How to Date Your Mate


When money, time, stress and fatigue are the strongest, you and your spouse need to exercise the most grace. Delight in simplifying your experience together so that you can learn to just “be.”

Q. Dinner and a movie seems to be our only outlet when we can even pull that off, with the cost of babysitting, fatigue and the daily grind. Any date ideas to spruce up our romance would be appreciated!

We love this question because we all have been there or are there today! Fitting in paying the bills, doing the lawn and laundry, kid’s activities, work, church, visiting our parents and more can wear us out and lead us to making the mistake of putting our dating life on the back burner. And just like putting gas in the car regularly keeps it running, dating helps keep the relational tank of our marriage running. But we need to remember some things:

First of all, dating during marriage is a lot different than dating before marriage. When we were dating prior to marriage we had insecurities, we were putting our best foot forward, trying to impress and likely trying to discern “Is this the one?” But now that “the ring has gone on,” we need to date with intentionality and purpose to both be a student of our mate and serve our mate.

As we are serving our mate it is helpful to focus on how to connect to the love needs of our spouse in our marital dating. What does our spouse need in the areas of unconditional love? Encouragement? Marital friendship? Connection in the areas of emotions, physical and spiritual needs? When we frame the dating in order to meet those needs in our spouse it becomes contagious as our sweetheart then purposes to meet our needs in subsequent dates. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

We wrote a book called 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate to help you learn how to practice the art of dating. We not only offer ideas but also how to prepare, ways to connect during the date and after the date, and even questions at five different levels of depth to steer the conversation of the connection.

Barb and I have learned that sometimes we need to (and are able to) splurge a bit, but one of our finest memories is laying a blanket on the floor and having a picnic in the chill of a winter night. We cherish time of holding hands as we watch a romantic movie and share memories of how we connected early.

Other times it is taking a walk and listening to one another’s dreams and visions over a cup of coffee at the corner cafe, or parking under an oak tree and recalling memories of days gone by, pledging to remember and speak into each other in the days ahead.

I think the punch-line is when money, time, stress and fatigue are the strongest…we need to exercise the most grace and delight in simplifying our experience so that we can just “be.” We can pretty much guarantee you that if you stop, plan, swap babysitting with some friends, and initiate and purpose to be “other-centered,” focusing your attention on serving your mate during a date, you will win!

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