March 25, 2016
Date night! This may be a concept from the long forgotten past if you’re married with children. I’m amazed by the number of couples I’ve met who waved goodbye to date nights once they started having children. I’ll never forget the sage advice offered to Mary Julia and I when we took our newborn in for his first check-up with the pediatrician. The doctor, a member of our church and a good friend, looked at us while he held our son and said, “This little guy is important, but the foundation of your family is your marriage. You must prioritize your marriage if you want him to have the best.” As the busyness of life has increased, Mary Julia and I have grown to cherish the advice we received early on. Moreover, it holds us accountable when we let date nights slide.
Are date nights really that important? YES! According to the National Marriage Project (2012), date nights have several major impacts on marriage. When couples spend time together just one night a week, they experience a greater sense of open communication and mutual understanding, an increase in relationship quality, a greater sense of romance, a strong sense of commitment, and a reduction in the side effects of stress.
As a church, we believe that a couple’s time together is vitally important. A healthy couple leads to a healthy home. In hopes of jumpstarting an active dating life, we offer Parents Day/Night Out three times a year. These are times when you can drop off your children for a few hours while spending quality time together.
Has it been awhile since your last date night? Here are some tips that might help you succeed in getting a date on the calendar soon.
Home Date – On a shoestring budget? Just because it’s date night it doesn’t mean that you have you spend $75 on a babysitter and another $50 on dinner. You can still get quality time in your own home if you put the kids down early, make dinner together, and pop in a movie.
Trade babysitting – If you have friends with children, take turns with childcare to save some cash. Set up a rotation – friends go out on the first Friday and then they take your kids on the next Friday. If you don’t know anyone to trade off with, this is a great reason to join a small group at church. You’ll be able to build some relationships with people in a similar life stage and your kids will build new friendships too. (If you’re interested in finding the right small group for you, contact our Discipleship Pastor, Jacob Saltsman at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date Jar – If you’re not up for the same old date night, add variety by using a date jar. As a couple, write down suggestions for something serious, adventurous, or fun. You might even throw in ideas on trying something new together. You may love it or you may hate it. Either way, you’ll have a memory that was made together and something you’ll maybe laugh about later.
Life is undoubtedly busy, so slowing down has to be intentional. Hopefully, grafting one of these ideas into your marriage will be the next step in creating a healthier home.