You wake up Friday morning, excited. You have a hot date tonight! With your man!
You confirm with the sitter. Make sure the kids have an appropriate dinner (i.e., something frozen). Get the Important Numbers list out. You and your husband are texting all day about the date, either making plans or excitedly anticipating the plans you’ve already made.
As you go to bed that night, you think back on the date.
It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great. You went to one of your favorite restaurants – yay! You ordered an appetizer and ate it s.l.o.w.l.y. while you were talking about that thing that happened at the office on Monday.
Boy, that was tasty, you think as the handsome guy across from you is giving you the update on soccer practices and art previews from school this week.
The dessert is even better than the food… and the conversation, which is now centered on that issue with your uncle from forever ago. Humph.
Oh well. The conversation wasn’t that great, but we needed that time to catch up!
Your plan for after dinner was to go hear some live music and walk through the botanical gardens that are open at night, but you’re so tired, you both agree to go see the newest Bourne movie. (Good choice, by the way.)
Later you think, where did we go wrong? How did we not feel more – connected? Romantic? Flirtatious? Alive?
Here’s the one thing you must do if you want to actually enjoy your date night
Hold that thought (cruel, right?).
You might think I’m about to tell you to quit talking about the kids and school on your date, right? But you need to go back a little further than that.
To actually enjoy your date night, you must have a “catch up” time every day.
Yes. Every day.
As a couple, build into your routine a time each day that’s set aside just to listen to each other. Pour out any “business” (school and work) from the day. Lay out big decisions or worries you’re wrestling with. Pray together.
This might sound scary to you, or it might sound dreamy to you.
It might sound scary because it sounds like it takes a long time! It will at first, like most new rhythms. But once you’ve built it in, you’ll find that sometimes it only takes 10 minutes. Other times, it does take about an hour to really hear each other and care and pray for each other.
Plus, you actually have to hold off on turning on the TV… I know!
It might sound dreamy because it’s something you desire, but it would be difficult for your spouse to be on board with it. Let them know at a happy time (not during a fight) that having a certain time to be heard is important to you and makes you feel loved. Pray that God would make your spouse receptive and committed.
When you’re spending this kind of quality time together every day, you both expect it, you fight for it, and then when you have a date night planned, you can really have fun and converse just the two of you and re-learn all about each other!
And here’s one little bonus tip, especially for the tired and exhausted marriage couple:
Order coffee or tea at the beginning of your date
This sounds a little counterintuitive, maybe – don’t you want to sleep later? But, when we’re in those tired, tired seasons with littles, the first thing I do on a date is order a cappuccino.
If we’re paying for a sitter and spending time and money and energy to work at our marriage, then I want to give him my best – and my best comes with a shot of espresso! At this stage of my life, my caffeine sensitivity has been buried with months of no sleep, so I don’t have a sleepless night later, but even if I did, it would be worth it to build in special bonding time with my man.
Thanks to my husband, whose sermon on Song of Solomon inspired this post!