Remember, always act like you’re trying to get a second date! Sometimes in marriage we forget that we need to pursue and “woo” our spouse. So dress up a bit. Be polite and open doors. Compliment one another. Be affectionate – hold hands, cuddle, and steal kisses. Remember to protect your date night from conflict by cutting off any arguments and agreeing to talk about the issue at a later time.
Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.
Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.
Step 2: Start with Heart Talk.
Do you remember how to do Heart Talk? We introduced this concept in the March 2015 Date Night Guide. Heart Talk, developed by Drs. Bob Paul and Bob Burbee of Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored, is primarily a matter of caring about the other person’s feelings and taking turns as speaker and listener. We sum it up with a simple acronym: ICU. First, Identify (I) your feelings and the feelings of your spouse. Second, decide to Care (C) about those feelings. Third, seek to Understand (U) those feelings with the assistance of your mate.
Over dinner, Heart Talk the following question: “When do you feel most loved by me?” Use the ICU method to drill down deep. Express your own feelings honestly. Listen carefully as your spouse does the same. Keep tossing the question back and forth until both of you feel you’ve been heard and understood. Try to identify your respective languages of love.
Step 3: Speak the Language
Use what you’ve learned about each other’s love languages to decide how you’ll spend the rest of your evening. There are any number of ways to do this, but for any plan to work it will probably entail one partner deferring to the other’s wishes (an act of love in itself). Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
- If one of you values Quality Time or Physical Touch as the most important expression of love, find a park bench in a beautiful spot or a little table in a quaint café where you can hold hands and have a long talk. This could also be a perfect opportunity for speaking Words of Affirmation to one another.
- If one partner – let’s say the wife – feels most loved when Receiving Gifts, then her husband might take her to a mall, a favorite store, or a row of shops where he can buy her a token of his affection. Take all the time you need to find just the right gift.
- If Acts of Service is the language of love that speaks most clearly to your spouse, pick an activity where you can serve them as a teacher, helper, or guide. For instance, if you’re an expert bowler and your wife isn’t, take her down to the bowling alley and let her try her hand. Instead of slipping into a competitive mode, teach her patiently how the game is played. The same approach could be taken with dancing, skating, tennis, handball, or some other form of physical recreation.
Step 4: Relax and unwind. Ready for a few questions?
After your activity, find a quiet place to relax and emotionally connect through good conversation. Ask each other the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting, and encouraging.
- What was your favorite part of the evening?
- What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn’t know about me before?
- What are some other ways we can learn to speak one another’s love languages more effectively in the days and weeks ahead?
Step 5: Home Sweet Home
As you end the evening, spend time planning your next date. Think about additional ways you can nourish each other and communicate your love for one another more effectively. Then, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!