If you have ever been to any sort of marriage conference or seminar or if you have read almost any marriage book, you know that you should be "dating" your husband. But what does that look like exactly? If you are like most married women, especially if you have kids, you probably do not clearly know how to date your husband. I'm just figuring it out for myself. I have decided that a "date" cannot simply mean that we did something without our kids. If we went together to a doctor's appointment and then grabbed some lunch on the way home, that is not a date. It could be a date, if you followed some simple guidelines. So here are my "10 Rules for Dating Your Husband"
- Let him plan the date. This does not mean that you give him absolutely no input, but if you were in a real dating relationship, you probably wouldn't call the fella up and say "Saturday night we are going to see Twilight and then eat at Outback." Of course not. You would let the guy ask you, and then he would plan where to take you and what to do. Since you are a married couple, you will obviously have to help pick the day and plan for childcare, but leave the other logistics up to him. Don't make it a chore or put pressure on him. That is a recipe for a disastrous date night. Just convey that you are excited to go out with him and would love for him to plan the night. And make sure that he knows that you are going to be happy with whatever he plans. If you have made a habit of criticizing his plans, don't be surprised if he is reluctant to plan your date night. He is probably just afraid of rejection.
- Dress yourself for a date. I don't care if you are going to CiCi's Pizza, fix yourself up. Take a shower, put on a cute outfit, perfume, make up, and style your hair. Again, when you were in the early stages of a dating relationship, you did all of those things even if just to watch tv on the couch with your guy!
- Be a good sport. If your guy plans a bowling night or takes you to an action movie, get into it. You would if you were newly dating, right?
- Don't talk about "married stuff" the whole night. This includes: your to-do list, your kids, your house, your finances, your schedule. This may be a great time to talk about some of that, but don't talk about it the whole night. My fella and I always have a really good time talking about our hopes for the future. Of course, sometimes those hopes do involve our kids or schedule. But our best conversations are about things like how we hope to be more fruitful as a couple and family or where our dream vacation spots are.
- Make him feel special. Especially if the majority of your time and attention is spent on small children, I encourage you to make your date a time that your husband can feel special. He is the center of your world during your date. Talking only about your kids, or gossiping about your friends, or checking your phone repeatedly will not serve to make him feel special. Ask questions about him that get him talking!
- Pray. On your own before your date and together during your date, ask God to bless your time together and to use it to benefit your marriage and family. We usually do this as we bless our meal.
- Don't take it too seriously! If your guy isn't the "romantic type" or you can't afford to go to a fancy restaurant, still take the time to have a date (see my post 10 Ways to Spend Quality Time with Your Husband (On the Cheap!)). If it doesn't go perfectly, that is okay!
- Step out of your comfort zone. My favorite dates are dinner or a movie, but sometimes you need to shake it up and do something different. Going to a sporting event, heading to a park for a picnic, or checking out a museum or historical site are all great ideas but there dozens more!
- Be affectionate. You are on a date! Hold hands, kiss, wrap your arms around each other during the movie. Be that couple that an observer would never assume is married with kids!
- Make dating your husband a regular occurrence. This probably will take some planning and commitment. Sit down with your calendar and plan at least 2 dates per month. They may not both be dinners out on a Saturday night, but maybe you can meet for lunch one afternoon while the kids are at school or turn the previously mentioned "doctor's appointment" scenario into a purposeful, meaningful date. Maybe you can plan to put the kids to bed early one evening and have a special dinner and movie night right in your own home. The point is to put it on the calendar and stick to it. Get with another couple and plan to trade off babysitting on alternate weeks so that you can both have date nights without so much expense! On birthdays and Christmas, ask for gift cards to movies and restaurants so that your family can effectively "sponsor" your dates.
I have heard it said that the best gift you can give your children is a strong marriage, and I could not agree more! Investing in time alone with your husband is an investment in your whole family!
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