Dr. Tate Cockrell
Why Date Nights Are Important
I was at a ballgame one night when I overheard a lively conversation between several women who were sitting near me. The women were bemoaning how little time they spent with their husbands. The longer the conversation went, the angrier they became. I started thinking I might need to change seats for fear of being hit and killed by an estrogen laced dart. After about twenty minutes of spirited conversation between the women, I quietly slipped out of my seat to get a refill of my nachos and Diet Coke, avoiding my potential demise from the fury of a group of women scorned.
In talking with couples, there are several things that are consistent among marriages that thrive - one of which is that healthy couples have dates on a regular basis. They carve out specific time to spend together apart from family, friends, children, work, or the everyday pressures of life. They see time with one another as a priority. They know that they need to spend time together, and they want to spend time together. Here are four important reasons to date your spouse.
First, dating your spouse communicates that your relationship is a priority. We all spend money and time doing the things that are important to us. Nothing frustrates me more than to hear a spouse claim that they just can’t seem to find the time to go out on dates. Yet, they always seem to find time for shopping, golf, tennis lessons, caring for children, hair appointments, exercising, hunting, and reading. You get the point. Honestly, if you are like most people, you long for your spouse to ask you out on a date. So, don’t wait for your spouse to make the first move. Take the initiative and ask them to go out with you.
Second, dating your spouse allows you a chance to reconnect. Let’s face it, most couples live frenetic lives. I read a study once that claimed the average couple spent less than seven minutes in meaningful conversation each week after they had been married for five years. Dating your spouse provides an environment where the two of you can connect more deeply than you can in the midst of the rigors of everyday life. If you don’t date, then you probably get very little if any meaningful time with your spouse. It’s mostly the logistics of life. Dating gives you an opportunity to reconnect with the best parts of your spouse that often get lost during the frenzy of a busy week.
Third, dating your spouse allows you to laugh together. Proverbs says, “A cheerful heart does good like a medicine.” Many marriages could use a healthy dose of laughter medicine. Many couples never laugh together because they never spend any time doing anything out of the ordinary. They are stuck in the same routine day in and day out. They never break from the norm. They never do anything out of character. Dating is a great place to spice up your life and LIVE a little.
Fourth, dating your spouse prevents someone else from dating him/her. I’ve spent a lot of time with couples who have been through the pain of infidelity. It’s amazing how many spouses say that what drew them outside of their marriage was the fact that someone was interested in them. We were all created to have meaningful connections with other people. So, if your spouse isn’t getting that from you, he or she is getting it somewhere else – another man/woman, a group of friends, a coworker, a job, etc.
As a couple you should have goals on how often you want to date. If you never have goals, you’ll probably never follow through. Wendy and I have a simple date formula that we have used for over 20 years. We strive for two dates per month, one date weekend a quarter and one date week a year. People often tell me – “We could NEVER do that.” Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We did it when we had a combined household income of $16,700 a year. We did it when we were raising twin infants. We did it when I was working on a double Master’s degree and Ph.D. We did it when I was traveling thousands of miles a year and Wendy worked full-time. YOU CAN DO IT!!
So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading this blog, pick up the phone, and call your spouse to ask him/her out on a date. It will pay dividends you just can’t imagine.