"Date your spouse", "don't forget date night", "never stop dating". We've heard it all and continue to see dating in marriage advocated for more now than previous years. There are apps, platforms and websites dedicated just for dating. We love us some date nights too!! We talk about it often and know of its importance but sometimes, you need more than that.
Sometimes, date night can become mundane, predictable, or a band aid on top of a bigger issue.
Lets be real. Some would rather have fun than talk about the real issues only to find that it's an ineffective approach and one spouse starts to become more and more frustrated and date nights become less and less eventful or exciting. Don't get us wrong. You need date nights, but they should not be used as a scapegoat or in lieu of real heart to hearts.
So below, we are giving you a list of signs to look out for that will help you determine if you need more than a date night. If any of these ring a bell or resonate with you, that's ok. We promise to not leave you hanging. We will give you some next steps so you can know exactly what to do stop this downward spiral.
Signs you need more than a date night
Falling asleep during your "quality time"
One or both of you are on the phone during the date
Sudden mood change
Now we aren't saying that if one of these happen ONE time, there is an underlying issue. Rather, its if you recognize a pattern. For instance, recently, we saw a pattern in our own weekly date nights. They are usually at home and on the calendar but over the past month or so they began to feel more like a check in the box and low excitement. We purposely changed our date day to Thursday to avoid the end of the week burn out, but something was still off. But one date night in particular went far left because what we really needed was to talk about some unresolved conflict before hand.
What to do next
This will look different couple to couple but for us we decided to make a pact instead of ruining the night (which was a rare out of house date ). We agreed to book our annual counselor check in but to avoid conflict from festering we agreed to make the statement "we are a team", kiss and pray immediately. Of course someone has to be the stronger/mature one and be willing to take the lead. Once you recognize the signs and patterns, set a game plan to figure out the root cause.
Here are some things we strongly advise:
1. Weekly family meetings to discuss family and marriage matters
This allows you to talk about biz stuff in its appropriate setting and feel aligned before date night.
2. Schedule Annual or quarterly counseling sessions
Sometimes you just need a trained third party to give you some strategies and provide a safe space to talk out what is going on.
3. Individual Time
Each of you need alone time for personal development, spiritual replenishment and just to love on your self a bit. When you prioritize doing these things, you are able to show up for your spouse (and date night) in a better state of mind.
We are rooting for you and your marriage! For more encouragement, marriage enrichment, and a community of marriage minded believers, please stay in touch.