Plan Date Nights

Everyone knows date nights are key to a healthy marriage, but how many of us actually throw on lipstick and heels for a night of romance once a week? This can be admittedly difficult with small kids and a lack of babysitters or if you have a blended family with complicated kid schedules. And for families on a budget, date night dinners often fall on the budgetary chopping block. I mean they aren’t necessary right? But they kinda are. Escaping “the norm” and leaving the kids, household chores and our favorite stained hoody at home restores our perspective ad appreciation for each other and helps us view our partner under the lens of lover and friend instead of mommy / daddy/ person that took the dog out last. As soon as we screech out from our driveway on date nights, I feel like a new woman. If you absolutely can’t swing date nights, check out my article on how to plan faux dates at home. Put the kids down early (or locking them upstairs with scrupulous amounts of snacks and Xbox) order takeout, drop $5.99 for an HD Amazon rental, make a fire and/or whatever else helps make the night feel special.

Get Outside Together

There’s just nothing like nature to re-set our perspective and help us feel more grounded, peaceful and connected to each other. Even if you have to drive to a nearby trail, or the weather’s crummy, it’s worth the effort. Some of our best talks and conflict resolutions have happened on walks- even just around the neighborhood. When we walk and talk versus sit and talk, the quality of communication feels different. We’re moving forward together, not forced to sit immobile, eye to eye. It’s more freeing, and so is the conversation. It’s much more difficult staying mad or snapping at one another in the backdrop of a magnificent sunset, or along the ridgeline of a mountain trail on an autumn day. If you have a dog, walk it together after dinner, or schedule bi-weekly walks or hikes on the weekends or less busy weeknights.

Pray together

I’m sorry but praying together is a turn on. It just is. My husband could eat every last ounce of my precious guacamole or fall asleep on the couch mid-date night (nooo he d-’in’t) but one glance at that bowed head, and I’m mush. Praying together often brings up topics of conversation that go otherwise untouched, giving opportunity to share your burdens and struggles with your spouse and bonding when seeing prayers answered together. Praying together solidifies a spirit of humility, vulnerability and unity between each other only possible through the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never prayed together formally, try praying together for a minute or two every morning- it makes all the difference in your day, and your relationship.  Pick a time of day or night to pray to together at least once a week, incorporating a written prayer request and answered prayer list.

Share A Common Activity

We’re all busy. It can sound unrealistic to start or make time for a shared activity together, but this does not necessarily mean taking up golf to spend time with the hubs or him joining your book club. It can be anything from cooking together once a night, joining the gym together, starting a life group in your home, volunteering at a soup kitchen, learning how to make wine…anything that’s fun and/or rewarding for both of you. Sharing a fun common interest gives you both an opportunity to escape from the grind of daily life and genuinely enjoy one another’s company. It gives you something to talk about other than kid’s schedules and the checkbook balance and something to look forward to other than date night.

For more good stuff on bettering your marriage check out the Gottman Institute’s marriage check-up.

Please leave comments below if you have marriage tips that’ve helped along the way, or marriage pitfalls to avoid! xo

jessicakastner

Jessica Kastner is an award-winning journalist, author and contributor to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Huff Post, God TV, Beliefnet, Crosswalk and many more. When she's not burning dinner, daydreaming about the beach, she can be found on the trampoline with her copious amount of children, wishing she'd ordered the turbo shot.

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