Before you got her in the bedsheets, you got her in the car. Before there were children, there were late-night phone calls. Before you were married, you dated. Men: when was the last time you dated your wife? | Women: when was the last time your husband dated you? I've found a regular date night (we've picked Friday nights to be ours) to be crucial in at least maintaining an open communication channel between my wife and I, regardless if we're mad at each other or thrilled with the prospect of spending our lives with one another. The majority of the time, we thoroughly enjoy each other on date night. As a warning, there are some date nights that aren't as touchy-feely, and usually end with our backs to one another in bed that night. However, it still provides us with an environment to talk through things, look each other in the eye, and try to work our minor difficulties out (in the end, they're always minor). But I imagine for many of you reading this, you haven't dated your wife in weeks, months, or even years. Here's some tips on how to start:
Schedule ItIf you have a meeting with your boss, or a trip with your coworker, or an event at church, or a family holiday coming up, you schedule it. It's on the calendar, planned. Time, date, and place. It's in your Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, Moleskine...whatever. You know when it is. So many people, when they try to date their significant other regularly, wing it. They say "this weekend we'll do it". They don't pick a day & time, which leads to making plans instead, and another week gone by without a day. Tip #1: Schedule It.
Guard ItIt's not just enough to write it down. But you, as the man, must enforce what you've etched. That is: make sure that nothing else interferes with your date night. Guard it as if it were sacred...because it is. In my home, Friday nights are our date night. On rare (and I mean rare) occasions we shuffle it around, but Friday night is ours. We guard our date night, and our family and friends know it.
Do ItWhat to do on your first date night? Go out to eat. Talk to her over dinner. If it's your first date in a while, ask her how the marriage is going. And then listen. It's going to be rough, trust me. She'll say things you disagree with, some things that make you proud. Either way: bite your tongue. Let her talk for a while, and then converse (together=no monologue from you) about it. Dig deep. Don't take her to a movie, unless that's what she really wants. Movies are zombie-relationship-creators. Avoid them for dates. You can't even cuddle. You want interaction: coffee, bowling, tea, dancing, ice skating. If you can't afford dinner/bowling/etc., cook! (That means you, man). But here's the good thing: you get to cook what you want. Go with steak. Trust me. But then the same principles apply: don't brag about how awesome your steak is (though it may be), but instead delve down deep into the health of your relationship. Dates aren't just so that you can say you took your wife out, they are to bring value to the relationship through open communication. Still out of ideas? Try here: Stepcase Lifehack's First Date Ideas. (They work for second, fourteenth, and sixty-first dates too)
Have Kids?I could throw out stat after stat, study after study on this. But there are two principles here regarding children:
- Your marriage is more important than your children.
- Keeping your marriage healthy is the healthiest thing you can do for your children. By prioritizing your wife, you are indirectly prioritizing your kids. Remember that, and live it out.