Before you get into reading, we want you to know that these ingredients aren’t scientific, or based on heavy research, it’s simply things that have worked for us. Now we’d be lying if we said they were all original ideas. We value our friends and the council of older, wiser married couples who’ve gone before us. We look up to quite a few couples in our church and that we’ve encountered in ministry and life. Though we couldn’t really tell you which ones came from who, we know that their input and advice has helped shape these ingredients.
1. Something out of the ordinary (David’s idea)
I hear the word “Staycation” here and there. For us, that just doesn’t work. When we’re at home, we fall back into routines, notice things that need to get done and so on. A date is the same way, it needs to have some component that changes things up from the norm. I don’t mean that a date needs to be extravagant or expensive, it just needs to have a unique piece to it. Maybe it’s as simple as trying a new flavor at your favorite ice cream shop, maybe it’s over the top and going on an overnight get away, just do something different.
2. Focus, focus, focus (David’s idea)
Smart phones are awesome, so are TVs with sports, and so is the waiter, and so is my wife’s makeup, and so is the camera. I’m sure this ingredient is obvious to many, but you’d be surprised how many people we see playing with their smartphones for some reason or another, or ignoring their date to watch some baseball game on TV. Make a commitment to focus on each other on your date. If you have kids, you might not have a choice but to bring your phone with you, but you don’t have to look at it every 5 seconds for every FB or IG update. Remember who you went on a date with, you probably didn’t ask the TV out on a date.
3. Talk about deep things
If you’re married, like us, we find ourselves talking about what we did over the course of the day. That’s not a bad thing and is definitely a great starting point. But often we forget to talk about how those things made us feel. Some helpful questions to go deep might be:
- How you been feeling lately? Anything I can do to help?
- I’ve been feeling kind of ________________.
- Where do you hope we are in 3 years?
- Are you worried about anything?
- How can I pray for you?
Maybe we’ll cover this more in a separate post, but talking about deep things isn’t always easy. It takes practice. There’s a time to just provide comfort or affirmation, there’s a time to offer feedback and maybe some gentle critique, there’s a time to just listen and let your spouse get something off their chest. Do the hard work and talk about deep things.
4. Don’t talk so much
My wife has a past as a social worker, and i’m just naturally talkative. But there’s plenty of times when we don’t want to talk and just be together. Or maybe we just need a break from talking about some thing, because we’ve over-exhausted talking about that. It’s times like these when we head out the door for a date that doesn’t need much talking. Since we have two little ones right now, that might mean a family dessert outing, usually boba or halo halo. Really what’s important is that we’re doing something and not just talking.
5. Make it Special
There’s something about putting in effort for your date night, or date lunch. Make it special. It means a lot to your spouse to know that you value the time and still want to impress them.
- Dress Up – Guys, iron your shirt, don’t wear your most comfortable pair of basketball shorts. Ladies, just because you have 3 children doesn’t mean you have to wear clothes with spit up and marker stains. Don’t look like you gave up.
- Wash the car and take out the car seats – This is really for guys. Remember before you were married and you’d clean the car spotless before a date? It means just as much to your wife now as it did then, if not more. If she’s all dolled up and sits in a ketchup stain, it just isn’t the most thrilling thing.
- Hold hands – This may or may not even be a thing for you because you as a couple are naturally “touchy feely.” My wife makes me giddy when she holds my hand and I love it!
- Have a plan – This just goes back to making it special. When you have a plan and had to do some level of work to make the date happen, it adds to the specialness of the date. For us it makes the date more exciting because the week before we’re building anticipation for either the surprise my wife planned or the date we planned together.
All these things are great ways to show love for one another, but in and of themselves they aren’t love. Be sure to work on loving your wife or husband and let all these fun dates and more flow from that love. The perfect book to learn about loving one another is the Bible and the perfect person to learn from is God. After all, He did create it! Our hope is that if you’re reading this, that you’re growing in your love for each other as husband and wife. We would love to hear your ingredients and how you make your dates fun!! Leave a comment or something!