My husband and I are talking the Marriage Course through Alpha International, and the first tip we’re implementing is “date night.” Nicky and Sila Lee call it Marriage Time, actually, and it’s about making time for each other every week.
“Prioritizing marriage time is constantly the most difficult thing that we struggle to do, but the most important in terms of how it impacts our relationship” says a couple who took The Marriage Course.
Tomorrow is our first date night (I don’t like calling it “marriage time”, because all the time is marriage time!). We’ve already run into a problem, which I’ll explain in these tips for planning a date night…
How to Plan a Surprise Date Night
Don’t tell your partner what your plans are. Theoretically, my husband is planning our first surprise date night tomorrow…but somehow I got involved in the conversation. At first, drinks and dinner on Commercial Drive in Vancouver seemed like a fun idea, but then I realized that the traffic from North Van over the bridge would be horrendous at 4:30 pm! It also occurred to me that a surprise date night shouldn’t be drinking and dining, it should be something more fun and interesting. So, my husband’s first (and only) mistake was telling me what our plans are.
Plan something that doesn’t cost money. If you have a surprise date night or marriage time every week – and if you spend $40 or $100 or $150 every time – then your date nights will break the bank! You’ll have too many dates left and not enough money. Instead, plan excursions that don’t cost anything. Since I ruined my husband’s surprise date night for tomorrow, I’ve made myself responsible for planning something to replace his plans. I want to find a GroupOn coupon for a restaurant in North or West Vancouver, then go to a concert performed by the North Shore Community Band.
Don’t overtake your partner’s surprise date night plans. Putting the brakes on my husband’s date night and planning my own is a very bad way to start our round of surprise date nights! I’m telling you this so you DON’T do what I did. No matter what your spouse plans for your marriage time together, please don’t criticize or poo-poo it. Be gracious, loving, and kind. Be grateful that your spouse is trying.
Prioritize and protect your time together. This is Nicky and Sila Lee’s advice for your surprise date nights: Make marriage time a commitment that you stick to every week. It should be scheduled into your calendar or daytimer, and take priority over other demands such as work, going out with friends, playing sports, and even parenting. Protect your date nights, because they are saving your marriage.
Take turns planning your surprise date nights. I need to remember to be supportive and encouraging when my husband plans our marriage time. I vow not to interfere with his plans again – although I am struggling a bit with this, because if I didn’t speak my mind about the traffic, we’d be sitting in a parking lot for an hour before getting to Commercial Drive for our surprise date! I guess we need to find the balance between supporting our partner’s plans for surprise date nights and being honest about how the plans affect us.
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By the way, we’re not calling our weekly dates “date night” or marriage time. We’re calling them excursions, because they’re fun, interesting, and unpredictable!
What do you think – have you planned a surprise date night for your spouse?
If you’ve taken Nicky and Sila Lee’s Marriage Course, let me know what you think. We’ve only done one week, but I think it’s already changing our marriage for the better.