Focus on the Family Broadcast   >>   All Episodes

Dating Your Mate: Overcoming the Challenges

Original Air Date 08/05/2013

Get Social and Listen

In a discussion based on their book Take the Date Night Challenge, Greg and Erin Smalley address common questions and hurdles that couples face in planning for a regular date night in the midst of a busy schedule.

Listen here, watch recent episodes on our YouTube channel, or download our app.

Episode Transcript



Barb Rosberg: Why date my wife? I think your wife will be softer. I think your wife will be more responsive. I think your wife will fall in love with you all over again.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, that insight comes from Barb Rosberg. She was a guest on a previous "Focus on the Family" program and today, we're going to look at indeed, why have dates as a couple? I'm John Fuller with Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And Jim, this subject of having dates as a married couple brings to mind the little update that we probably need to bring to our audience, you know.

Jim Daly: (Laughing) Why are you doing this, John?

John: Months ago, months and months ago, we kinda went on, well, yeah, I think you brought the challenge up (Laughter) to say--

Jim: Why did I do that?

John: --why don't we keep our listeners, you know, informed about how well we're doing on having dates--

Jim: Okay.

John: --with our wives?

Jim: So, this is "fess up" time.

John: Well, it could be. (Laughter) Or it could be celebrate--

Jim: Well, how--

John: --time.

Jim: --how have you done?

John: Well, you know, in preparation for this program--

Jim: Yeah.

John: --I actually mentioned yesterday to Dena that we were talking about having date nights. And ... and she said, "Yeah, we're having one this weekend." And I thought, but that's like the first time in a couple of months. And once every couple months for a date is probably not quite enough. Now how are you and Jean doing?

Jim: Oh, yeah, we're doin' great.

John: Just last night.

Jim: Yeah, we just took the boys out on our date night (Laughter). We went roller skating with the boys. No, it is tough and I'm looking forward to talking to our guests today about this, because it's one of the challenges when you have younger kids particularly.

John: Uh-hm.

Jim: 'Cause the whole family seems to circle around their activity and you're the chauffeur and you're the Little League coach and all the stuff that you gotta do to keep things functioning. Unfortunately, we tend to squeeze out that time together as a couple and we're gonna talk about that today for sure.

John: Or the date is, as you just kind of jokingly said, we took the boys out roller skating.

Jim: (Laughing) Yeah, right.

John: And that's the highlight of a date night.

Jim: That's it. Well, hey, today's program, we're gonna talk about that. We want to share some comments that we received on Facebook and if you haven't gone to the Focus Facebook page, go there, because we are looking for the responses to programs and the input from you, our listeners. And we incorporate those into the program. And it's a great way to have a dialogue with you. So, come to the Facebook page and post your thoughts and ideas on what you hear on the program.

But we've had some great responses. I think everybody struggles, John, with this area. I really do. There may be some great couples out there that have this wired with 10- and 12- and 14-year-olds in the house. But you've gotta intentionally be trying to do a date night, because it will get robbed.

John: Uh-hm.

Jim: It's kinda like the time that always gets eaten up because of other activity. And it should be the opposite. We should guard this time jealously, because a healthy marriage is the best thing you can do for your kids.

John: Hm.

Jim: Keep your marriage healthy.

John: Well, we have two experts on this subject, although we might ask them the question.

Jim: Let's do it. (Laughter)

John: They are Greg and Erin Smalley. Dr. Greg Smalley's on staff here at Focus on the Family. He's an author and clinical psychologist and is vice president of Family Ministries and Erin is an author, has her Master's degree in clinical psychology, as well. And I don't want to put you on the spot, but when was your last date night, Greg? (Laughter)


Jim: I think that's great, John.

Greg Smalley: What a fun transition. (Laughter)

Erin Smalley: Yeah, I like--

Greg: Well ...

Erin: --that. Greg, when was our last date?

Greg: Well, as we answer that, one of the things that we want to help sort of reshape is even your definition of a date. See, I think too often couples get caught up in this, date night is supposed to be this formal thing that we put on our calendar. And we have to go do that. That is one way to look at it.

Sort of the other way that we've been really looking at this over the past year, 'cause we've been doin' the Date Night Challenge for now two years at Focus on the Family.

John: Which is a program where you really encourage this.

Greg: Yeah, we've done this with, you know, I think over the last two years, we've averaged about 1,000 churches who participated in this. And for us, the big thing is that we also look now for opportunities that will occur every day.

Jim: Well, and we're talking about that simplicity. In fact, we have a Facebook comment. I think it gets to it, because this couple found a very simple way to do a date night.


Woman: My husband I have eight children and date night seemed impossible without at least one baby in tow. I mean, how can you afford a babysitter for so many kids? Well, one day our oldest son, he was about 11 at the time, wanted us to go out so he could show us that he could handle his siblings. Well, we decided to let him try. So, after feeding the kids and settlin' 'em down with a movie and snacks, we packed peanut and butter jelly sandwiches and coffee and got into our minivan and drove away.

Two blocks down we pulled onto a dead end road. We prayed for our kids' safety. We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drank our coffee. Then my husband turned on the radio, came around to open my door and asked me to dance. We danced on a dirt road at sunset with dragon flies buzzing all around. It was the best date ever, even though the whole date lasted a whole 15 minutes. And when we returned home, our son looked up and he was so proud and he said, "See, I told you I could handle it.

End of Clip

Jim: Hey, Greg and Erin, that's exactly what you're talking about, something that simple. We tend to make it too complex. That's one obstacle that couples have. What are some other obstacles when it comes to date night?

Erin: You know, there's several and you think about, as you are married and years pass by, you become very familiar with each other. And in many ways, you stop that curiosity and really turning towards each other and getting to know each other, continuing to know each other as you change and you mature and you go into different seasons of life.

Erin: Yeah, I think one of the big ones is just busyness.

Jim: You know, I think about this. A lot of sociologists, especially from the secular side, talk about different stages of life now. You marry one person to raise your kids. You marry another person after an empty nest. I mean, it's ridiculous. I think what they're describing is the fact that couples have not invested in each other and you lose interest and you lose romance.

If you're strugglin' in your marriage, this is one of the things that you can do that will really build up your relationship. Talk about the benefits about doing a date night and having some intimate time together, where you're not being pulled on by the kids or other distractions.

Greg: You know, definitely one of the challenges that we're all busy and so, we stop investing that time or even that oftentimes, people believe that, almost like there's cruise control. There's autopilot for the relationship. Like, we can be married, hit the button and just send our relationship down the road and it's gonna be fine, but we stop kind of investing.

And the benefit of a date night is that it keeps you from having that autopilot mentality. A date night that really, it forces you to proactively invest in your relationship, 'cause now we're makin' the time, you know, if it's formal, you know, you're hiring the babysitter. You're figuring out where you want to go. And all that is saying to the relationship that we matter. We matter enough to carve out time in this very, very busy schedule. So, one it sends a message that you matter and that we matter and that there is no cruise control in our relationship. That's a powerful message to send.

Erin: Well, and not only to each other, but also to your kids, you know, to say that mom and dad need this time together and we prioritize marriage. And it's teaching them, you know, to honor marriage.

Jim: Hm.

Greg: As a matter of fact, it was great watchin' and I had no idea that our kids picked up on this important message. And this was a couple of years ago, we were trying to leave. And so, we had our date night. It was our formal date night and our youngest daughter, Annie, who was probably 4 at the time, she didn't want you to leave.

Erin: No, she did not want me to leave, so she had the full-on body cling on.

Jim: On the leg (Laughter).

Erin: I mean, yes and I mean, she's strong.

Jim: Makes you walk like Frankenstein. (Laughter)
Erin: Yes, I mean, strong and so, she literally is hanging on my legs, body clung and I'm trying to get out the door. And ...

Greg: I'm thinkin' ...

Jim: This isn't goin' so well.

Greg: No and it's the "get go," so this is wipin' her out and so, I'm thinkin', I've gotta do something. And before I could intervene, our son, Garrison, who was about 10 at the time, he jumped in and he said ... he gets down, it was great, kinda whispers right on Annie's level and says, "Annie, Annie, hey," he goes, "it's okay. You can let go of mom. You can unwrap your limbs from around her leg." He goes, "It's okay. We need to let them go out." And so, I'm just goin', what? And he goes, "Really." He goes, "This is how they keep their marriage strong." Honestly--

Jim: Oh.

Greg: --a 10-year-old said that. And so, I'm thinkin', oh, man this is so perfect and it's great. Annie goes, "Really?" She goes, "Well, what do they do on their date night?" And he went, "You know, actually I have no idea, but I think it ends in kissing." (Laughter)

Jim: Now that's what dad's hoping for. (Laughter)

Erin: He's a smart boy.

Greg: He is a boy, honey, so we need to--

Jim: And it is a--

Greg: --finish strong.

Jim: --it is a good way to model that for your kids and to build up the institution of marriage. You're teaching your kids in that moment. Erin, let me ask you though, as a woman and I'm just thinking as best as I can as Jean's husband, so often the distractions occur. And you know, Jean can be really practical and there's a lot to get done. And you know, man, I've got so much stuff to take care of around the house and I've got, you know, homework stuff I gotta take a look at and oh! You know what? Let's just do it another night. That can be a typical pattern, as well.

Greg: 'Cause she's multitasking--

Jim: 'Cause she's--

Greg: --is what's goin' on.

Jim: --trying to multitask and you know what? This is something. We're doin' good; we're fine. We're healthy.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: You know, let me get this list done, my task list done.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: What's the danger in that?

Erin: You know, I can so relate to that, because welcome to my world. There's always something that knowing that investing in this relationship is gonna make all the difference, not only for our marriage, but for our family. It is really gonna provide that connection that we need as a couple so we can give to our kids, that they can see that this relationship is a priority.

And research is really strong that when couples have one date night per week, their level of happiness, their relationship satisfaction, their communication and their sexual satisfaction is 3 1/2 times higher than those who aren't regularly dating. (Laughter)

Jim: Okay, guys, did you hear that?

Greg: Three hundred--

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: --and fifty percent higher.

Erin: Higher.

Greg: There you go.

Jim: Wow.

Greg: Just by doin' something as simple as a date night. That's the beauty of it. It doesn't have to be these grand moments. It can be very--

Erin: Uh-hm.

Greg: --simple opportunities that we take.

Jim: Let me go back to your story, because I want to play a different ending for you that a lot of couples might encounter in that. Let's say Garrison didn't come in and talk Annie down from that emotional trauma and she's hangin' on your leg and you're tryin' to get out the door and mom's heart is saying, I can't. I mean, look it. We're breaking this little girl into pieces emotionally.

Greg: So, I get a spray bottle. (Laughter)

Jim: That's good, but doing that as a doctor?

Greg: Don't do that.

Erin: Yeah, and I think he learned it here at Focus.

Jim: I like that.

Erin: I think he learned it in a meeting yesterday. (Laughter)

Jim: Go to that moment. Let's say Garrison didn't intervene. How does a mom and a dad handle that emotionally for the child?

Erin: You know, just knowing that their best interest is for you to invest in this relationship. It is in their best interest, as well, even though it's hard. So, you know, maybe take a moment and you can explain to them why this is so important. I know often when we travel, I'll say to Annie, you know what? This is good for us and it's good for us to be out doing this. We'll be back. We will be back. And she knows now. She'll say, "Mom, I don't like it when you leave, but I know you'll be back." And so, she knows.

Greg: And I don't say this to almost sound cruel, okay, as mom and dad, we are ultimately responsible for the health of our family. The only way that we're gonna have a healthy family is it's gonna start because we have a strong, vibrant, growing, thriving marriage. And you know what? There are gonna be times, our kids are gonna distract us. They're gonna want our time. They're gonna want our attention and we need to provide that and we need to also set limits and say, you know what? I know it's hard to see mom go, but we have to be together. We have to have this time and you just do it. So, if that child is crying as you're walkin' out, you hand 'em over to the babysitter. It'll be okay. They're resilient. In the long run, this is about our marriage and keeping it strong.

We used to tell our kids from the very get go, so, if you are about to have kids or you have young kids, here's what you have to do. You condition them from day one, that you are a part of this family. You are not the central focus of this family. And my relationship with God is No. 1. My relationship with my wife is No. 2 and in that order. And some of the ways that this played out in our marriage, in our family is that when our kids were young and we'd tell them at 8 o'clock, this is mom and dad's time now. Okay, we have given to you. We have loved you. We've fed you; we've played with you. We've spent time with you. This is now our time. And if you disturb that time, if you get up and "I need a drink," I mean, whatever you do, you owe us that time tomorrow. And we used to hold them accountable to that. We would do that. And so, if they took 10 minutes of our time, we would sit them on their bed for 10 minutes, with that understanding, that this is time that you took from us having our time to keep our marriage strong.

Jim: Well, again, that's good modeling. Talk about the Date Nigh Challenge and we'll come back. I've got some additional questions about the challenge of getting out. But What is the Date Night Challenge?

Greg: Yeah, on so many levels the message is that, you know, the Date Night Challenge, it is a challenge. It's hard as we've talked about, to get out and to do this, yet as Erin was sayin', it can so strengthen a marriage. And so, what we've done is, that we want to encourage couples to do three dates in three weeks, 'cause we believe if you do that--three dates in three weeks--you will also recognize the incredible power of a date night and make this a regular part of your marriage. It's simple. We don't have to look for the big, big things. One of my favorite quotes says that marriage is an edifice that needs to be rebuilt every day. You know, you can't just put it on the cruise control and believe that this ... our marriage, our relationship is gonna keep growing unless we're investing in that every day.

Three days in three weeks, it's so simple. We'll give you the dates and these are fun, because here's the other part and Erin, I know, this is a big part of our passion is to teach couples how to date differently, 'cause sometimes I don't think ... I think couples go out, but there's some things though that happen, that end up really destroying that time in many ways.

Erin: Really you think about, often we'll go out on a date and then you know, there's so many things because of the busyness and the chaos that we haven't talked about. So, you know, I'll get the list out, you know. And this is what's goin' on with Taylor and Murphy and Garrison and Annie and you know, and then we start, oh, by the way, you know, that bill came in and we didn't pay it. And you know, gosh, where is that money gonna come from?

Jim: So, it comes down to a business meeting

Greg: Yeah, administrate your marriage.

Erin: You're gonna be administrating your marriage on your date night. Well, is that fun? I mean, really, a date night--

Greg: No.

Erin: --is about having fun. And if you're administrating, your spouse is finally gonna go, you know what? We can stay home and do that. I don't want to go pay a babysitter and go out and spend our time doin' that.

Jim: And you know, one of the things, the reality of this. Let's bring it to the cultural perspective for a minute, even raise it up to that, because often I'm asked, you know, where is marriage going in this country with all of the setbacks that committed Christians see when we look at the redefinition of marriage?

Hey, the best thing that we can do in the culture right now is make sure our marriages are a witness to the world and before the Lord. And I think this is one of the things that we can do to strengthen our marriages. And I hope, as we invest in each other that way, you know, our divorce rate in the Christian community comes down. I don't know what's gonna happen in the world's divorce rate. My guess is, it's gonna continue to go up, up and up.

But now we've got an opportunity to be a witness for God's design for marriage and that's what excites me. If you're looking for a silver bullet, let's look at these things that help strengthen a marriage. And don't take just a, you know, an average marriage. Christians, we should have a thriving marriage and that's what we're aiming at here at Focus on the Family, to help you have that. And I think this is one of the great things you can do. If you concentrate, just think about it as Greg and Erin have said. Have fun with each other and I think it's one of the great benefits of marriage. You'll see everything improve as a measure within your relationship.

So, it is good to talk about, but let's go back to some of the obstacles, because I think for Jean and I, that would be it. I mean, where are we tripping up? And I like what you're saying. I want to do it. But constantly these things keep popping up. Couples with young children, you know, I think it's easier and less expensive when you have teens. You don't have to pay for a babysitter. But let's listen to a Facebook post that we've voiced over, from a woman that is really in that kind of time crunch, Leslie. Let's take a listen to what she had to say.


Leslie: Yeah, my husband and I, we have a 5-week-old and it just seems like it's really hard to still date while caring for a baby. I just feel too tired to want to do anything.

End of Clip

Jim: That is really typical.

Greg: Too tired.

Jim: I mean, especially when you have young children, if you have one or two under 5, maybe three under 5. That can be a very demanding season in your life and you might say they're just excuses, but I can remember both Jean and I being exhausted because it's tough and it's demanding. What do you do?

Erin: Yeah, it is tough. I remember those days, as well and it's not just you're exhausted, but then it's trusting a 5-week-old with someone else. I mean, as a mom, that's hard to hand them over. And you don't know. Are they gonna meet their needs? Are they gonna, you know, do it the way I do it or the way he does it? And ...

Jim: Especially with your firstborn.

Erin: Yes, yeah. But it is critical even in that time to get out and stay connected.

Jim: Okay, how would you do that? I mean, hopefully, if you have grandparents nearby, that's safe hopefully. But what about a couple that doesn't have grandparents nearby, what do you do?

Erin: You know, we have helped out many friends who are younger and they have babies. You know, they know that we've raised kids and hopefully, we can do the job while they're out for two hours. You know, so look to maybe an older couple that ...

Jim: Someone in the church community--

Erin: Yes.

Jim: --or your friendships.

Erin: And you know, even--

Greg: It's a trade.

Erin: --even the church, I know when we had just moved, we didn't really know anyone, but this church offered parents' night out. And it was our opportunity to get out once--

Jim: That's a great--

Erin: --a month.

Jim: --ministry. I--

Erin: Really--

Jim: --had not thought about that.

Erin: --it is. It--

Jim: But that would be good.

Erin: --really was. We knew no one and we needed a date night.

Greg: When you think about it, as an empty-nest couple, well, you want to change marriage? Simply start by picking out some younger couples who are in that first early season with their baby or children and just give them that as a gift. We had that in our marriage in an older couple who, kids were out of the home, would come over and take Taylor when I was in graduate school in California. And Erin and I would go to this place to eat a hamburger. We'd split a hamburger and play Ms. Pacman. (Laughter) And that was (Laughter) our fun date. I maybe enjoyed it a whole lot more than she did, Not there!

Erin: (Laughing) I remember and then I remember several years later for my anniversary gift, there was a Ms. Pacman machine in my living room.

John: Nice. (Laughter)

Greg: She said, when she saw it--.

Jim: Greg, you're--

Greg: --she loved it.

Jim: --so romantic.

Greg: I thought I heard her say--

Erin: And I--

Greg: --that she loved it.

Erin: --I remember. Yes, it was a fun game, but sitting in my living room? (Laughter) I don't know.

Jim: A piece of furniture.

Greg: It was--

Erin: Yes.

Greg: --it was the centerpiece.

Jim: You're touching another aspect that makes date night a challenge and that is the financial aspect. A lot of young couples, they're tight financially. They may not be able to afford a babysitter, if they don't have resources around them, people around them that can help. How do you tackle the financial strain of a date night?

Erin: You know, something we did early on is, that we would find someone who was in the same season of life as we were and we would swap kids for the night.

Jim: For time swap.

Erin: Yeah, time swap and it really, it worked out well, because they were in the same season. They were often on the same schedule and you know, it just worked out well and we just traded.

Greg: You know, there's so many clever creative deals online, in the book that we wrote on the Date Night Challenge, that there's all kinds of ideas on how to do this, virtually with no money. I'll tell you what. The point is this. It is okay to redefine dating within each season of your life.

So, as Erin and I get a little bit older and our kids are more independent, we have older kids who can babysit, maybe a date night for us is a dinner and a movie. Maybe we have more resources. It's okay [when you're] younger in that season where you hardly have the time. You can't seem to get away. You've got the babies. You have no money.

Redefine your date night is, we're gonna put the kids down and then we're gonna maybe watch a favorite show together and just laugh and play. Or have a movie at home. Or just sit down and you know, turn the fireplace on and have a fire and just talk or whatever. Define it however it needs to look. Be intentional though and say, for this season, dating may need to look like this. So now that's how we're going to frame it and see it. So, thus when we're doing it that way, then we know that now we're investing time. You reap all the same benefits.

Jim: So, what you're really talking about is an emotional intimacy and making sure that, that's occurring, because that brings a world of benefit to your marriage. I mean--

Greg: According--

Jim: --that is it.

Greg: --absolutely and intimacy according to both, that's the beauty of a date night, that it needs to cater to both. Women often define intimacy as kind of that deep connection. You know, you think of like the Starbucks and you're sitting down. You're havin' this deep conversation. That's wonderful. I mean, you know, intimacy I think for men, doing things together. You know, there's an activity and so, Erin and I will combine those things and we'll go for a walk around our neighborhood. That's a date night.

Jim: And it doesn't again, have to be expensive.

Greg: No, but--

Erin: Right.

Greg: --cater to both.

Jim: Right, there was [a] Facebook [comment] I want to go to, because this woman wrote in about the $20 date night, which I thought was a great idea. Let's listen.


Woman: My husband and I have been married 18 years and we have five kids, which takes a lot of time and money. So, it's hard to find time or cash to go on a date. About a year ago, we started doing $20 date nights. You can actually do a lot with 20 bucks. We go to movies, eat out, play miniature golf, go bowling, get ice cream or even go to a bookstore. Makes you think creatively about what to do on a date.

End of Clip

Jim: That's a good way, Greg and Erin, to look at it, huh. Set yourself a budget, just 15, 20, 25 bucks and just go out and have some fun.

Greg: It's whatever; I mean, define it whatever it needs to look like during this season, but be intentional to do it. And I'll tell you what; date night is so powerful though. But you need to make sure you're doing some really key things. That's--

Jim: What are they?

Greg: --the heart of what--

Jim: Just hit 'em--

Greg: --we're discovering.

Jim: --here at the end.

Erin: You know, one of the biggest things and I like what she was saying on that last quote, that you know, try new and exciting activities. Don't do the same thing over and over and get stuck in the dinner and movie rut.

Jim: Right.

Erin: You know, truly research shows that when you try something new, that it stimulates the same part of your brain that was stimulated when you were first dating. So it brings back the butterflies and you know, just simply doing something new.

Greg: That's a good thing, when (Laughter) she's got the butterflies if I'm around. (Laughter) Butterflies are good. 'Cause when she takes me jogging, that doesn't work out so well (Laughter) for me. So, I like the butterflies. You know, for me, there's two things that I think can absolutely just revolutionize a date night and that's when you're driving, when you're sittin' at the restaurant, use that to be curious, to stay current. Think about that phrase, "Stay current."

In other words, Erin is constantly changing. I mean, I'm changing. I mean, we're all changing. Our marriage is changing. We need to stay current. What does she need? What is she like? What are her hopes, her dreams, her fears, her emotions? I even asked her, "Hey, what would be some questions that I could ask you regularly that would help me kind of stay current? And it was awesome. She said, "Well, ask me how I'm feeling. Ask me how things are goin' between me and my girlfriends. Ask me how things are goin' between me and the kids. And then what's one thing God's been teaching me as of late?"

Jim: Um.

Greg: I'm telling you, that's what I ask her now when we're in the car, even if it's simply driving to the grocery store, I can ask one of those. See, that keeps me current with what's goin' on for her. The other one though and this is so much fun; it's so easy to do, but so many couples miss it. And that's the idea of what we call "reminiscing." Date night should be about talking and laughing and reminiscing on just our life together. There's some funny moments. There are great things that we can keep talkin' about. And what it does, it says that you know what? Yeah, maybe life has been hard and it's not always perfect, but you know what? We're pretty good together. That's the message that it gives to our relationship.

Erin: And often we do this just by remembering stories, I mean, we tell lots of really funny stories, but it's fun when it's just the two of us and you know, hey, do you remember when that happened? And you know, and then that happened. Even if it was a hard time, we can look back and see that, you know what? We made it through that.

Jim: Hm.

Erin: And look at us now. Look at where we came from and look at us now.

Greg: Of course, this whole reminiscing almost got me into trouble. We went on a date night and I surprised her with some concert tickets and so, we were sitting in this concert hall, kind of snuggled up. And we were just enjoying this moment.

And this band that we loved during the '80s played the song that I think both forgotten that it was part of the song. And she went, "Oh, I love this song." And I went, "Ooh, I love this song." And all of a sudden, I had this memory. I said, "Remember the time that this song came on. We were on our date and we were driving and I pulled us off into the parking lot? Remember that?" And I said, "Remember, this is playing and we started kissin'? Remember, this is such a great [time]?"

And so, she (Chuckling) leans back and kinda smiled and went, "Yeah, what a great memory, but that wasn't me." (Laughter)

John: Oh.

Jim: Well, did that kinda end the date night? (Laughter)

Erin: My heart closed and that was pretty much it. You know--

Greg: It could have.

Erin: --as we're aging, things change and sometimes it's the--

Greg: I still say--

Erin: --memory that goes.

Greg: --it was her all right. You may not remember it right. So--

Erin: No, it wasn't me.

Greg: --maybe the point is, if you're gonna reminisce, make sure it's about your wife.

Jim: Think it through.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Hey, listen, Greg and Erin, it's been great to have you and taking the date night challenge. John, at Focus on the Family, we believe in this and again, it's not the silver bullet, but it certainly will go a long way in making your marriage stronger, which we are all about here at Focus.

So, I would like to just offer, you know, for a gift of any amount, we'll send you the book. I think that'd be a great way for us to invest in you and you know, let's do it together. Let's make a commitment, a recommitment, John.

John: Uh-hm, okay.

Jim: And try to get on that band wagon. Let's do three date nights in the next three weeks and see it we can pull it off. And I hope you will also take that challenge. It's been great to have you with us.

Erin: Thanks for havin' us.

Greg: Yeah, thank you.


John: Well, I hope you're inspired to make that commitment, as well. We're gonna do our best. I think we can maybe get a couple in, but I'm not sure about three in three weeks, but regardless take The Date Night Challenge. That's the book. It's packed full of fun ideas. You'll find it at .

And as Jim said, we'll be happy to send that book to you when you make a generous contribution to Focus on the Family of any amount today. Ask about the book when you donate at or call, 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly, I'm John Fuller, inviting you back tomorrow. We'll hear a dramatic story of how a young wife and mother suffered under domestic violence and finally found a way to end that abuse. It's an eye-opening program for those who are suffering in secret, as we once again, have trusted advice to help you and your family thrive. 

  • Featured Book

    The Little Book of Great Dates

    Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley

    Offers couples 52 creative, inexpensive and fun-filled ideas for spending time together talking, laughing and connecting over shared activities.

    Buy Now
  • Featured Article

    Dating Your Spouse

    Visit the section of our website that offers inspiration and practical suggestions for dating your spouse, and also addresses the challenges of establishing a regular date night.

    Read more
  • Featured PDF

    Date Night Questions

    Download a sheet of sample questions you and your spouse can ask each other to help spark conversation during your date nights.

    Read More
  • Featured Article

    The Hidden Benefits of Dating Your Wife

    Greg Smalley

    You might be able to dramatically increase some important areas of your marriage by simply dating your wife!

    Read more
More Episode Resources

Recent Focus on the Family Broadcast Episodes

Go To Most Recent Episode

All Episodes


Greg Smalley

View Bio

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the vice president of Marriage at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as President of the National Institute of Marriage. He is the author of 12 books including Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage, Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage and The DNA of Relationships.


Erin Smalley

View Bio

Erin Smalley serves as the Marriage Strategic Spokesperson for Focus on the Family's marriage ministry and develops content for the marriage department. In addition to her work at Focus, Smalley is a conference speaker. She presents with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley, at marriage enrichment seminars where they guide husbands and wives in taking steps toward enjoying deeply satisfying marriages. She also speaks to women on faith, family and the importance of healthy friendships.