Fix the Disconnect: 7 Simple Steps to Re-establishing a Date Night

It’s Friday, and for Dave and Anne, it’s “date day.”

It wasn’t always that way. Almost 19 years ago, Anne married a workaholic who felt the urgency (and still does) to get work done 7 days a week. I can use that as an excuse and chalk that up to the nature of my work ethic. Or like any thing God has given me, I can be a steward (manager) of it instead of a victim of it. Excuses are just that: excuses. The Apostle Paul said it best,

“…I must not become a slave to anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

“Date day” is something we wish we would’ve established years ago. It’s been healing to us and has reestablished the connection we needed. It’s amazing how a consistent intimate connection like a “date” can, over time, bring health to every area of your marriage. I mean, it’s how we connected back in 1995 which lead to a long relationship. And that long relationship, through this type of connection, brought us to engagement and marriage. But for some reason, the template for connection (dating) is abandoned once the wedding is over.

I’ve heard all of the excuses. From time to money to the agreeing on what to do, it seems like we look for reasons to NOT date our spouse instead finding and making opportunities to be with them.  It happened to us and we believe it can happen to anyone. No money for a date? We understand. Having no funds for a baby sitter? We get it. Packed schedule? Yep. But the love within you must overcome the obstacles facing you. If we are to be honest about it all, most of the obstacles we’re facing are more mental, emotional, and spiritual than physical. You may see something keeping you from dating your spouse, but deep down, the struggle is more internal than external.

I’m very thankful for the words of John,

“…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Someone told me a great piece of advice a while ago. “If you don’t date your spouse, the devil will find someone else who will.” It sound so overly dramatic and intense, but it’s the truth. When we pull away from connection with out spouse, the devil looks at that as prime opportunity for temptation.

So I thought I’d share some dating “tips” to help you stay connected and/or re-establish that dating pattern that you exercises before you said “I do.”

  1. Have the conversation.
    • This is where it all begins. To me, it’s not just about admitting that dates are not happening. It’s about a resolve to make it happen.
  2. Pick a time.  
    • This is the most simple part of a date that so many people don’t get past. I deal with couples all the time who are so wrapped up in “what are we going to do.” Start by agreeing on a time/day and let that begin the momentum.
  3. Guard the time. 
    • It’s not just about establishing a day or time. Guard it. For us, if we are doing our scheduling, we guard our time as to show each other how much we value that time.
    • Establish some “rules.” Some people will have rules like “no phones during the date” to “no double-dates” (as some just need some “couple time”).
  4. Create a date pattern. 
    • Dates don’t have to be massive undertakings. Sometimes quality time can be experienced in simplicity.
      • Anne and I take consistent walks together (literally no cost) and Sunday evenings is a consistent “walk time” for us. It gives us a connection to develop the week’s expectations as far as our schedule.  We love our neighborhood but have walked Celery Flats or Al Sabo. Being on the west side of Michigan, we love waking out on a pier out on Lake Michigan.
      • Fridays are the “go out” date days. We chose the afternoon to go out and enjoy time together.
  5. Get creative. 
    • Find things you both like to do.
    • Rotate between the two of you on who choses the date activity.
    • Mix up what you are doing so that you don’t get in a dating rut.
  6. Make alliances. (Forgive me, but I’m re-watching Survivor on Hulu so this is fresh on my mind.)
    • Find a few families and make a “dating alliance.” This is where you can rotate watching each other’s children as to eliminate the cost of childcare.
    • Link up with other couples to double-date or group-date. Don’t have all of your dates be with other people but you need to get out with other couples. The more we hang out with others, the more normal you’ll feel.
  7. Don’t get frustrated. 
    • You may pick a day that, in the long run, wasn’t the best day. Congratulations, you just discovered something you may need to change or push through. Instead of feeling terrible about something you may call a “failure,” see it as “fine-tuning” your dating pattern.

 

I love the words in the book of Revelation that Jesus gives to the church in Ephesus,

“You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!…Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.” Revelation 2:4-5

Jesus connected a pattern of their life to the disconnect of their heart. And if that simple concept can transform us in our closeness to Christ, imagine the impact it could have in our marriage.

Love you all.  Praying for you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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