How important are date nights? You know, for a married couple.
I ask because lately I haven’t felt like they’re all that important. At least I haven’t felt like I needed one. But I’m supposed to right? In order to keep my marriage healthy and happy, this is supposed to be a required part of our lives, right? Once a week or maybe twice a month, you have to go on a date. It’s written somewhere.
And yet…I dunno. I’ve been listening to a bunch of John MacArthur sermons lately. One was on God’s design for the family. He mentioned briefly about what makes a great relationship. And it’s not going on dates. His words:
I hear suggestions all the time, take your wife on a date, take her out to dinner. That’s all fine. That’s not going to repair a marriage that isn’t right. There’s only one way to cultivate a right relationship with anybody and that’s to be filled with the Spirit of God, filled with praise and gratitude to God so that your heart is overflowing with joy. And that’s what makes a person someone who you can live with, someone who is a blessing to you. It should be, frankly, almost impossible to start a fight with you because you’re just too blessed, too full of praise, too full of thanks, too full of the overflowing grace of God, too controlled by the Holy Spirit. You’re so filled with love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control that your spouse may just get upset at their inability to cause conflict. It has to start there.
So I started thinking about it. And in my 8-month marriage (yeah, I know you’re rolling your eyes about this newlywed writing on this. I am too.), there have been times where I’ve really wanted to go on an actual, honest-to-goodness, take me out to dinner date. Was I wrong then? Nah, I think I just didn’t feel particularly close to my husband. And I thought a date would bring that closeness.
But it doesn’t. What brings the closeness is the things that John MacArthur mentions. Someone who is focused on my good. Someone who is thankful – for me, but for other things too. Someone who is joyful, meek, gentle and good.
What also brings the closeness is time together. We have significant time together practically every day. And extended time together in the car as we drive 3 hours back and forth to band practice each week. We always go to bed at the same time. It’s rare that we don’t have breakfast or dinner together.
We also have a common purpose in our lives. Even if we were spending time together, it wouldn’t be good time if we were at odds on what we wanted our lives to be. We want our lives to go in the same direction.
So, I still like “going on dates” – doing fun things together. I like looking back on fun times we’ve had together. Baseball games, movies, Lauritzen gardens, new restaurants. I’ll still plan them. I can see how important couple time is especially with kids in the house when moms want to dress up in clothes that won’t have a peanut butter smudge on them. When you can have a dinner where you don’t have to cut someone’s meat. But you don’t have to have a “date” to do that. And dates won’t turn a bad marriage into a good marriage.
John MacArthur ends with:
If you have a Spirit-filled, obedient, praising, worshiping, thankful, submissive heart, you’ve got the stuff that’s going to make a wonderful family, a wonderful marriage and a wonderful life. Anything else is a battle for your own way, it’s that simple.
I wrote this post several days ago. I typically write 1-2 evenings/week as I have time and I’ll write several posts at once. I literally had just written this post about date nights, not needing them, not thinking that “they’re all that and a bag of chips” when Jeff asked me on a date for this Friday. Of course, I said yes….but I also looked for the catch. Did he have some issue he wanted to talk about? If so, just bring it up. He didn’t. Did he have some special place he wanted to go? Nope. He just knew that we had a fairly busy week and a really busy weekend, so he wanted to carve out “us time”. I think the man has ESP.
What do I know?