Make a Great DateIn his book, marriage coach and author Mort Fertel says a happy marriage requires scheduled fun time together every week. In...
Make a Great Date
In his book, marriage coach and author Mort Fertel says a happy marriage requires scheduled fun time together every week. In fact, he says that the most successful marriages are those in which the rules of dating ‑- be romantic, make special plans in advance and so on ‑- still apply. In this excerpt, he shares four ideas for making date night a regular part of your happily married routine:
I know a couple who were avid tennis players. They enjoyed tennis together throughout their courtship. Two years after they married, their marriage was in trouble. When was the last time they played tennis together? About two years ago. Is tennis only for dating?
Get out of the houseHow did you spend time together when you fell in love? How often did you go out when you were dating? It's time to start...
Get out of the house
How did you spend time together when you fell in love? How often did you go out when you were dating? It's time to start dating again ‑- dating your spouse.
I don't think it's possible to succeed in marriage and experience true love without spending at least one night a week together.
Date night can work magic in your marriage if you follow four guidelines.
1. Get out of the house. No activity at home counts toward date night. Home will remind you of your practical and logistical matters. And if you have children... well, that's not a date.
Look at Each Other2. No movies and no other entertainment that requires you to face in the same direction. You'll need to face each other. You...
Look at Each Other
2. No movies and no other entertainment that requires you to face in the same direction. You'll need to face each other. You are the entertainment. (There is an exception to this rule. If you have enough time, you can watch a movie and then spend a couple of hours talking over dinner. In any event, the point is that you need at least a couple of hours to really be together.)
3. Don't invite anyone else, and don't attend anything social. Date night is for you and your spouse only.
Take Your Time4. Schedule at least a couple of hours for date night. Don't tell your oldest child or the babysitter that you'll be back in an...
Take Your Time
4. Schedule at least a couple of hours for date night. Don't tell your oldest child or the babysitter that you'll be back in an hour. Date night should be an evening.
Here's a suggestion for parents of small children. Like a physical fitness program, sometimes the hardest part of a Marriage Fitness program is mustering consistent inspiration. In other words, you may initiate date night this week, but what about next week and the week after? Can you do it consistently? Why test yourself? Here's an easy solution my wife and I discovered.
Rather than relying on your initiative each week, find a babysitter to commit to work the same hours every week. Our babysitter arrives at 7pm every Wednesday night. We told her not to call to confirm ‑- just come. Now we're set every week with date night. We don't have to find the inspiration to plan it ‑- it's done. The burden is on us to cancel, not to plan.
Be Sure to ConnectDate night can help transform your marriage, but you have to tune into the spirit of the exercise. Two people can go on a date...
Be Sure to Connect
Date night can help transform your marriage, but you have to tune into the spirit of the exercise. Two people can go on a date and not connect. If you go to the mall and read a magazine while your spouse tries on clothes ‑- that's not a date. If you go to dinner and spend the evening talking to the waiter about how you want your meal prepared ‑- it's not going to have much impact on your marriage. But if you help your spouse pick out an outfit and have fun offering your opinion, you will connect. If you talk over dinner about how you might prepare the dish at home, you will achieve the purpose of date night.
My wife and I had a swimming pool in our backyard when we lived in Florida. One date night we put candles around the pool and went for a swim. We opened a bottle of wine and toasted each other while standing in the shallow end. We stared up into the starry sky and marveled at the planes that occasionally flew overhead. We talked about... what's the difference. It was an amazing evening, and it got better as the night went on.
Get creative with date night. Experiment and find fun things to do together. Take a board game to a coffee house. See if you can climb that tree on the corner of the block. Go to the local amusement park. Go race toy cars. Have a picnic in the park. Or just sit down for a quiet meal at a restaurant. Whatever you do, focus on each other. Date night is not about what you do; it's about you.
Reprinted with permission from Marriage Fitness: 4 Steps to Building & Maintaining Phenomenal Love.