Monday, February 26, 2018

Teatime Conversations: Date Night for Married Couples

Teatime Conversations: Date Night for Married Couples

Reader Question: I'm wondering what your opinion is regarding "date night" for married couples. I have heard from several people how important it is, but, frankly, I'm not convinced. It seems to me like it is impractical (financially, logistically) and I wonder if we've lost the ability to just sit on the couch with our spouse and connect. What are your thoughts?? Thanks! :)

I'm not convinced either! I have often heard the advice to have regular date nights out of the house, and many of you who are married probably have too. I’ve heard it from speakers, and I have read it in books. I have heard it so often that I don’t even remember most of the sources, but it is advice that couples are given regularly, and it goes something like this:
Married couples need to have a date night at least every other week. They need to go away overnight every two months. Once a year, the couple needs to go away for a long weekend together.
This is supposed to be extremely important, and it is supposedly one of the keys for a healthy marriage. Going out on dates and having trips alone with a spouse sounds like fun, but it is not physically or financially possible for many. I’ve been told that it doesn’t need to be expensive. You can trade off babysitting with another family. You can go on a date that is a walk through a park. I suppose you could go camping for your overnight trips, and that would be cheaper than staying in a hotel. But even these kind of dates and overnight trips are still not feasible – financially or physically – for many of those with chronic illnesses (and even for many who are not chronically ill).

The advice to have regular date nights and regular overnight trips as a couple seems like a modern American thing to me. This is not something that is commanded in Scripture, and we don't read about godly couples like Isaac and Rebekah or Mary and Joseph having the type of date nights or regular overnight getaways that we are encouraged to have today. The type of "date night" that we are encouraged to have today is not something you see happening throughout history either, yet there certainly have been strong and godly marriages throughout history.

We do need time alone with our spouses, but this can take place in our home. If a couple has children, after the children go to bed the couple can spend time playing a game, talking, watching a movie, working on a puzzle, or doing some other activity they enjoy. I like your idea of simply sitting on the couch to spend time together and connect. Going out to a nice restaurant or special event can be fun, but it isn’t necessary to build a strong marriage relationship.

Teatime Conversations: Date Night for Married Couples

Will and I usually have “date night in” instead of leaving our house for a date. This is much easier on me physically. I do enjoy going out for a meal occasionally with my husband, but a date out of the house usually only happens once or twice a year for us. If I am not feeling well enough, then it is too hard to sit up at a table and talk anyway, so staying at home can allow for better conversation. When I am not up for talking, we enjoy watching a favorite TV show and eating popcorn while in bed. Usually I have energy for both a little bit of talking and watching television. But when I don’t have energy to talk, and I only have energy to watch TV with my husband, I enjoy his company and simply being with him.

Date night out is great, but what if instead of focusing so much on having regular dates and overnight getaways, we spent more time studying what the Bible says about marriage and the role of husbands and wives, and then we put that into practice? How might our marriages change and flourish? If we all took seriously the commands in Titus 2:1-8, Ephesians 5:22-33, and 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, I think that would go much farther in strengthening our marriages than regular date nights.

A few years ago Tim Challies wrote an article called You Don’t Need a Date Night. After hearing for so many years how important date night is, I was so happy to read this article!

I don’t think we need to put pressure on ourselves to have date nights with our husbands in the modern American way. There are plenty of ways to grow closer together as a married couple without going out for a date night.

I would love to hear from all of you! What are your thoughts on date nights for married couples? Do you find them to be a necessity? Do you consider them fun, but not a key to a healthy marriage? What ways do you enjoy connecting with your husband that work within whatever physical or financial limitations you may have?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

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