Host Vincent Ketchie admits that he has not always been a great “dater.” Sometimes he has been overeager and gone overboard, other times, he has not considered Laura’s feelings when planning a date. Even still, there are times when his attitude is not all that great.
What Is A Healthy Date?
Every couple needs to define what a great date would be. Decide where you both feel most comfortable, where you both can enjoy your time together. For some this may mean going out, for others it may mean having a very intentional “at home” date. If you are a stay-at-home parent or you work at home, going out can create distance between you and your work, which helps to create a more relaxing environment. It is about intentionally creating an atmosphere. Ask yourself, “What are the boundaries I’m putting up to create a date atmosphere?”
Frequency & Duration
It is recommended that couples have date nights once a week, however, some unconventional options such as date days or date afternoons may work best for others. It is important to have an extended time of reconnection, preferably three or four hours at a time.
It is best when you can establish a specific day and time for date nights as it helps to build anticipation and builds a boundary around your special time together.
It is important for the couple to decide ahead of time on boundaries surrounding conversation. Date night is not meant for tackling difficult issues. Keep date night free of stressful conversation. A specific time should be set aside to discuss topics such as business, finances, family problems, and disciplining children. A suggestion would be to call this time “family business time” and have a time set aside specific to it, so that it does not creep into date night fun.
Date night is about nurturing your relationship—a time to learn more about your spouse. Dreaming together is important. You can talk about the things that excite you—books, movies, activities, trips you want to go on with your family. It could be an opportunity for deep spiritual connection, discussing what you have learned from Bible reading and/or devotions.
To learn how to make the best out of your conversation on date night, please listen to “Five Behaviors That Break Down A Conversation.”
Don’t Lose Sight of Your “Couplehood”
Spouses sometimes get caught up in their own individual lives. Work, family, and other activities can create so much independence in spouses that time to reconnect is paramount. They forget how to have fun together—how to be a couple.
Does Date Night Mean “Sex Night”?
Vincent and Laura discuss the sometimes unspoken expectation that having a date night ends in sex. Laura suggests that this topic be discussed rather than setting up the situation for disappointment. She does not, however, discourage spontaneous sex. Couples need to communicate their expectations, but be open for spontaneity.
Forget Your Phone
The purpose of date night is to reconnect. Smartphones are a distraction. Discuss with your spouse the limits you two should place on smartphone usage during your date. (This basically means, don’t mindlessly scroll through social media while your spouse is talking. It’s understandable to have your phone for emergencies and if your kids are with a sitter.)
To learn more about how smartphone use breaks down conversation, listen to our podcast episode “Five Behaviors That Break Down Conversation.”
Planning Date Night
Vincent recommends that the husband take the initiative in planning date night. Ideally, dates will involve activities that both spouses enjoy. Be intentional in planning activities. One date may be an activity that only one spouse particularly enjoys, but with the plans of having other dates that the other spouse enjoys.
Laura mentions that date night is an opportunity to learn more about your spouse. Consider date night a fun course in getting to know your spouse better! It could be the best class you’ve ever taken!