Reclaiming Date Night

Suzanne Thomas

Recently on the FamilyLife Facebook page we asked our readers about date nights:  How often do you have them with your spouse?  What do you like to do?  What was your favorite date night?

I expected people to respond with some creative ideas, but I was surprised at the response.  Nearly everyone said they have no date nights at all, or only rarely.  Here’s what some of the responders wrote:

  • Have not had a date night since November … Could be part of our issue.
  • Since we have four kids, nobody wants to babysit for us. Consequently, we get very few. Like, one every few months.
  • Currently 0.  It’s truly hard having a demanding career like mine …
  • Big fat 0.

I was particularly sad, because date nights are so important to oneness in marriage.  Will you trust me on this?  I’ve been married for 30 years, and my husband and I still love our date nights.  I look forward to them and treasure them.

I’m not talking about expensive, fancy, spend a lot, dressing up, rent-a-limo kind of events. (Although that might be fun sometimes.)  What I’m talking about is a once-a-week date with your spouse to communicate with each other. The purpose of date night is to communicate and connect emotionally.  I’m reminded of what Solomon said to his bride in Song of Solomon:  “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice” (2:13-14).

When my husband and I had little ones in the house, we had a limited amount of money to spend on dates.  A typical evening out for us would involve picking up dinner at a fast-food Mexican drive-through, taking that food to a park, eating together, and then driving to a spot to watch the sun go down.  As for the kids, we had a group of friends at church with whom we took turns babysitting children.  At other times, we paid a teenage girl to babysit.  On those evenings, we ate even more inexpensively.  But we got out, just the two of us; we talked, shared, and it made a difference for our marriage.

Sometimes my husband and I would go out just for coffee and walk in the park, or go to an art exhibit. There were times our church offered “Parents’ Night Out” with a few hours of babysitting, free to the parents.  Sometimes we would drop the kids off for a play date during the day, and we would go out for lunch.

Don’t be shy about asking your parents or in-laws to babysit.  Try to connect with older couples in your church.  Some of them can be considered “veterans” in childcare, and they might be just the ticket for babysitting occasionally.   There are a lot of things out there to do, if we, as couples, are intentional, creative, and committed.

Dates are important for every couple, no matter what stage of family life you are in.  If date nights are not part of your schedule, consider talking to your spouse to say you miss dating and want to connect again on that emotional level.  Intentional sharing and meaningful time together are a must.

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