Go on Dates Often
First and foremost, dates aren’t just for single people. You should regularly get away with your spouse for a meal (or a night or two at a nice hotel/Airbnb).
If you’re on a budget, you can order take out and sit on the porch, or just go for a long walk together. It’s still special and helps set the time apart for a specific purpose.
I almost always leave my phone at home when I take my wife on a date. Neither of you need to take your phones, if you tell the babysitter where you’ll be. The sitter can call the restaurant in the event of an emergency.
My wife and I regularly bring notebooks and plan out our week, month, year, or the rest of our life.
Now what should you do when you’re sitting across from each other at the table without your phones? Do an activity that will foster good conversation and lead to more productive “normal” life.
Here are a few exercises we’ve done that are particularly beneficial:
- Take turns answering these 36 questions.
- Write down a “1000 dreams list” (without showing each other) and then compare what you wrote. It doesn’t have to be 1000 things, the point is the number shouldn’t inhibit what you write down. Set a timer and put down everything that comes to mind, big and small. When my wife and I did this we compared our lists and then we picked some we were going to do in the next 12 months. My wife wrote down that she wanted to see Yoyo Ma in concert, and I made her look up concerts on the spot and immediately make plans and buy a plane ticket to go! (we got the idea of the “1000 dreams list” from Laura Vanderkam)
For my birthday this year, my wife booked a night at The Umstead. We sat at dinner and wrote down goals for things we want to do the next 12 months. We didn’t show each other until we had completed each of our lists.
Here’s what I wrote:
- Go west of the Mississippi in our bus (we’re almost done covering a 43′ bus into an RV)
- Eat our own free range chickens from our farm (we’re scheduled close on our land in 2 weeks)
- Go on hunting trip with the boys
- Start building (maybe even finish) my wife’s secluded writing cottage on our land
- Book first paid international speaking gig
- Get published/featured in major publication
- Learn to break dance
Here’s what my wife wrote:
- build a house
- eat an animal we raised
- have a writing habit
- visit 3 national parks
- play cello in church regularly
- hospitality habit
- host a “free lunch”
- get all kids reading
Pretty crazy how aligned some of our goals were without talking… that’s because my wife and I talk about the goals of our household all the time. We plan and allocate our time and money toward getting there. This is just one way to work toward being “one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
Conclusion: go on dates often, no distractions, and plan for the future (without limits)!