I can’t remember when I first heard someone tell me that I was supposed to take my wife out on a date every week but it was a long time ago. I know the suggestion wasn’t intended to be some kind of “law for being a godly husband” but the idea stuck with me and has been a practice of ours for many years.
The heart behind this idea is that marriages are healthy when there's purposeful effort to build your friendship together. This happens best when you have intentional one on one time for personal communication... like a date.
I thought I would start a conversation with the men at SGC about dating your wives and give you a few suggestions from some of the things I’ve learned over the years and some of the mistakes I’ve made.
Confession: I hate planning. I would much prefer to just get in the car and drive one evening and have us wake up from this Spirit-led trance and find ourselves sitting in our new favorite restaurant or listening to our new favorite band playing at Levitt’s Pavilion. (That hasn’t happened yet- but I’ve only been doing this for about 30 years.) Now let me tell you what my lack of planning has communicated to my wife: that I don’t care about her enough to plan. I also hate planning because there is always a flaw in every plan I make: a restaurant that you would never go to again, or a rained out picnic or 60mph winds at the beach. These things will not have near the negative effects on your friendship than not making a plan will. You might not be a good planner but your wife will appreciate your willingness to try. Just go for it. Laugh at the failures and move on.
Call me weird, but sometimes I am happiest when I am sitting in the same restaurant in the same booth eating the same thing on the same night of the week. (I think it has something to do with not planning). Call my wife weird but she doesn’t like this so much. Going somewhere we’ve never been, experiencing something new together, doing something different has a way of spurring conversation, learning new things about each other, and creating fun memories to share. On one special occasion we went to the opera. We may never go the opera again but it was a fun experience to do something we've never done before - together.
This is the most important part. Whether you're sitting in Mi Piace or hanging out by a taco truck or taking a walk around the Rose Bowl, it’s the conversation that does it. For many of us men, conversation isn't a strong suit. I understand that when we're not so good at something, we tend to make some mistakes. Here’s one: learn when to shut up about your work! She is only so interested in your job - so don’t push it. You are much better off taking an interest in her. How is she doing? What makes her happy? What kinds of challenges is she facing? If your conversation tends to dry up or only seems to revolve around household functions and schedules, then do something to spark some personal conversation!
Tami and I like to read and talk about what we’ve read. We also like to hike together. It’s often peaceful, it’s exercise, and we’re together. Whatever you find that you both enjoy, remember that it’s the communication- personal, non-business communication that's the real key to growing a friendship.
So. . .what thoughts do you guys have? Mistakes you’ve made, things you’ve learned, great cheap dates, ideas for special occasions? Put a comment in and we’ll help each other build healthier marriages.