It's your night out together. It comes around every week. What can you do to make date night great? Here are a few tips on how to plan and prepare for a date with your mate so you can have a fun and meaningful time.
1. Purpose—The reason you make time for weekly date nights is so that you and your honey can put your hurried life and responsibilities on hold and have some fun together, share on a deeper level, emotionally connect, foster a close bond and strengthen your marriage.
2. Plan—The best dates are planned, even when they seem spontaneous. It is important to your spouse to know that you have put some thought into date night because you value this time together. So, get out your calendar and plan ahead!
3. Prepare for the date, part 1—What will you be doing, where will you be going, do reservations need to be made and at what time...? Be creative! Although going to familiar places is nice, a new adventure once in a while shows you care. Date night needn't even be at night. You don't have to spend lots of money—you could put dinner and candles in a picnic basket and walk into the back yard. Or get on your bikes and ride to a spot with a great view. Don't know what your spouse may be in the mood for? Ask! Do it romantically. One night (gentlemen!), lie in bed with your wife and look into her eyes, touch her face, say her name, and ask her what she considers to be an ideal date night. Brainstorm together! You may need to be extra creative, especially where COVID restrictions are still in place.
4. Prepare for the date, part 2—Clear the decks! Kids need to be organized, the babysitter arranged for and dinner provided. Dogs or other pets must be fed, walked, taken care of, etc.
5. Prior preparation—If you know that date night is every Thursday, it would be good to start setting the tone a few days prior. Don't wait until date night to express special interest in your spouse. That's not the purpose of date night.
6. The day of—Show excitement about your upcoming time together. Send a text stating how you are looking forward to your date together. This will make your mate feel special and loved.
7. The date—Men, treat her like your blushing bride, your special lady. Be gentlemanly, open her car door, let her go first, be considerate and thoughtful. Smile, hold hands, look into each other's eyes, put your phone away and be emotionally present. Have a few ideas of what to talk about during your date. Have your conversations be a mix of funny things, interesting topics; as well as deeper, personal heart-felt things. Stuck on what to say? Discuss a part of a book you are reading together (you'll need to pick a book!).
Know what not to talk about: i.e., hot topics, unresolved issues, unrepaired hurts; and any people, places or things that you have widely differing views about which have the potential to trigger arguments. If you have serious work, financial, family or life issues to resolve, save it for another time. Don't discuss it on date night. Also, try not to drink alcohol. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, potentially causing date night conversations to go sideways.
8. Get back on track—If for some reason you get on a subject that triggers a hot topic response, or someone's feelings get hurt and it seems things are going sideways… get the conversation back on track. How do you do that? Simply say, "Love of my life, I think we have taken a wrong turn and I would like to get back on track and enjoy our time together. Can we revisit this topic another time and enjoy the rest of our date night?"
9. The end of the date—The expectation for intimacy at the end of date night often weighs heavily on a couple, especially the wife. Remember the importance of having the 'date ideas' conversation (see point #4)? Perhaps include in that discussion the expectation of whether or not to expect intimacy on date night. Clarify expectations ahead of time. If you both agree to end date night with intimacy, then put extra effort into fostering a safe and pleasant experience. Have clean sheets, get washed up, set the mood in the bedroom. Creating romance shows you care. Intimacy flows out of the emotional closeness you and your spouse share. The more connected a couple feels, the more open they will be to intimacy. Communicate that you don't just want a happy ending, but a deep emotional connection where you can both fully enjoy it. Remember that if kids are awake, they could come into the room at any moment; or if the curtains are cracked someone could see in. Women, particularly, will more than likely be concerned about remedying these issues before getting "in the mood."
10. The day after—Thank your spouse for a lovely time on date night. Share one thing that was especially enjoyable about the evening. This solidifies your memories and emotional bond.
11. Repeat every week—This comes out to 2,600 dates over a 50-year marriage! Wow. What an opportunity for a lot of fun adventures to share together. Maybe you ought to get started planning your next date night right now.
"For husbands, this means love your wife, just as Christ loved the church" Ephesians 5:25
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14