Lead in dating your wife | A guide for husbands
This is the fourth post in a series from A Guide to Biblical Manhood. Download the whole guidebook as a free PDF here. Read also: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 of this series. Few goals are achieved if they don’t make it into your routine and few goals that do find a place…
Few goals are achieved if they don’t make it into your routine and few goals that do find a place in your routine fail to bear fruit. There is great power in turning resolutions into habits. The easiest way to consistently study your wife and examine your marriage is to lead in routinely dating your wife. Don’t just wait until you’re motivated to go out and definitely don’t wait until there’s no room in your schedule left for a date. Go ahead and block out a regular time and then lead in making the most out of your dates. Here’s what that looks like:
Life will work against you. You can’t wait for dates just to happen. Work, kids and everything else will make demands on you. Your wife might have great recommendations and she might initiate some special dates, but you should take on the primary responsibility for making sure that you have a regular date together.
Make sure it happens. Arrange the babysitter. Come up with the plan. This takes leadership, but it demonstrates that you are thinking of your wife and providing for her. You might think it shows deference to tell your wife, “Oh, I don’t care where we go tonight, you decide,” but it actually shows a lack of leadership and investment. Be willing to be flexible on your plans in case she’s not crazy about your idea, but lead with an offer.
Focus on connection
Your dates don’t have to be elaborate. Your wife would rather have a bean burrito and your undivided attention than a rib-eye. But make sure your date accommodates good conversation time. If you take your wife to a movie, add dinner because you can’t (or shouldn’t be) having a long conversation during a movie.
Work around challenges
A tight budget, a new baby, bad weather, or some other kind of challenge shouldn’t keep you from dating your wife. In fact, it’s even more important to keep dating and connecting when a baby is born, when money is tight or something else is posing a challenge in your marriage. Working around these kinds of challenges will just require a little more creativity. Try having a special at – home date after the kids go down — move your table by the fireplace, light some candles and turn on some music and you can rival the romance of lots of expensive restaurants in your wife’s eyes. Or just go take a walk. Walks are not only free, they provide fresh air — something that’s especially valuable if your wife has been indoors most of the day.
Explore some fresh options
If your dates have gotten into a rut, explore some new options. Ask friends for suggestions, do a Web search for local favorites and make a list to keep handy. Consider these options: do a progressive date night (with appetizers at one restaurant, dinner at another and dessert at a third place), go to a shooting range, try food from a different nationality (if you typically have Chinese, Italian or Indian, try Cuban, German, Thai or Vietnamese), take flowers as a couple to a widow from your church, or play ping-pong. Just think fresh and creatively.
Make time for bigger getaways
Each quarter or at least once a year, plan for a longer getaway where you can make a bigger investment in your marriage. You don’t have to break the bank or cash in on all your vacation days for this, but it is worth arranging for at least an overnight stay and even for a little travel time to add anticipation and extra time for conversation. Make the getaway as stress free as possible for your wife by taking the lead on all the arrangements, including child and pet care.
Any date or getaway can be more special when you make it a surprise. Sure, there’s always risk in planning something that might have a scheduling conflict or that your wife might not like as much as you had hoped, but there’s great reward in being the fun captain who can navigate all the logistics and successfully pull off a surprise.
A Guide to Biblical Manhood
– Randy Stinson serves as Senior vice president for academic administration and provost. He is also associate professor of leadership and family ministry. You can follow Dr. Stinson on Twitter at @RandyStinson.
–Dan Dumas is senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary. He is a church planter and pastor-teacher at Crossing Church in Louisville, Ky. You can connect with him on Twitter at @DanDumas, on Facebook or at DanDumas.com.