Date nights are great. They break the monotony of work/kids activities/sleep that has become commonplace in our culture.
For many, date nights are a refuge from the mundane and a time to connect with your spouse. The well-known ingredients for a good date night have become: Good food. Good company. No kids.
And sometimes, that’s okay.
But what if we thought of date nights less as a sanctuary and more as a laboratory?
What if date nights were the place where a couple experienced true, authentic intimacy by pursuing togetherness in numerous areas of their marriage?
Author Gary Thomas inspires hope in this area when he says, “True intimacy – that sense of ‘oneness’ that we all seek – has to be pursued and built rather than simply discovered and felt.”
In other words, good marriages don’t just happen. They must be cultivated and nurtured. To that end, here are some date night ideas that can help develop “oneness” in different areas of our marriages ensuring greater and deeper intimacy with our spouse.
Search for a Christian concert coming to town, a special praise and worship night at a local church, or a nearby marriage conference and attend it with your spouse. Too often we consider a one-hour, Sunday morning church service enough of an investment into the spiritual fabric of our marriages. If we desire spiritual intimacy with each other, we must be willing to set aside the quality and quantity of time needed to nurture spiritual oneness. After the event, go out for dessert and discuss with your spouse how s/he can support you in your spiritual walk.
No, this is not about sex (we’ll get to that later!). This date involves the type of physical intimacy that evolves when a couple establishes an activity that they can enjoy together. Whether it’s walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, or some other type of activity, doing something physical together not only helps you stay healthy but also builds in time for conversation and connection.
Our lives are an accumulation of distractions – mostly electronic ones – so eliminating those distractions is imperative if you desire deep, emotional intimacy with your spouse. Find a cabin, go camping, or send the kids to the grandparents. Next, disconnect every possible distraction from your life and really listen to each other. Share your struggles, your fears, your hurts, your dreams. What’s working well in your marriage? What things need to change? Problems don’t solve themselves; however, we rarely give the time needed to solve problems in our marriages. Now is the time.
Too often we have feelings about sex we don’t verbalize which can lead to resentment, anxiety, and even anger. These feelings often stand in the way of authentic sexual intimacy and the “oneness” God desires for our marriage. This date night requires a night/weekend away and a lot of vulnerability. Discuss things like sexual frequency, arousal, and other preferences during sex like time of day, setting/lighting, or even sexual positions. It’s not uncommon for two people to have been married for decades to not have had an open, honest conversation about one of the most intimate areas of marriage.
After 25 years of marriage, my wife and I continue to seek the “oneness” God desires from our marriage. It was the driving force behind our devotional Undivided Marriage: When TWO People Become ONE Flesh. In the book, we focus on ten specific areas of marriage to develop greater intimacy. We also share ten great date night ideas for each of those areas.
Developing “oneness” in marriage does not happen magically on your wedding day. As Gary Thomas says, “True intimacy…has to be pursued.”