Don’t miss out on developing a deeper spiritual intimacy with your spouse. Jim and Cathy Burns’ book Closer gives couples the opportunity to invest 20 minutes each week in spiritual intimacy and connection.
A Nonnegotiable Date Night
When the butterflies of early romance flutter away, they are often replaced by the familiar, predictable feelings of long-term attachment. This can be a good thing, but sometimes romance needs to be rekindled. Weekend getaways are wonderful—when you can get away—but day-to-day living quickly eclipses those rare romantic times. We have noticed that friends who keep the spark in their marriages seem to have one thing in common: They have regular, nonnegotiable date nights. Even date nights can become routine, but when a couple proactively injects novelty and energy into their relationship, those exciting butterflies return, re-creating the chemical surges of early courtship.
Do you have a regularly scheduled date with your spouse every week or every other week? If you don’t, you may be missing an emotional connection that will keep the fires burning in your relationship. Couples who don’t put energy and focus into their dating relationship settle for second best in their marriage bond. It becomes more of a business relationship. I know that I (Jim) must often ask myself: “Am I giving Cathy only my emotional scraps?” I need—and want—to reserve some of my best energy and focus for our weekly date. For us, this means we try to focus more on each other rather than the latest household bill or our children’s schooling.
We have read of a study where researchers instructed married couples to spend ninety minutes a week on a date with each other. The couples who did this tended to enjoy their marriage more than couples who did not take time out for regular dates. The researchers then divided the dating couples into two groups. They challenged one group to do “exciting” activities that appealed to both the husband and wife, like attending a concert or play, and physical activities like hiking or skiing. These are the dates that typically take some time to plan. The other group was asked to do pleasant, more common activities like dining out or going to a movie. Although both groups enjoyed the dates, the couples that shared exciting, more unique activities tended to maintain more romantic intensity.
So make a regular date with your spouse a nonnegotiable appointment. Then plan the date before you are heading out of the driveway! At our marriage seminars we invite couples to think outside the box about possible dates. Enjoying a stronger emotional connection will benefit your relationship, and the romance isn’t all that bad either!