the chance for a special time in your marriage, when you can focus on the most important thing you've got...no, not your golf clubs...the most important thing you've got is each other.
How do you go about it? It's not hard. Kind of like courtship, but you've got a head start.
- Alternate the responsibility for planning - this makes it an opportunity to try to think of your spouse first, and to find an activity and venue that'll please them. If you think your husband 's dream night is a tractor pull, wear earplugs, and be happy in the knowledge that he's happy - and that next time he'll be more likely to pick a night at the movies featuring a romantic comedy.
- Plan ahead - did you make plans for a date on the way to the car, when you were courting? Why do it now? The biggest part of romance is anticipation, so why cheat yourself of something to which you can look forward?
- Build up to the event - in other words, be romantic! Be demonstrative, and let your spouse know that you're looking forward to your evening together. (And this will carry over into your daily lives...which is no small benefit)
- Accentuate the positive, bypass the negative - the time leading up to date night is not for challenging your spouse's political views, or bemoaning the dryer that stopped working. If you have to mention the dryer, fine, but leave it at that...don't carry on about what a lousy choice it was. As far as politics go, isn't there enough talk in the world already? Instead, be positive, be hopeful. Share good news.
- Make the whole day special, not just the evening - include love notes in one another's lunches, or slip one into your spouse's pocket in the morning. Call (if appropriate) to say hi. Send flowers (guys love to receive flowers). Wear a special scent or aftershave.
- Looks count - it's a special day, so take pains to look special. If you need a haircut, get one. Shave carefully, and dress well. A tuxedo isn't appropriate for a tractor pull, but clean jeans and a nice shirt are.
- Follow traditional roles - guys, open doors for your wife. Ladies, accept it gracefully. You don't need to make a point of independence. Guys, you're handling the finances, even if it was your wife's turn to plan (and no complaining about cost, either of you).
- Hold hands - there's magic in the touch of hands, and this is a great opportunity. You can hold hands while walking, while driving (sometimes), while waiting for dinner, at the movie or the tractor pull. There are a lot of places and times when you can take this most basic touch. Don't let another one go by.
- Steal kisses - I don't really have to explain this, do I?
- Start a scrapbook, including a keepsake from each date - why not make a memorable evening permanent? You can use ticket stubs, or a photograph taken during the date. Be imaginative! And write a few words - each of you - about where you went and how you felt.
- If sex happens, it's a mutual gift, not expected or an obligation - the focus is togetherness, and physical intimacy can be a wonderful way to end the evening...but be sensitive. There's no greater gift a husband can give his wife than the non-expectation of sex...it says "I love you for you, without agenda." And gals, men don't always have one-track minds. They often feel they have to live up to an image, and being let off the hook can be a distinct relief.
You married to be together, but so often the pressures of married life force couples apart.
Date night is an affirmation - I want to be with you.
Make it the best it can be.
This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday on www.MessyMarriage.com. If you click on the link below, you can go there to find a great blog, and links to other bloggers who celebrate marriage...in all its beauty and banality.